Ladies, Are You Sure You Can Pull That Lever All By Yourself?

Debate Thoughts

Debate Thoughts

Yes, I forced myself to watch the debate last night. These things are painful to me, since I realize that no matter what happens, ONE of these two is going to be President. Crap! We deserved so much better this year, and we almost had it.

In any case, I thought this was the best debate. Bob Schieffer asked some idiotic questions, of course, and was blatantly favoring Obama in terms of time and slant, but for the first time, I felt we got a look at who these two men really were. The format was more intimate and allowed them to interact with each other more closely. This was inarguably John McCain’s strongest performance, and he had the best line of the night: “If you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run for President four years ago.”

Indeed. But what really stood out for me was when the candidates started talking about Supreme Court judges and, by extension, Roe v. Wade and abortion. Take a deep breath, feminists. You’re not going to like this.

Let’s start with McCain’s answer.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Let’s stop there and go to another question. And this one goes to Senator McCain. Senator McCain, you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Senator Obama, you believe it shouldn’t.

Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue? Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: I would never and have never in all the years I’ve been there imposed a litmus test on any nominee to the court. That’s not appropriate to do.

SCHIEFFER: But you don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned?

MCCAIN: I thought it was a bad decision. I think there were a lot of decisions that were bad. I think that decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist. And I believe strongly that we should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications rather than any litmus test. Now, let me say that there was a time a few years ago when the United States Senate was about to blow up. Republicans wanted to have just a majority vote to confirm a judge and the Democrats were blocking in an unprecedented fashion.

We got together seven Republicans, seven Democrats. You were offered a chance to join. You chose not to because you were afraid of the appointment of, quote, “conservative judges.”

I voted for Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg. Not because I agreed with their ideology, but because I thought they were qualified and that elections have consequences when presidents are nominated. This is a very important issue we’re talking about.

Senator Obama voted against Justice Breyer and Justice Roberts on the grounds that they didn’t meet his ideological standards. That’s not the way we should judge these nominees. Elections have consequences. They should be judged on their qualifications. And so that’s what I will do.

I will find the best people in the world — in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench.

SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone — even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.

For a Republican, that was an excellent answer. As we know, McCain is hamstrung by the religious right’s chokehold on his Party, and constrained to proclaim he wants Roe v. Wade overturned. But note how he brings up specific instances in which he voted for liberal justices because they were qualified, and states firmly that there will be NO litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee. Remember, the Senate must confirm anyone that McCain, as President, would nominate. If that august body chooses to nominate someone who is determined to overturn Roe v. Wade, then the Senate bears that responsibility.

But I believe it’s a moot point, since the Supreme Court has had the ability to overturn Roe v. Wade for years and has not done so. As Bush has clearly illustrated, the next wave of pushing against reproductive rights will come through Congress. Again, if our CongressCritters refuse to stand up to it, then they must answer for their own craven spinelessness. 

Here was Obama’s answer.

OBAMA: Well, I think it’s true that we shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test and the most important thing in any judge is their capacity to provide fairness and justice to the American people.

And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance (emphasis mine).

Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided. I think that abortion is a very difficult issue and it is a moral issue and one that I think good people on both sides can disagree on.

But what ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision (emphasis mine). And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote.

OBAMA: So this is going to be an important issue. I will look for those judges who have an outstanding judicial record, who have the intellect, and who hopefully have a sense of what real-world folks are going through.

Didja catch that, ladies? First the veiled threat about Roe v. Wade, which events in the past eight years have proven to be fearmongering of the most despicable type. Then, Obama assumes that before making a decision about our own bodies and our own babies, we naturally “consult with” an entire committee of people. Does he actually know anyone who’s had to deal with this choice? (At least he has finally realized that some women are not Christian! Mr. Sensitivity has substituted the words “religious advisers” for the more exclusive word “pastors.”)

It never occurs to Senator Obama that women can make these decisions without “consulting with” anyone. It never occurs to Senator Obama that some women would not dream of going to any religious figures to ask whether or not to get an abortion, because some women are atheists or agnostic, or know that their “religious advisors” would not support them in their decision. (DUUUUHHHH.) And it never occurs to Senator Obama that some women are pregnant BY members of their families, and that going to their families would be the LAST thing they would do in that case. Anyone who is at all familiar with the attempts by the religious right to try to force women to get the consent of their parents before getting an abortion, would be aware of that fact. (Double DUUUUUHHHHHH.)

But here’s the worst part. Let’s pretend Obama is right about Roe v. Wade, and that it does ZOMG “hang in the balance.” Where is his pledge to protect it this legislation, which is so important to him? He said very clearly that there is NO LITMUS TEST for his judicial appointments.

