Friday, July 22, 2005

Sometimes it's hard to tell...

signs of difficult feminist times...who your friends are. Markos has a rant today at NARAL for their endorsement choices in some recent (and upcoming) races. He points to some recent votes which make it clear that the lines between personal beliefs and policy choices, between pro-choice and anti-abortion legislators, and between Democrats and Republicans are sometimes not as clear as you might think they were.
Anti-abortion Democrats like Harry Reid voted against Janice Brown. Pennsylvania's Bob Casey, another target of the Choice groups, would've also voted against her. Despite that, NOW's president claims there isn't a single bit of difference, regarding women's issues, between Casey and Santorum! Yet another example where single-issue groups myopic vision obscures the broader picture -- one in which Democrats will always be a party of privacy and choice, and the Republicans will always seek to criminalize abortion.
Again, of course, things aren't that simple either. But he makes a good point, and it's one that issue supporters and voters interested in a whole host of arenas will have to try to sort out in a more nuanced way.


Anonymous said...

I do not accept Kos' assertion that Democrats will always be the party of "choice" and "privacy." Historically, political parties have flip-flopped in rather dramatic ways and little that the Dems (with a few exceptions) are doing now suggests to me that they are strong advocates for the full citizenship of women in this country. And I do think that reproductive rights are fundamental to individual liberty and human rights - thus, lumping "abortion" and all that is wrapped up in those debates in with other "single issue" things as Kos tends to do, to me, betrays a real myopia. Kos comes across (and not just in this post) as someone who believes that women's rights, as an issue, are of little more significance than where one stands on the speed limit or, less trivially, redistricting. Both are important in their own way, but autonomy, freedom, and privacy - of the sort that the theocrats and their cronies want to take away - are a whole 'nother ball game.

Markos has repeatedly demonstrated a severe lack of clue on this stuff and he really needs to get over his obsession with NARAL. They don't "owe" the Democratic party anything, especially the way the Democrats have been treating women's issues lately. As others have pointed out in related threads, you don't see Kos and his brethren beating their chests about the Sierra Club occasionally endorsing Republicans. But somehow, let a wimmin's group get out of line, and it's month after month of hysterical badgering and guilting. I'm not impressed.


Anonymous said...

What Medley said. I de-linked Kos (feeble, I know, but all the protest I have) when he took a telling swipe at "women's studies types" or whatever his phrase was. Since then I've seen nothing to convince me I'm wrong in my impression that Kos is a misogynist in liberal clothing, paying what he thinks is the minimal necessary lip service to feminism and occasionally slipping up and letting his real attitude show.


ACM said...

My link to this post was in no way a blanket endorsment of Markos, who has clearly demonstrated that women's issues are not a priority for him (or even, necessarily, a topic that he really groks). However, I think that he raises a really interesting and potentially important question here, even if his may not be the correct, let alone final, answer.

Prochoice folks often like to point out that pro-life folks who argue for abstinence education are forwarding their proximal goal (teenage morality) at the expense of their ultimate goal (if that really is reducing the prevalence of abortion). I think, then, that it's also fair for prochoice folks to ask whether, in forwarding the proximal goal of supporting legislators who support us on this one issue, we might be undercutting our ultimate goal, which is to better the overall national environment with regard to women's rights to control their bodies. The examples that kos cites (of prochoice folks who voted to confirm rabidly rightist judges) are evidence that the two may not always be linked, a notion worth consideration. Whether the delinkage is sufficient to dictate a change in strategy (and/or whether there's a better pattern to follow in pursuing the ultimate goal, say using party affiliation or some other indicator) is a separate question, and one much harder to decipher. But I think it's worth occasionally stepping back to look at the bigger picture, rather than just picking out one tree after another...

All ideas are better when occasionally challenged and re-examined, including the assumptions of Markos, NARAL, and all the rest of us.