Democrats must recruit pro-life voters if they plan to become the majority party again. So stated staunch abortion advocate John Kerry while addressing party supporters shortly after Thanksgiving at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.
According to Newsweek, abortion enthusiast Ellen Malcolm asked Kerry at the meeting which direction the Democrat Party should take in the coming years. Kerry immediately pounced on the abortion debate.
“We have to find a different way to deal with the issue of abortion in terms of explaining the Democratic position,” he said. Perhaps harkening back to hard-line social positions taken during the presidential campaign that inevitably cost him the election, Kerry added, “And we have to find a way to bring right-to-life Democrats back into the Democratic Party.”
Strange words coming from the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in American history. But the collection of abortion fanatics assembled at the AFL-CIO seemed willing to ignore the hypocritical odor of Kerry’s remarks – their attention was focused on the shocking suggestion to bend on abortion. Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America told Newsweek that there was a “gasp in the room” following Kerry’s comments, and Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt said the ex-presidential candidate “did not help” the abortion-on-demand cause.
So what did John Kerry do? Only betray a secret Democrats are quickly realizing: Reframing the abortion debate to appeal to morality minded voters is the only way they’ll have a shot at winning during the next election cycle. Kerry remembers the “values voters” who ripped the White House right out from under him on Nov. 2; he remembers his paltry exit-poll numbers on moral issues. He’s learned from his mistakes.
And apparently, so have a number of other Democrats. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi are not backing Howard Dean to chair the DNC, as one might expect. Instead, the Democrat leadership duo is throwing their weight behind former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer. Unlike other competitors vying for the chairmanship, Roemer is unquestionably opposed to abortion. The National Right to Life Committee reports that Roemer voted pro-life 95 percent of the time during his tenure in Congress.
Contrast that with the rabid pro-abortion positions espoused by outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe. The comparison is quite telling. Democrats appear to be getting rid of old-school tactics and making room for new ones that they hope will produce big-time dividends come Election Day 2008. They’re mellowing their tone – much to the chagrin of the abortion industry – and striking a more centrist pose on the abortion issue … right?
While Democrats may be publicly lauding a shift to the center, what are they doing privately? The answer comes from none other than Howard “Primal Scream” Dean himself. During “Meet the Press” last Sunday, host Tim Russert asked Dean if the Democrats should change the vocabulary in the abortion debate to appeal to pro-life voters.
“We can change our vocabulary, but I don’t think we ought to change our principles,” Dean replied. Translation: Pretend you’re pro-life without actually being pro-life. This is key to the Democrats’ new strategy to appeal to morality voters. Change the vocabulary, reframe the debate, but stay true to the abortion-on-demand principle.
Dean continued: “We’re not the party of abortion. We’re the party of allowing people to make up their own minds about medical treatment. It’s just a different way of phrasing it. We have to start framing these issues, not letting [Republicans] frame the issues.”
Rephrasing the debate on moral issues – not only abortion, but homosexual marriage as well – is key to the Democrats’ strategy over the coming year. Open liberalism doesn’t win elections. Last November is all the evidence we need. But liberalism hidden behind a public facade of centrists’ views could indeed win an election. That’s how the Democrats are hedging their bets over the next few years.
Even Tim Roemer, whose main attraction is his more moderate viewpoint, will inevitably fall in line with the Democratic strategy given enough pressure from the party’s pro-abortion base. The former Indiana congressman may have pro-life convictions, but challenges to those convictions, assuming he ascends to chair the DNC, will be plentiful. The Democratic core is decidedly pro-abortion, and Roemer will do nothing to change that. If anything, the base will change him.
Pro-life rhetoric from pro-abortion politicians – the idea sounds ridiculous. But if abortion supporters play their two-faced game skillfully enough, the concept has the potential to become an effective weapon in the Democrats’ continuing war against the unborn.
David N. Bass is an 18-year-old homeschool graduate who writes for World Newspaper Publishing and is a regular columnist at AmericanDaily.com, ARationalAdvocate.com and RenewAmerica.us. He is also a contributing writer to many other online sites, including Tolkien-Movies.com. Bass is currently working on his first novel.