Chew on that, Obama apologists. Roe v. Wade has just as good a chance of being overturned under President Obama as it does under President McCain because there is NO LITMUS TEST.

Well, Barack darling, you’ll find there are a lot of decisions women can make all by themselves. And you’ll see how we decide on Election Day.

Oh, and one more thing:

What Joseph Cannon said.

Cross-posted at Partizane and The Confluence

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19 responses to “Ladies, Are You Sure You Can Pull That Lever All By Yourself?

  1. OMGIAMGOINGNUTS

    Awesome article.
    Glad I ran across your blog.

  2. Basically, we are screwed if obama is elected…..Mexico is looking pretty good to me right now.

  3. I think you’re making a mistake in assuming that politicians running for president are ever 100% sincere in what they say.

    Obama knows a woman can and often does make a decision by herself. Of course he does. He’s not a moron.

    But he also doesn’t want to lose this election.

    In order to be a successful politician, you have to lie a little and you have to say things you don’t 100% believe in because you know if you tell the actual truth you will alienate people who will help you win.

    If Obama had said, “Abortion is absolutely a woman’s choice and absolutely no one should be consulted in the decision,” I can guarantee you his 8-point lead would drop away within seconds.

    Abortion is a hotly contested issue, and whether you are anti-abortion or pro-choice, if you want to be president, you have to be very careful about the way you phrase things so as to vaguely get across your point while specifically doing as much as you can not to alienate the opposition.

    This, I also believe, is why Obama and Biden say they are not in favor of gay marriage. I have no evidence for this, of course, but I believe they are in favor of it; however they know most of America isn’t enlightened yet, and if they say they are in favor of it now (when only three states out of 50 allow it), they will lose the election.

    This is just politicians trying to win an election. I think you’re reading too much into it.

  4. Ubuntucat – What about the fact that he refuses to say that he will protect Roe v. Wade as President? That’s clear enough. The litmus test should be “no overturn of Roe v. Wade.”

    [cricket cricket cricket]

    Not only is this an unacceptable stance for a Democrat (the “safe, legal and rare” frame should never have been discarded), but he has done NOTHING to fight against Bush’s latest push against birth control and womens’ reproductive freedom (I linked to it in my post.) He signed Hillary’s letter, but she and Patty Murray are the ONLY ONES fighting it.

    So let’s review. He won’t pledge to protect Roe v. Wade, and he won’t fight Bush when he attempts to drastically restrict a woman’s access to health care and the anti-pregnancy pill. And he has repeatedly stated this idea that a woman is “consulting” with others prior to making her decision. And do I really have to go into all the misogyny that has characterized his campaign? Or have you been asleep for the past 18 months?

    Yes, he ABSOLUTELY means what he says. If you choose to ignore that and vote for him anyway, that’s your decision and I respect it, of course.

    I can’t help but thinking that you’re making a faith-based decision rather than a fact-based one, however.

  5. McCain:
    SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone — even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?

    MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.

    that is: no litmus test, but anyone who support Roe v. Wade would be unqualified.

    Obama:OBAMA: Well, I think it’s true that we shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test and the most important thing in any judge is their capacity to provide fairness and justice to the American people.

    And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance.

    Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided

    That is: no litmus test but if you think Roe v. Wade was wrong, your judicial philosophy is wrong.

    Obama: And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn’t be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote.

    McCain cites Scalia and Thomas as his model SC justices and Obama cites Ruth Ginsberg as his model.

    And the followup was also revealing. Obama brought up the Lily Ledbetter case, and McCain says:

    MCCAIN: Obviously, that law waved the statute of limitations, which you could have gone back 20 or 30 years. It was a trial lawyer’s dream.

    That’s McCain’s judicial philosophy. The law says you cannot discriminate in pay. The company hides its discrimination for years. The employee discovers the problem and sues. The Supremes write a new law that says Congress intended for the statute of limitations to depend on the day the violation happened, not the day the victim discovered it. And McCain applauds.

  6. Rootless-e –

    We are never going to agree on this, or anything else regarding Obama and his position towards women. Anyone who thinks Obama has the slightest regard for women and women’s rights is fooling him or herself, in my opinion.

    Please just move on.

    Thanks.

