Help! What Should I Say?
By Patrick F. Cannon
Regular readers will know that I feel a general contempt for politicians, with no particular bias against either Democrats or Republicans. As it happens, I live in Illinois, whose finances have been wrecked by years of Democratic-dominated mismanagement. On the other hand, Republican candidates for governor have associated themselves with commercials that no ethical person would countenance.
Now, with the leak of Supreme Court Justice Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, many candidates for the House and Senate face a dilemma. Apparently, roughly two-thirds of their fellow Americas support a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion or not. While there are certainly states where Republicans can oppose abortion with little worry, there are others where seats may not be so safe.
It has been widely expected that the Republicans would gain control of the House in the mid-term elections. Historically, the party in power is vulnerable, but apparently some Republican candidates think the expected decision may be a wild card possibly affecting their electability.
As it happens, I have an opinion on abortion rights, as I expect you do too. I’m not likely to change my mind after many years of thought, and I wouldn’t think of asking you to change yours. But what if we were politicians?
A news source I respect reported recently that Congressional candidates – Republicans in particular – have been asking their election consultants for advice on how they should talk about abortion during their campaigns. Think about this. After all these years of mouthing the “pro-life” party line, some Republicans are looking at the numbers – that two-thirds who support abortion – and beginning to sweat just a bit.
The reality is this – most politicians have no reasoned opinions on anything, much less abortion. What they do know is that a seat in Congress is worth both having and especially keeping. It provides a large staff to do the actual work, leaving plenty of time to schmooze contributors and be schmoozed by lobbyists. And grandstand. Notice how many members have made their way to Ukraine to show their solidarity with that beleaguered country. To save some dough, maybe Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell should have taken the same flight!
I don’t mean to suggest that there are no principled politicians. Although I think he’s living in a self-created Socialist Valhalla, I do think Bernie Sanders is sincere in his beliefs. So, I think, are Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney. But what are we to think about someone like Kevin McCarthy? And the 147 Republicans who, against all credible evidence, voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election?
McCarthy is on record as telling fellow Republicans immediately after January 6, 2001 that he thought President Trump should immediately resign. And Washington’s Spinx, Mitch McConnel, was on record as saying he should be impeached. They said these things because they well knew that Trump had indeed tried to overthrow the election. Since then, their memories have clouded over, so don’t be surprised if they waffle a bit on abortion if they think it will get them elected.
Copyright 2022, Patrick F. Cannon