Friday, January 28, 2005

i'm mad at harry too

My friend Tim let me have it. It was subtle. But he let me have it nevertheless.

I've been pretty peeved with Nancy Pelosi for saying that the Democratic Party should consider becoming more welcoming to voters who do not support abortion rights. And I was also pretty annoyed to hear that Hillary Clinton was using this same inclusive language last week when she spoke to a group of abortion rights activists.

Tim pointed out to me that both Pelosi and Clinton have consistent and strong voting records on abortion rights and neither has suggested that this will change. In contract, the new Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), is "unabashedly anti-choice" and he's still managing to come up smelling like roses. Tim's feeling is that Reid's consistent votes in the Senate against choice are more damaging than anything Pelosi and Clinton -- and others who express a desire to make the party more inclusive -- say in a press conference.

Okay, so here's where I land. I am grateful that women like Pelosi and Clinton still stand strong and make their views heard with their votes and I believe that they will continue to do so. And I also agree that those of us who are concerned about the possibility that the Dems could pussy out on this issue and, for example, elect Senator Tim Roemer (D-IN) — who is anti-choice — to the position of Chair of the Democratic National Committee, should be more vocal about our opposition to the selection of Reid as the party's leader in the Senate.

However, the fact that Pelosi and Clinton, arguably the two most high-profile and powerful women in the Democratic party, are even APPEARING to go soft on the issue at a time when abortion rights are in precarious position, is disappointing. We NEED their leadership right now. The women who are my age and younger who take this right for granted need to have the women who preceded us to light a fire under our butts and do everything in their power to make sure that the generations that succeed us do not have this right taken away.

Votes are important. There is no doubt about it. But sound bites are just as important. Even misunderstood or overanalyzed or misappropriated sound bites. No one for a minute should think that Clinton and Pelosi are backing down. Not those of who need them on our side or those who want to think that they have beaten them down.

But I'll remember to give Reid sh*t as well.

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