no conservatives allowed?

I don’t know that I buy into it completely, but I thought that this Daily Kos perspective on NARAL was worth considering.

…Problem is, politics can’t be divorced from the issue. So NARAL goes around endorsing Republicans like Chafee because they talk a good game about choice. But then, Republicans like Chafee vote for people like Trent Lott and Bill Frist as majority leaders. And then they vote to confirm reactionary anti-privacy, anti-choice judges like Janice Brown.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion Democrats like Harry Reid don’t vote for Frist or Lott, and they don’t vote to confirm reactionary anti-choice judges like Janice Brown. There’s no doubt Chafee will vote to confirm Roberts, regardless his record on choice, and yet NARAL would still rather endorse Chafee?

You know, nothing says they have to endorse an anti-abortion Democrat, but clearly they don’t understand that good politics — turning the Senate Democratic is far more beneficial for their issue (women’s rights) than anything the Republicans can muster.

So, what do you think? Are NARAL and other so-called “progressive” groups doing themselves and their causes a disservice when they seek to build alliances across party lines? I can see a certain amount of logic in what Kos says, but on the other hand it seems as though they’d be handicapping themselves unnecessarily by saying, for instance, “we don’t want Republican environmentalists.”

I might be wrong about this, but didn’t Paul Wellstone make it a point in his book, “The Conscience of a Liberal,” to repeatedly stress the necessity of reaching out across the aisle in order to create progressive change, as he had done with his mental illness bill and other pieces of legislation?

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  1. Posted August 11, 2005 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I think the Republican Party has been hijacked and that even moderate Republicans are not going to be able to un-hijack it. Look at what happened to Colin Powell, Paul O’Neill, and Christie Todd Whitman. They were ineffective at moderating the party, despite having been in positions of considerable influence.

    Electing a few more moderate Republicans is not going to make any difference at all. We need real structural change, such as instant runoff voting, proportional representation, or something like that.

  2. chris
    Posted August 11, 2005 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    To answer your questions: No, Yes.

    But, Joseph is so right as well. It is a hard call. I think Whitman’s defection from the EPA was pretty huge, and Powell’s disgust pretty obvious.

    The Dems are working with what they got, not a lot, but who are we to reject at this point? But I have felt that they acquiesce too much. Shit, I have no idea what’s going on anymore because it is sooooooo far out there.

    Just as Clinton had his inner asshole, does not Bush have an inner decent guy? The GOP HAS gone waaaaay past the envelope…like my chickenhawk post, I just can’t believe that they believe this stuff anymore.

  3. Posted August 12, 2005 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    To quote Chris, “No, Yes.” Though the polarizing issues get all the press, the vast majority of lawmaking in this country centers around non-polarized, and frankly, uninteresting issues. There is a lot of common ground to be mined there, and I don’t think we do enough to find the gold there.

    As a trial lawyer in a state with a legislature and judiciary controlled by Republicans, I absolutely must nurture my relationship with those on the other side of the aisle. On core issues, there is no doubt I will lose, and on those issues my engagement is irrelevant. Doesn’t help, doesn’t hurt.

    On non-core issues, particularly those that don’t get the spotlight, my engagement is crucial, as having a seat at the table or a voice in the debate actually influences the discussion. I feel the benefit is immeasuable.

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