  7. My bottom line isn’t Roe v Wade but health care…I just voted absentee for McCain not because I think he will do anything for health care but because I don’t believe that health care will be accomplished under either candidate…Obama is and has always been a “do nothing” type candidate and he has no courage at all of his convictions like Hillary does about Health Care so those of you who are voting for Obama for that reason get set to be disappointed IMO if he is elected….I am in a unique position because of some really bad health and have recently made the decision to not have any more heart surgery to try to prolong life as it is taking money away from my spouse for his hopeful long term life…At some point you just cannot afford to do any more….Enough is enough and in this America, I flat out cannot afford to continue the enormous cost of trying to continue my life….So my bottom line is I have to die because I can no longer afford to live…That might sound depressing to alot of you but to me it is realistic…

  8. Or have you been asleep for the past 18 months?

    Yes, he ABSOLUTELY means what he says. If you choose to ignore that and vote for him anyway, that’s your decision and I respect it, of course.

    I can’t help but thinking that you’re making a faith-based decision rather than a fact-based one, however.

    There’s no need for personal attacks here, even if this is your blog. You have a right defend yourself, naturally, but you don’t have to insult me.

    I don’t have a lot of faith in Obama. But then again I don’t have a lot of faith in any successful politician. If you go back and read my comment again without the assumption that I believe Obama is a man of great character, you’ll see that the main gist of my comment is that successful politicians say what they need to say in order to get elected.

    Obama is not the great savior of women. But neither is McCain. And right now those look like the only two candidates who can win this election. Voting against Obama is voting for McCain. So unless you can make the case that McCain is going to save Roe v. Wade, I don’t think it matters whether Obama is definitely going to save it or not. It’s a choice between definitely would overturn Roe v. Wade if able to (McCain) v. probably won’t overturn it but there’s a possibility (Obama). So bashing Obama doesn’t really help in this case, regardless of what you think about his character or his policies.

    The old adage about voting for the lesser of two evils definitely applies to this and just about every presidential election I’ve seen.

    I’d have loved for Dennis Kucinich to win, but that ship has long sailed…

  9. Ubuntucat – Neither Obama nor McCain will overturn Roe v. Wade. But Obama refuses to protect it. And he refuses to fight the HHS ruling that I mentioned twice now.

    So, your view of the question is different from mine. And I think you are ignoring evidence in favor of faith that Obama doesn’t mean what he says.

    I think the choice is clear between Obama and McCain. And yes, it is indeed the lesser of two evils. For me, it’s McCain with a Democratic Majority, and for you, it’s Obama with a Democratic Majority.

    We shall see.

  10. I’m not denying Obama has refused to protect it, but I don’t see how voting for McCain protects it, either.

    In fact, you seem to take McCain’s statement about no litmus test at face value when he clearly said at the end of his statement that anyone who supports Roe v. Wade would be unqualified in his opinion.

    You seem to think I’m saying Obama is good. I’m not saying Obama is good. I’m just saying that finding faults with Obama shouldn’t necessarily lead you to overlook faults in McCain.

    This is like saying you can’t find someone to properly fireproof your house, so you’ll go find an arsonist instead.

    Obama is for Roe v. Wade. He hasn’t sworn to protect it, but he’s for it. McCain is against Roe v. Wade. So if you want Roe v. Wade protected, you’re screwed either way, but it absolutely makes no sense to vote for someone is dead-set against it.

  11. Ubuntucat, you are missing my point entirely, whether deliberately or not.

    I was quite clear that I do not believe Roe v. Wade will be overturned by either Obama or McCain. I have made this point several times.

    I don’t care if you disagree with me, but at this point, you are just chattering mindlessly.

    Later.

  12. Roe v Wade is not the only issue of interest to women in this election. Obama claims to be for equal pay, but in fact he pays his female staffers on 83 cents to the male staffers’ dollar. McCain is the one who practices pay equity; in fact, his female staffers average slightly more in pay than the male. Plus McCain has women in much higher positions in greater numbers than Obama.

    Kind of like how Mr. “Oh, I’m sure he really supports gay marriage” Obama employs anti-gay activists on his campaign. And I should believe his assurances that he supports gay rights exactly why?

    Another excellent post, MadamaB!

  13. Neither one of these candidates or parties gives a rats behind about women’s issues. Roe v. Wade is not going to be over turned and they are so blind they think we live in fear of that and only that.

    I fear that domestic violence will never been seen as a serious enough issue to call it a crisis, which it IS.

    I fear that women and men will NEVER ban together and march in the streets carrying signs to protest five thousand “honor” killings every single year around the world, even in “western” countries. It isn’t seen as the horrific practice it truly is, it isn’t seen as “bad” as ANY war and why is that? Is it because it’s women’s lives been lost exclusively?

    I am tired of these and so many OTHER issues to do with women’s rights getting ignored.

    Senator Obama’s campaign cheated in every single caucus state. He cheated us out of a possible voice and that is a shame because had he not done that I would have supported him had he won fair and square. But by doing this he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt what he thinks of women, their issues, their hopes for the future.

