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Another foolish proposal from a Democrat who has persuaded himself that abortion is a winning issue

by | Jun 7, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

Josh Marshall, the editor of Talking Point Memo has covered politics, we’re told, for 25 years. On Monday he offered a Guest Essay for the New York Times that ran under the headline “Democrats Can Win This Fall if They Make One Key Promise.”

Of course the “answer” is to make the mid-term elections a “referendum” on Roe by “get[ting] clear public commitments from every Senate Democrat (and candidate for Senate) not only to vote for the Roe bill in January 2023 but also to change the filibuster rules to ensure that a majority vote would actually pass the bill and send it to the White House for the president’s signature.”

Gosh, why didn’t somebody think of this sooner?

To begin with, Marshall is talking about, without naming it, the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill, an astonishing radical proposal, was just defeated and would be defeated next time around –it would be filibustered again–unless you ditch the filibuster.

But to Marshall, “What Democrats would be proposing is a classic small-c conservative solution in the best sense of the word. Codifying Roe would preserve the set of rights and protections that the vast majority of Americans have lived their entire adult lives with and that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want to change. The threat that the court will strike down such a law is real but overstated.”

“Codifying Roe” is the Big Lie which Democrats keep peddling. The Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 4132) “would nullify nearly all existing protective state laws,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of Federal Legislation for National Right to Life. “In addition, this legislation also would have prohibited states from adopting new protective laws in the future, even laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court.” 

Popik added, “According to pro-abortion groups, if this law were enacted, abortion-on-demand would be allowed in all 50 states, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. With this bill, elective abortion would become the procedure that must always be facilitated –never delayed, never impeded to the slightest degree.”

Marshall doesn’t even address the elephant in the room: the increased likelihood that Democrats will lose the House this fall. The last thing Democrats want is a frank discussion of how far they wish to go. And, of course, excising the filibuster would only aggravate intra-party tensions.

That having been said, the Democrat leadership would nonetheless sign up, correct? Nope. 

They likely can’t rely on the party’s leaders, at least not at first. But they’re not essential. It’s really up to voters and activists and particularly committed members of Congress. Probably half the Democrats in the Senate would be happy to sign on this dotted line by the end of the day. Those who are up for re-election, even in safe races, will come around quickly.

Marshall is confident he and his proposal will carry the day. I beg to differ. Assuming that support for Roe on steroids is a recipe for electoral victory is a fool’s errand.

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