Dry wit Sarah Vowell’s cultural commentary is always worth a read. But on Saturday she hit on a couple of political messaging angles Dem ad-makers should think about. Here’s a clip from Vowell’s op-ed in the New York Times:
During a gubernatorial debate in 2006, Governor Palin claimed that if her daughter, then 16, were impregnated as the result of being raped, Ms. Palin would hope that the girl would “choose life,” which is a polite way of saying she would expect a tenth-grader to give birth to her rapist’s baby.
Here’s a not-so-polite fact about the United States: According to Amnesty International, a woman is raped here every six minutes.
Like his running mate, Senator McCain has been a true-blue opponent of abortion rights during his political career. Unlike his running mate, he supports the right to terminate a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. So does President Bush. During a Republican primary debate in 2000, Senator McCain denounced Mr. Bush for being in favor of the exception but not having the guts to push for putting it in writing in the official Republican Party platform that year.
This year, Senator McCain himself didn’t bother to stand up to the right wing of his party to insist that the rape and incest exception be written into the Republican Party platform. Just as he failed to stand up to the right wing of his party in choosing his running mate. His first choice was reported to be Senator Joseph Lieberman, a man who stood up to the Democratic Party to the extent that he isn’t even a Democrat anymore.
Some promising memes brewing here. First. McCain dumps his ‘principles’ whenever he smells an opportunity for more power (see Vega’s Aug. 6 post at TDS for more on this angle). Second, he backs down from political bullies. Third, If anything should happen to 72-76 year-old McCain during his term, President Palin — it’s difficult to even think the words — will appoint Supreme Court justices who favor her extremist positions on outlawing abortions, and perhaps her troubling ideas about book-banning.
As our recent staff post reported, healthy majorities of single women of all races are already tilting toward Obama. Some well-targeted ads (women watch more TV and surf more net than men) could help awaken more single women to the disturbing prospect of the McCain-Palin policies on abortion, and just might cut a little slice out of McCain’s big lead lead among white married women.
And Dems concerned about how the Catholic vote factors into the Palin effect, and anyone struggling with abortion as a personal and political issue, may find helpful our veep nominee’s comments on Meet the Press. As Biden explained,
It’s a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I’m prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths–Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others–who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They’re intensely as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life–I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.
The entire transcript and netcast of Biden’s Sunday appearance on MTP are highly recommended for illuminating the stark contrast in the gravitas of the Dem and GOP veep nominees — and, more importantly, for what it says about the presidential nominees who selected them.