Democrats Raising Abortion Rights As Campaign Issue

In too many recent races Democratic candidates backed away from supporting liberal positions on social issues. This hasn’t kept conservatives from voting against them, and I wonder how many potential Democratic voters saw no reason to vote Democratic as a result of this. I was pleased to see a report that this year many Democratic candidates in tight races are raising abortion rights. The New York Times reports:

Abortion rights is the flash point, being wielded by the left in hard-fought races from New York’s contest for governor, to Senate races in Florida and California, as Democratic candidates or groups try to rally their base and attract moderate Republican or independent women — a slice of the electorate that is even more coveted than in years past.

It used to be Democrats who feared “wedge” issues; they allowed Republicans to cleave off conservative Democratic voters. But this time around, Republicans want to talk about economic anxiety — widely shared by voters, polls say — rather than narrow social issues that might frighten off moderates.

The Democratic strategy is at least drawing the attention of voters. But it comes with a risk, too: Does selling the idea that Republican fiscal warriors are social zealots in disguise send a shiver of fear down voters’ spines, or make Democrats look like they are avoiding the subject on most voters’ minds?

It definitely makes sense to point out to voters that there are important issues beyond the economy (not that voting Republican on economic issues makes any sense). Highlighting the opposition to abortion rights by most Republicans shows a fundamental difference between the parties. The belief by Republicans that the government has the right to control an individual’s body also helps show that Republican talk of small government is all talk designed to obfuscate the real beliefs of the authoritarian right.

Court Rules Against Tax Deduction For Hookers And Porn

Many New Yorkers (perhaps its former Governor) will be disappointed by the ruling of the New York Tax Appeals that they will not allow tax deductions for hookers and porn as a medical expense. More at Forbes.

Sarah Palin Falls To Bush Levels Of Unpopularity, With Joe Lieberman Not Far Behind

George W. Bush has the distinction of having a low approval rating of only 25 percent in the Gallup poll, just one percent above Richard Nixon who was forced to resign in disgrace. CBS News had his final approval rating even lower at 22 percent–which happens to be Sarah Palin’s current approval rating from the same organization. It appears that 22 percent might be the level of support a Republican politician can count on regardless of how incompetent they are.

More numbers from the poll:

Palin is viewed favorably by just 22 percent of Americans, according to the poll – including less than half (44 percent) of Republicans. Twenty-one percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats view her favorably.

Forty-eight percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Palin. That includes 73 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of independents and 22 percent of Republicans.

Another politician has seen their support fall to the same ball park as the Bush/Palin level. A survey from Public Policy Polling found that only 24 percent plan to vote for Joseph Lieberman for reelection, although his approval rating remains barely over 30 percent:

Majorities of Democrats (72%), independents (63%), and Republicans (61%) alike say it’s time to swap out Lieberman for someone new.

Lieberman is one of the most unpopular Senators in the country, with only a 31% approval rating and 57% of voters disapproving of his job performance. He’s on slightly favorable ground with Republicans at a 46/41 approval rating. But he’s lost virtually any remaining support he had with Democrats at a 20/69 approval and independents are against him as well, by a 31/56 spread.