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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, June 15, 2008

And who will treat our mothers as real human beings?

by folkbum

(Not to suggest that mothers don't care about tax policy, of course.)

This should be required reading for every woman--commenter Fair Play, for example, and Debra Bartoshevich, in particular--who would have voted for Hillary Clinton in November but now plans to vote for John McCain:
For anyone--male or female--who cares about reproductive rights, family planning, and women's health issues, the choice this fall is not even close.

And yet many voters have no idea how extreme McCain's position on these issues is. [. . .] Forty-nine percent of women in battleground states who currently favor McCain are pro-choice. Twenty-three percent of them believe McCain agrees with them on choice.

The good news is, 36 percent of pro-choice McCain supporters are less likely to vote for him after learning that McCain opposes Roe v. Wade and favors making most abortions illegal. That number hits 38 percent when those voters learn that McCain has also consistently voted against expanding access to programs that reduce pregnancy and the need for abortion, consistently voted in favor of abstinence-only programs, and against legislation requiring insurance companies to cover birth control. [. . .]

Since 1983, in votes in the House and the Senate (where he has served since 1987), McCain has cast 130 votes on abortion and other reproductive-rights issues. 125 of those votes were anti-choice. Among his voting lowlights:
He has repeatedly voted to deny low-income women access to abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother's life (although McCain is now wavering on trying to put these exceptions into the party platform).

He voted to shut down the Title X family-planning program, which provides millions of women with health care services ranging from birth control to breast cancer screenings.

He voted against legislation that established criminal and civil penalties for those who use threats and violence to keep women from gaining access to reproductive health clinics.

He voted to uphold the policy that bans overseas health clinics from receiving aid from America if they use their own funds to provide legal abortion services or even adopt a pro-choice position.

Of his anti-choice voting record, McCain has said, "I have many, many votes and it's been consistent," proudly adding: "And I've got a consistent zero from NARAL" through the years. And last month he told Chris Matthews: "The rights of the unborn is one of my most important values."
I get the feeling, just having read about and things by some of "McCain Democrats," that a lot of McCain-leaning liberals have a vague sense that McCain is going to be somehow more reasonable or thoughtful, particularly on issues like reproductive rights, than his record suggests.

I remember listening to a Ben Merens show a few weeks ago, with a guest from, I think, The Atlantic or something like that, talking about McCain v. Obama. This was just after Clinton ended her run, and Merens was actively soliciting Clinton voters to call in and talk about what they would do now. One woman called in who described herself as a life-long Democrat, a liberal, and so on, but she would simply not vote for Obama. At some point the guest asked her about foreign policy: Did she think McCain would invade Iran? Of course not, she said. McCain's not crazy and the Democrats in Congress would never give him approval. The problem, as the guest pointed out, was that this woman's perception of McCain's sanity and his willingness to listen to Congress was totally at odds with reality and McCain's own rhetoric. How many millions more people out there have a similar warped perception of McCain?

I know that we're five months out from the election, and many "McCain Democrats" will probably come home. (Recent polling suggests that a bit of a "unity bounce" has already begun.) But to hear from Democrats now that somehow McCain will be better than Obama on our core issues is just insane. McCain is a conservative, he always has been. He's not going to magically become a pro-choice moderate with a sensible foreign policy. It will not happen. And the sooner these "McCain Democrats" stop lying to themselves and to everyone else, the better.

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