As Ramesh Ponnuru reported in his book The Party of Death, in 2004 the Democrats kept abortion talk at their convention to a bare minimum. At the time, this move was not seen as a mistake—rather the opposite. Democrats believed that it helped them keep the -election close. As John Kerry told a group of Democratic strategists in an after-action strategy session, “they needed new ways to make people understand they didn’t like -abortion. Democrats also needed to welcome more pro-life candidates into the party.” Nancy Keenan was appalled, but Democrats such as Dianne Feinstein and Donna Brazile agreed. As Brazile said, “Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies.” “We’re not the party of abortion,” said Howard Dean.Read the rest.
That was then. Today’s Democrats didn’t just make abortion rights a key theme of their convention. They also changed the way they talk about abortion. They used to present it as a tragedy, but something they were prepared to abide for various reasons. They argued that abortion represented a failure of the social system—somewhere along the line the women seeking one had been let down, by inadequate education, or by their families, or by men, or by a health care system that denied them access to contraception. The choice to abort should be protected, but it should also be regretted.
That’s why, for a dozen years, Democrats—beginning with Bill Clinton—claimed that they wanted abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare.” In Charlotte, the word “rare” was dropped from the party’s platform and never appeared in any of the speeches.
Monday, September 10, 2012