Over at the Washingtion Examiner, Tim Carney writes that when it comes to abortion, President Barack Obama—and not Mitt Romney—is the true extremist.
Obama is an abortion absolutist. He opposes all restriction on abortion. The only red line he had in the 2010 government shutdown debate was federal funding for the nation's leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Tax cuts for the rich, domestic spending cuts—all those things he could accept. Reduced subsidies to the abortion lobby—that, he could not abide….
All of this puts Obama firmly outside the mainstream. In the latest Gallup polls, 71 percent favor laws requiring parental consent before a child gets an abortion. Obama opposes even parental notification. Only 26 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Obama thinks it should be legal and subsidized under all circumstances.
Carney notes that even many liberal legal theorists (he quotes once-perennial potential SCOTUS nominee Laurence Tribe) argue that Roe v. Wade is bad law (and that overturning it wouldn't mean the abortion rights would disappear). And Carney, who is very much against abortion adds
Obama's abortion absolutism doesn't come from a deep respect for individual liberty: He's a war-on-drugs stalwart who forces people to buy private health insurance and undergo intrusive scans or pat-downs at the airport. There's something else going on here.
As I noted last week, around 77 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances, with only 20 percent saying it should be illegal always (the figures are from Gallup). And only 17 percent of voters insist that candidates share their views on abortion (about the same number of pro-lifers and pro-choicers feel that way).
Kathleen Parker had a great column in yesterday's Wash Post, where she noted that whatever else you can say about abortion and contraceptives, these are not front-burner elections but rather "the same old culture war" issues that are used to ply dedicated partisans and to spray fog over more central concerns. Interestingly (and accurately), she notes that it was Obama who injected these themes into the campaign by shoving contraceptives down the throats of folks (cough) via his health-care reform:
Obama reasoned correctly that he had the majority with him, especially among women and youth, for many of whom these debates seem antiquated to not-applicable. Hence, a new Obama ad by the creator and star of HBO's "Girls," Lena Dunham, in which she compares voting for the first time (for a man who understands women) to, you know, "doing it" for the first time. It's .?.?. what it is: a message to young women that losing one's virginity is top of the bucket list, but first you gotta vote for the president who will give you free contraception.
The same ol' culture wars. But, of course, women have had access to birth control for decades, and no one is trying to take it away. Anyone who suggests otherwise may have been spending too much time with Big Bird.
And then read Morris P. Fiorina's work on the falsity of a radically divided America, which is showcased most thoroughly in his book Culture War? (check out the 3rd edition, updated in 2010).
And then…check the weather. And then…read about the various candidates' plans for the economy, foreign policy, and more before voting (or choosing not to vote).