Abortion, politics and Obama’s agenda

Okay, I admit it.  I’m easy.  Call me “winsome” and write a thoughtful, well-informed, interesting article about the continuing resonance abortion has on the political process — even if it did not serve as the centerpiece of this last political campaign — and of course I’m going to link to the article.  In this case, “the article” is Patrick O’Hannigan’s rumination about the fact that a person’s views about abortion are themselves a litmus test of their morality and about their understanding of the limitations of government and the judiciary.  In other words, abortion is not going to go away in large part becauase it actually helps define the body politic.

Speaking of the judiciary, I had a thought this morning about both abortion and the unfairness doctrine.  As you know, Obama promised that the first thing he would do as president would be to enact laws promoting abortion to an absolute unfettered federal right, something that takes it even beyond the trimister-by-trimester limitations the Roe v. Wade court imposed.   And if you missed it, the FCC, looking forward to an Obama administration, has already made noises about a backdoor approach to the unfairness doctrine — namely, requiring all radio shows to be vetted by local panels, to ensure that the shows meet “community” interests.

With regard to these local reviewing committees, you already know from school books that, if you abandon the marketplace and hand content decisions over to government committees, you first get a voiding of any meaningful content, followed fast and hard by a creeping political correctness.  This, incidentally, occurs not just because liberals take over these committees.  It occurs because your average fairly conservative person on the committee is a nice person and doesn’t want to make waves.  He doesn’t see the Ailinsky incrementalism in front of him. Instead, he just sees a few nice people from his community who make all these heart-rending victim arguments about people’s feelings being hurt by myriad little facts.  Your average committee conservative therefore finds himself making one little concession after another so as not to get into a tussle with those other nice people on the panel.  The result, of course, is that the product under review (whether it’s a book or a radio show), becomes an information vacuum that is slowly and deliberately filled with Ailinsky-directed content.

But I’m digressing.  My point was that Obama, if he’s wily (note that I say wily, which he is, not smart, which I question) is not going to rush into making these changes.  Why not?  Because the Supreme Court is not yet a reliably liberal, activist engine of change.  Justice Kennedy, having taken over O’Connor’s swing position, will probably side with the liberal justices on expanding Roe v. Wade or putting a free speech imprimatur on the unfairness doctrine, but that’s not 100% certain.  He’s a bit of a loose cannon.  The wily Obama will wait to push these issues until he gets a solid majority on the court.  Once it’s a firmly activist court, he can do anything the heck he pleases when it comes to trampling on fundamental constitutional rights such as free speech, the right to bear arms, a true separation of church and state (which also means not making religion second class), etc.

So, my current bet is that, while Obama will do things that have dreadful repercussions, he’ll move slowly on the things that have dreadful constitutional repercussions.  He simply won’t take the risk that the Roberts’ Court will undo his efforts.

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  • http://explorations.chasrmartin.com Charlie (Colorado)

    Okay, I admit it. I’m easy.

    I like that in a woman.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if Obama, who proudly professes to symbolize American’s reconciliation with the worst in its civil rights history, becomes the prime architect of a policy of unfettered slaughter of their unborn and newborn children. That’s progress? Ugh!

  • 11B40


    I think his desire for a second (if not more) term will limit his behavior in his first term. Other than that, I don’t think we have a prayer what with the newly elected, and heavily Democratic, Congress.

  • Ymarsakar

    Danny, Neo’s latest post about Jonestown is very wise.

  • suek

    He can’t count on overriding the conservatives presently in the SC, and they’re unlikely to die within his 4 (or Heaven protect us – 8) years in office, so my guess is that he’ll try to pack the court. I don’t know when – if he waits until after 2010, he might lose the majority in one or both houses, so my guess is he’ll do it before then. You could be right of course, that he’ll wait until he has a second term so he has a free hand. I hope so – and I’ll hope he doesn’t _get_ that second term! It’s not just abortion – it’s the “Fairness Doctrine” as well. I have a feeling that with the present court, it would be struck down as violating the first amendment. If he just had two more solid Statists, though…!

  • suek

    Heh. that smiley thing is supposed to be a numeral eight.
    Do any other numbers produce variants on that little thing?

  • Ellie2

    We need to start (or support if it already exists) a Conservative version of the ACLU. This organization needs to start lawsuits — many, many lawsuits — based on the enumerated powers of the Federal Goverment, which unlike the Right to Privacy, is actually written bright and clear in the Constitution. (10th Amendment and Article 1).

  • Ellie2


    It was the 8 followed by the paren. See chart here:


  • suek

    Thanks, Ellie2. Who’da thunk!

  • suek

    >>We need to start (or support if it already exists) a Conservative version of the ACLU>>

    There are a couple of sites…FIRE is one – specific to education. There’s this one:
    but they’ve been more focused on the Kelo situation and similar cases. I don’t know of any other law firms with similar involvement. You’re right, though.
    What about the “standing” requirement? Watching the Obama Birth Certificate situation, lack of standing seems to be a major barrier. How does the ACLU get standing in cases like the removal of the cross in the San Diego suit, and the removal of the cross from Los Angeles’ city logo? Or the removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama court house? I guess I don’t understand how your average Joe Blow has standing to have something like those removed, but Berg doesn’t have standing to question the elgibility of a presidential candidate. It seems to me that the ACLU represents your Joe Blow citizen, and Berg is a citizen. Both are affected by the cases in question – so why standing in one and not the other?

  • Ellie2

    In the DC gun lawsuit, it was a cop looking for a carry permit. In most of the school cases, it’s a parent. I seem to recall one Pledge case in SF was thrown out because the suit was brought by a non-custodial parent who the court said didn’t have standing.

    In Roe it was a pregnant woman. I don’t really get the “standing” point in the Berg case, either. I would think every voter or every taxpayer would have standing. I guess that is what the SCOTUS will decide. They need to determined what the 10th Amendment means regarding standing.

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

  • Danny Lemieux

    YM, excellent heads-up on Neo’s Jonestown post. The part on how they maintained discipline by forcing people to inform on one another should be required reading in every high school program in the country.