For 30+ years of “abortion politics” in this country, one of the most well established logical myths was that a majority of americans want abortion on demand. Democrats gravitated to the pro-choice side in the 60’s and 70’s finding an active constiuency. I remember in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the Republicans were doubtful about the wisdom of candidates talking about the life issue. It was considered taboo. Ronald Reagan, Henry Hyde and others changed that. But the myth persisted in pockets of Republicans even into the 90’s.
Having butted heads with “moderate” Republicans during 20 years in pro-life, pro-family politics, the 2004 election was a wonderful event for me. Values were all the buzz with the talking heads. Democrats had to concede publicly that they missed it. And now, as I watch Brit Hume on FoxNews tonight, Democrats for Life and some pro-life, Democrat congressmen are pushing their party to embrace pro-life voters. Their argument, “Democrats cannot win elections unless they embrace the life issue.” Who would have thought we would have ever heard that.
Now, I am not so naive as to think the party of NARAL will change its stripes without a fight. But I speculate they will tell abortion fanatics to tone it down. They’ll take a Clintonesque approach: never leave your liberal beliefs, but never admit it and allow your opponent every Phyrric victory they desire. And Republicans should be aware of that.
Republicans need to take advantage of this year’s victories and use the political capital avaialbe to them to strengthen their gains. Democrat leaders like Joe Trippi–a possible replacement for Terry McAulliffe–have stated their desire to see the party take a more conservative turn. If Democrats who are pushing for this kind of change are successful, it could cause some reversals for Republicans in 2008 when the presidential election is up for grabs and all of their early nominee possibilities are weak on social issues.
And like Pyrrhus long ago, we could see Republicans running to the center to take up a battle which if won would ultimately destroy the army. Beware!