Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bye bye Bayh, baby bye bayh

Lots of speculation in the traditional media about VP choices. Leiberman (ironically misnamed) is clearly on John McMaverickypants' short list.

Evan Bayh has been mentioned for Obama's pick, and that concept has come under heavy criticism in Democratic insider circles. Here's what Booman Tribune has to say:
I'm hearing word that Evan Bayh has at least a 50-50 chance of getting the vice-presidential nod and that the final decision will be made soon. Unfortunately, I don't have any other names to tell you so that you know what the alternatives are. The New York Times did a great job yesterday morning in explaining why the selection of Bayh would be problematic. It would be hard to fuck up Barack Obama's brand any worse than picking John McCain's honorary co-chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. We really shouldn't have to say anything more than that.

What does that NYTimes article have to say? Funny you should ask:
Mr. Bayh, 52, is a telegenic moderate Democrat, a father of twins entering their teens, an experienced politician who in 2006 briefly flirted with a presidential run before endorsing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. The son of a senator, Mr. Bayh was a popular two-term governor who could make Indiana, typically rock-solid Republican in presidential contests, a competitive state and appeal to blue-collar Democrats who have been slow to embrace Mr. Obama.

Mr. Bayh’s support of authorizing force in Iraq stands in sharp contrast to Mr. Obama’s oft-stated view that he showed the good judgment to oppose the conflict from the start. After his vote, Mr. Bayh in early 2003 joined Mr. McCain as an honorary co-chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which made regime change in Iraq its central cause.

“He was not only wrong, he was aggressively wrong,” said Tom Andrews, national director of the Win Without War coalition, referring to Mr. Bayh. “In my view, he would contradict if not undermine the Obama message of change, turning a new page on foreign policy and national security.”

Indeed. Bayh has shown some stones, however:
Despite his strong support for authorizing force in Iraq, Mr. Bayh showed his disillusionment with the conduct of the conflict in December 2004 by calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He voted against the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state in 2005, citing her role as an architect of the Iraq war.

But there is one other stumbling block. While he has been largely supportive of Pro-Choice legislation, he failed on the execrable Partial-Birth Abortion vote:
This legislation, if enacted, would ban the abortion procedure in which the physician partially delivers the fetus before completing the abortion. [A NO vote supports abortion rights].
Status: Bill Passed Y)63; N)34; NV)

While this may seem reasonable at first, it's not. PBA is a straw man, a phony dog-whistle issue designed strictly to rouse the Right-wing anti-choice base. Here's more:
The term was first coined by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in 1995 to describe a recently introduced medical procedure to remove fetuses from the womb.

. . . In an interview with The New Republic magazine in 1996, the NRLC's Douglas Johnson explained that the term was thought up in hopes that "as the public learns what a 'partial-birth abortion' is, they might also learn something about other abortion methods, and that this would foster a growing opposition to abortion."

In 1995, Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL) included the term as part of a bill he proposed that would make it a federal crime to perform a "partial-birth" abortion. (That year, the Ohio state legislature also passed the first state ban, but it was struck down by a federal district court; the Supreme Court later refused to hear an appeal.)

. . . And contrary to the claims of some abortion opponents, most such abortions do not take place in the third trimester of pregnancy, or after fetal "viability." Indeed, when some members of Congress tried to amend the bill to ban only those procedures that take place after viability, abortion opponents complained that would leave most of the procedures legal.

In other words, it's incredibly rare, clearly not used as a contraceptive, and an awful thing to experience. It has become the battle flag for the anti-choice crowd, since its gory aspect can easily offend even staunch supporters of a woman's right to choose.

That Bayh failed to see this bill for what it was speaks to either a sad misunderstanding of its purpose, or a lousy dedication to Choice.

Bill Clinton had it right about at least one thing. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

My friend Max Bernstein (Max and the Marginalized) has started a new Facebook group:
100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP

If you're a Facebook member, go join. If you're not involved with Facebook, now is your chance. Show your support. Bayh is not our guy.