Abortion

Abortion

This year’s presidential election is going to very interesting, very dirty and very close.  So it’s tempting to start to dissect the individual campaign strategies because every minute decision could win or lose the race.

On the abortion issue, the lines are very clear.  Obama is pro-choice, pro-family planning, pro- Planned Parenthood, pro-stem cell research.  As we all know, Mitt Romney was pro-choice when he was Governor of Massachusetts but then he suddenly had a “conversion” about the time he started thinking about getting the Republican nomination for President from those right wingers who control their nominating process.  Now he is pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood, blah, blah.  And although each candidate is always fuzzy on the issue of Supreme Court nominations, we know darn well that they will nominate justices that comport with their views on reproductive health.  This is a very important issue as the next President is bound to get a few nominations and that could determine the future of Roe v Wade.

Abortion

Abortion

It should come as no surprise that both of the candidates, as they criss-cross the country collecting the few votes that could make the difference, never talk about abortion.  Now, sure, I cannot say for a fact that they have NEVER mentioned it in a speech, but I have over the summer taken a lot of time watching their speeches on YouTube and as far as I can see they are not mentioning the issue.  This is very interesting to me in light of all of the talk a few months ago about the Republican Party’s so-called “War on Women.”  I’m not sure what happened to those folks who are concerned about that war, but they have been rather conspicuous by their absence.  On the other hand, if they were smart they would hold their fodder and wait until Labor Day when the race is engaged in earnest.

Abortion Advocate then convenient flip flop

Abortion Advocate then convenient flip flop

I was surprised, therefore, the other morning as I was flipping a pancake when I heard some foreboding music on the television and saw the grainy image of Mitt Romney with a voiceover telling us that he would “outlaw all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest.”   There was more foreboding music, like a soundtrack from some low budget vampire movie, and then I saw several pictures of women who were looking straight into the camera as if to say “stay out of my uterus, Mitt!”   The commercial then finishes off with a fuzzy recording of Mitt saying “and we’ll get rid of Planned Parenthood.”    Fade to black.

Now this commercial ran in Virginia, a toss-up state.  And I would not be surprised if the commercial ran just here in Northern Virginia which is much more progressive than the rest of the state.  Remember that it was the Virginia legislature that considered requiring vaginal ultrasounds before a woman could have an abortion.  So, Obama is probably being very strategic but just once I’d love to see a presidential candidate go all the way.

Abortion

Abortion

Putting all of those polls aside, polls that can be easily manipulated based on how you frame the question, I still believe that the vast majority of voters in this country are generally pro-choice and, more importantly, they just don’t think it’s an issue for politicians to be involved with.  And I think that Obama could tap into that sentiment by being a strong, unequivocal voice for “choice.”  I mean, just come out and talk about the darn issue and tell the American that “I trust women.”   In my many years in national politics, the biggest rounds of applause I heard were often when the candidate did not pull any punches, went right to the heart of the matter and told people that, while they might not like what he says, he is gonna tell them how he feels.  I firmly believe that’s what we Americans want in a candidate – a candidate with guts.  This is a great issue to demonstrate those guts.