Huckabee and Romney’s Plans to Ban Abortion

Medical News Today reports on the GOP plan to return us to the day of shirt hanger abortions:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, on Wednesday at a debate in Durham, N.H., said that he supports a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The debate at the University of New Hampshire was moderated by Fox News’ Brit Hume (Quaid, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/6). Huckabee said he would “love to see” the U.S. adopt an amendment similar to one in the Arkansas Constitution “that says that we believe life begins at conception and that we ought to do everything in the world possible to protect it until its natural conclusion.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who also is running for the Republican nomination, was asked by Fox News’ Wendell Goler about his abortion-rights position (Fox News debate transcript, 9/5). Top advisers last month said Romney supports a two-tiered process in which states first would obtain authority to regulate abortion after Roe v. Wade — the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively barred state abortion bans — is overturned. The second step would be a constitutional amendment that bans most abortions nationwide (Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 8/23).

Romney said, “I believe almost all of us in the room would say that we’d love to have an America that didn’t have abortion. But the truth of the matter is … that’s not what America is right now. That’s not what the American people are right now. And so I’d like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people, and the people themselves, have the ability to put in place pro-life legislation” (AP/, 9/6).

Romney added, “I believe that a civilized society must respect the sanctity of the human life. But we have two lives involved here — a mom, an unborn child. We have to have concern for both lives and show the expression of our compassion and our consideration and work to change hearts and minds, and that’s the way in my view we’ll ultimately have a society without abortion” (Fox News debate transcript, 9/5).

A Fox News transcript of the complete debate is available online. Fox News video of Romney and Huckabee’s comments on abortion also is available online (, 9/6).

General Petraeus and the MoveOn Ad

The problem with political discourse in this country can be seen by looking over at Memeorandum today. While I would expect discussion of Petraeus’ report to be the top matter of discussion, the conservative blogosphere has succeeded in making the MoveOn ad the major issue of the day. I don’t necessarily disagree with all their objections to the ad, but I do disagree as to how significant an issue this is.

The offensive aspect of the MoveOn ad is the slogan “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” Personally I would have concentrated on the areas of disagreement on policy as opposed to a personal attack on Patraeus. Ideally I wouldn’t even have had any ad critical of the report before it was reviewed, which is why I still have not posted on the report until I can review it in more detail, but I also realize that this is not how politics works.

While the ad was, as John Kerry put it, “over the top,” there’s also a matter of perspective. The question of what we do in Iraq is what is important. It may be a sign of the weakness of their position that many conservative bloggers prefer to attack MoveOn over an ad as opposed to defending the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

What is troublesome about the calls to denounce MoveOn is that their ad is tame compared to the usual vitriol we’ve come to expect from the right. It certainly is not valid that Petraeus has betrayed his country, but nor are the accusations of the Swift Boat liars true about John Kerry. I’m far more concerned about a concerted smear campaign than I am about a silly play on someone’s name for a single ad. I also wonder how many of those calling for the denouncement of MoveOn also repeat the conservative memes that liberals are socialists, that opponents of the war are opposed to defending the country, or, as Ann Coulter has written, that we’re all a bunch of traitors.

There is a problem with the political atmosphere in this country. The MoveOn ad was over the top and does contribute to the problem, but ultimately the problem stems from the tactics most commonly employed by the right. Unfortunately many of the left feel that the only effective response is to mimic their tactics, and plenty of finger pointing can be done by both sides. I just wonder how many of those pointing their fingers at MoveOn are guilty of much worse, or at least accept far worse from those supporting the Republican Party.

Why George Bush Has Not Made Us Safer

Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission ask, Are We Safer Today? In many ways we are no safer now than we were six years ago. One problem is that the bumper sticker which says “we are creating more terrorists than we can kill” is true:

We face a rising tide of radicalization and rage in the Muslim world — a trend to which our own actions have contributed. The enduring threat is not Osama bin Laden but young Muslims with no jobs and no hope, who are angry with their own governments and increasingly see the United States as an enemy of Islam.

Four years ago, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld famously asked his advisers: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

The answer is no.

While the Bush administration tries to fight this militarily (and in the wrong country) the real battle is one of hearts and minds:

We are also failing in the struggle of ideas. We have not been persuasive in enlisting the energy and sympathy of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims against the extremist threat. That is not because of who we are: Polling data consistently show strong support in the Muslim world for American values, including our political system and respect for human rights, liberty and equality. Rather, U.S. policy choices have undermined support.

No word is more poisonous to the reputation of the United States than Guantanamo. Fundamental justice requires a fair legal process before the U.S. government detains people for significant periods of time, and the president and Congress have not provided one. Guantanamo Bay should be closed now. The 9/11 commission recommended developing a “coalition approach” for the detention and treatment of terrorists — a policy that would be legally sustainable, internationally viable and far better for U.S. credibility.

A major problem remains that, “no conflict drains more time, attention, blood, treasure and support from our worldwide counterterrorism efforts than the war in Iraq. It has become a powerful recruiting and training tool for al-Qaeda.”

Supporters of the war commonly claim that liberals are soft on fighting terrorism based upon our opposition to the war. In reality, it is the Republicans who have failed the nation by not understanding the nature of the threat and attempting to fight in a counterproductive manner. Unfortunately all the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, repeat the same erroneous beliefs which we have heard from the Bush administration since 9/11.