    McCain may be the lessor of two evils only for being a “moderate”

    What a hell of a choice this is…speaking of “choice” This entire primary and G.E. is turning in to the biggest silencing of choice I’ve ever seen in my life time and precious little understanding of the loss of that voice is going on at all.

    Roe is over. When can we move on?

  14. MadamaB, you’re wrong about McCain not being able to overturn Roe. Read this.

  15. Ames,

    And just how will McCain get those anti-choice, Roe-overturning justices onto the court without the Democratic Senate confirming them?

    [cricket cricket cricket]

    Your entire post is based on a faulty premise. But with all the anti-PUMA bullshit and craziness you are spouting on your blog, I can hardly be surprised by that.

    Have a lovely day.

  16. Here’s the thing. Most Justices slip under the radar fairly easily, even when it’s obvious that the White House has the finger on the scales when it comes to abortion. Justice Roberts – whom EVERYONE knew was out to tank Roe – slipped under the radar of a largely Democratic Congress, and was confirmed by a supermajority.

    Hillary Clinton and (guess who?) Barack Obama were two of the very few dissenting voices.

    Congress is a pack of lawyers, but they’re also a pack of fairly moderate lawyers. A Democratic Senate will also largely turn on moderate Democrats, who’ll either be purposefully or accidentally non-vigilant.

    That said, I’ll give it to you that it’s *only* 75%/25% that a hypothetical President McCain would be able to pass a conservative judge under the radar. The question for you, then, is whether you’re willing to take a 25% chance that McCain will have no negative effect on the right to choose, or whether you’d prefer to elect a guy who’ll have a 100% chance of making significant progress on reproductive rights.

    I’m happy to talk to you about this civilly here, or on my blog, where I am prone to spouting 🙂

  17. Oh, let’s not forget the lower courts either. The lower federal judiciary is hugely significant too, just by virtue of the fact that SCOTUS takes few petitions for certiorari these days. And those are practically unreviewed (except by people like Joe Biden!). The President tends to get his/her way on lower court judges.

    Trust me, as a soon-to-be-lawyer, the prospect of a fully Republican lower federal bench, when we’re already more than halfway there, is terrifying. I really wish more people would realize the affect that the federal judiciary has on substantive rights.

  18. Ames,

    I appreciate your civil tone, but I am not interested in discussing this with you. There is no point. I will not change your mind, and you will not change mine. I have said this repeatedly on my blog, but here it is again:

    Let’s agree to disagree.

    Your vote for Barack Obama does not make you a bad person. My protest vote for McPalin does not make me a bad person. We both have goals that we are trying to accomplish. We are both doing what we think is right. I could be wrong, or you could be wrong. But we can only do what we can do in the moment, given the information we have.

    By the way, if you genuinely do not know, the 30% Solution consists of voting for women of all political stripes in order to reach a critical mass of 30% women, 70% men in the federal government. It is a proven fact that once this critical mass is reached, womens’ issues, like reproductive rights, a better work-life balance, constitutional protections, and other crucial advances begin to happen. In America, we are at about 18% women, 82% men.

    Because of the 30% Solution, I was going to vote McKinney/Clemente, but since McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP, I am more comfortable voting that ticket, since it will be a more effective way of stopping Barack Obama.

    Good luck, and thanks for stopping by.

  19. Ames – You are now making things up that I never said. I do not see how your spinning and misinterpretation help either one of us, or the readership of the blog.

    The 30% Solution is the beginning, not the end. And it is fact-based, not faith-based. There was a U.N. study done on it very recently.

    The study found a high correlation between the number of elected women and legislation related to women’s issues, including agriculture services, day care and street lighting for security. It also cited British research that women turned out in higher numbers to vote in elections when there was a female candidate.

    I have every right to state my beliefs on Roe v. Wade. I certainly do not have to be an attorney to do so. And you are ignoring a giant part of what I said on reproductive rights.

    I believe that both parties use Roe v. Wade as a wedge issue to divide women and keep them from realizing that the real fight is taking place in Congress. The Democrats have disgracefully joined the Republicans in refusing to fight the recent HHS proposal to declare birth control as an abortifacient and allowing health care providers to refuse it for religious reasons. This would prevent women from receiving birth control when they request it. Only Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray are truly fighting this decree in the Senate.

    I see both parties refusing to do the most rudimentary things to protect my rights as a citizen. Where is the ERA? Why hasn’t it been ratified?

    I am voting the 30% Solution because I KNOW IT WORKS.

    Now please, let it go. You do not have the right to use my blog as a forum for your propaganda. That’s what your blog is for.