The Airing of Grievances
Monday, July 05, 2004
Even while running the most cautious campaign in history, John Kerry still manages a screw-up now and again and, for some reason, this one infuriates me. For the first time, Kerry has provided truly relevant fodder for the flip-flop charges that have been manufactured by Rove and the BC04 spin machine. Before, his supposed episodes of waffling were simply pragmatic shifts in position executed over long periods of time, necessitated by an ever-changing landscape. On an issue like NAFTA, I think it's perfectly reasonable to want to reassess a decision you made 10 years ago - God knows, I have plenty that I would like to get a do-over on. And after all, Bush is no one to talk about flip-flopping (steel tariffs/no steel tariffs; no 9/11 commission/OK, we'll have a 9/11 commission, but me and the Dickmeister will be about as uncooperative as we can; no Department of Homeland Security/OK, we'll have a Department of Homeland Security, and by the way, it was our idea; there are a few dozen more, but you get the idea).
However, at no time should a pro-choice politician ever utter the words, "I believe life does begin at conception." I mean, you just don't do it. The whole matter of "at conception" vs. "at birth" itself is completely extraneous to the abortion issue - it comes down to whether or not you feel a government, largely comprised of middle-aged white guys, has the right to interfere in what is a private, moral matter that concerns half the population of this country. But, unfortunately, by uttering the buzz word of "conception", you signal to the anti-choice side of the debate that you're on their side. And this whole defense of "I don't like abortion, blah de blah blah blah", doesn't cut it. Even the staunchest choice advocate doesn't "like" the idea of abortion, nobody does. But they like the idea of their government telling them what they can and can't do with their bodies even less.
Huh boy...this is one of those moments where I wish I wasn't such a craven, greedy capitalist and could get myself comfortable with the notion of entering the political arena and the relative poverty and low-rent whoring that it entails, just so I could maybe influence guys like Kerry to either tell a better story or else keep their damn mouths shut on such trap issues. In the mean time, we'll no doubt get to watch the right-wing media run with this one until Bush screws something else up.