What have we gotten ourselves into?
The trump card of those Obama supporters who urge us all to vote for their man despite our misgivings has always been abortion. If McCain becomes President, he will appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe vs. Wade; thus, it's critical that a Democrat, any Democrat, become President instead. It's an argument I made myself, back in the days when this seemed like a normal election dominated by normal issues.
Well, not content with his alarming lurches on FISA and faith-based initiatives, the Presumptive Nominee now seems to be preparing a spot for at least some abortion rights in the already very crowded space under his proverbial bus:
Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.
For a detailed discussion of why this statement is so drastically at variance with established jurisprudence on the issue, see here (scroll down a bit). Some worth-reading blogger reactions here, here, and here.
Any lingering possibility that I might even consider voting for this travesty is, of course, now over and done with. (On abortion in general, I think I've made my position clear.)
Then there's this looming threat to the party platform, which we need to be watching like hawks (read the linked Salon article too).
But what about the original argument -- that whatever Obama's ambiguities, McCain is clearly worse and would definitely appoint Supreme Court judges who would endanger Roe vs. Wade? Well, that's the conventional wisdom, but in fact he may well be more moderate on the issue, and less inclined to invest political capital in a fight over it, than we think. As for Obama, it no longer seems possible to make any sort of definite statement about what his position is on anything. We don't know what he would do. But a heavily-Democratic Senate might well be more willing to block McCain's bad judges than to block Obama's bad judges. We might actually be safer with McCain.
Meanwhile, the latest CNN poll shows that the number of Clinton supporters who plan to vote for Obama has declined from 60% to 54% over the last month -- and that was before Obama dropped his abortion bombshell.
Today's Democratic party is not worthy of support. It has chosen the wrong path. It needs to be brought back on track, with new leadership. If it takes the loss of the Presidency to accomplish that, then so be it.