On Jan. 24, when the pro-abort divide between Clinton and Obama supporters was escalating into civil war, National Abortion Rights Action League, or NARAL, President Nancy Keenan issued an appeal for all sides to remain calm and focused on the real enemies, preborn children.
Keenan assured factions that all Democrat candidates were equally qualified to advance prenatal killing.
Who knew Super Tuesday would not determine their presidential predator, nor the Potomac Primary, nor Super Tuesday II, nor even Super Tuesday III on May 6?
Meanwhile, NARAL tried to redirect attention to the “staunchly, rigidly, undeniably anti-choice” Republican nominee John McCain in its almost daily e-alerts, which I receive.
But NARAL was unsuccessful. Thanks to sexier issues like Bosnia and Jeremiah Wright, the mainstream media didn’t bite.
Meanwhile, the infighting continued. The Clinton camp kept pounding Obama as being soft on abortion because he voted “present” seven times as state senator on abortion legislation and because he wasn’t a woman.
It is ideologues vs. pragmatics. Those who are feminists first and abortion zealots second support Clinton. The presidency is their grail. Those who are abortion zealots first and industry dependents second support Obama. They believe he will do more to keep abortion legal and lucrative.
NARAL’s endorsement of Obama last week came as a big shock, but it shouldn’t have. NARAL has been clear it is watching a bigger clock tick.
Still, feminists were infuriated. NARAL endorsed a man over an equally if not more qualified woman and only three weeks before the primary season ended. This was perceived as disloyal and calling the game before time was up.
The American Spectator reported that Obama’s people threatened NARAL with loss of influence if it didn’t endorse Obama now, when he really needed a feminist group to bolt from Clinton.
That may be, but if so, NARAL was ripe, and smart.
NARAL’s political director, Elizabeth Shipp, explained some of its rationale to the New York Times:
[T]here was a feeling that endorsing Mr. Obama at a high-profile juncture might help NARAL shed its image as an organization for white women only.
“Has it been in the past?” Ms. Shipp asked. “Yes. Do I think the face of the choice movement is different today, and do I hope NARAL plays a role in that? You bet.”
Shipp really meant white “old” women, Clinton’s demographic. Keenan added in the Huffington Post that “Obama … has reached new generations and energized young voters. …”
During a post-endorsement web chat with 700 mostly angry participants, Shipp reiterated:
Sen. Obama has brought nearly 2.5 million new voters into the democratic process. Additionally, historical numbers of Independent and Republican voters have changed their registration to support his candidacy.
NARAL wants to rebrand, and riding Obama’s coattails is one quick way. And oh, how NARAL wants Obama’s list, to lure stupid abortion-inclined abortion survivors. It doesn’t want to die as old pro-abort white women die.
The Obama campaign certainly shared polling data with NARAL, confirming its fears about McCain. How else could Shipp know to say during the web chat:
The vast majority of voters still don’t know just how pro-choice Barack Obama is and how anti-choice John McCain has been. … Many voters who may be inclined to support McCain don’t know his … consistent opposition to a woman’s right to choose. They believe … McCain is a “moderate” and a “maverick” so assume he must be pro-choice.
Sen. Obama needs an organization like ours to help close the identification gap with key voting constituencies before the fall campaign begins in earnest and people’s opinions are already formed about the two candidates. We can help ensure a pro-choice victory in November, but only if we act now.
Without a clear Democratic nominee, Sen. John McCain has been getting a free ride with the media, and a critical voting bloc that could very well swing the election: pro-choice Independent and Republican women. …
With our endorsement, John McCain’s free ride ends.
So McCain’s “moderate” and “maverick” brands have apparently confused soft pro-aborts into thinking he’s amenable yet temperate on abortion, just like them. Interesting.
I disagree voters “still don’t know just how pro-choice Barack Obama is.” Pro-lifers have been doing a fabulous job spreading the word that Obama is so radical he even supports infanticide if it would impose on abortion. Keenan agreed:
We’ve already seen the attacks coming fast and furious against Sen. Obama, especially from right-wing anti-choicers. …
But NARAL’s endorsement didn’t turn the spotlight on McCain. It only exacerbated the civil war. In one short week NARAL’s blog has received a whopping 3,700 comments, almost all irate.
And that’s just fine with me.
Related special offer: