If Sen. Barack Obama thinks there is anything he can say or do to appease the extreme far-right on abortion, he should be disabused of that notion today. The radical Christian Defense Coalition has launched a campaign entitled "Barack Obama: The Abortion President" featuring a poster with Obama’s face in a traditional Uncle Sam pose with the tagline "I Want You to Pay For Abortions."
The Christian Defense Coalition, run by the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, formerly of Operation Resuce, is known for doing things to "shock people" reports David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. Mahoney campaigned to get the Rev. Rick Warren to un-invite Sen. Obama from speaking at Warren’s Evangelical Saddleback Church. CDC rose to prominence trying to get Congress, the Courts, the Florida legislature and anyone else who had power to keep Terri Schiavo forever in a persistent vegetative state. They use language like "brutalizing women and children" to describe what should be a private medical decision between a woman and her doctor.
In other words, CDC and Mahoney have been on the wrong side of American voters on Schiavo, the very popular (among Evangelicals) Rick Warren, and uses language and creates media "events" for shock value.
Those tactics may work with the most extreme fringe of the anti-choice movement, but they are severely out of touch with the politics of the day, and the reason voters are seeking a change from politics as usual. These tactics of are even turning off many younger Evangelicals.
David Brody writes on his blog,
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This is Obama’s challenge with Evangelicals. He can talk about the
social justice issues all he wants and yes, it resonates to a certain
extent but unless he moves on abortion (not likely) he’ll have a
problem. If he shows some support for parental notification laws or
the annual fetal pain bill that moves through Congress then that will
help insulate him to a degree on the extremist abortion tag.
The bigger issue here for the Obama campaign is just how widespread
and vocal pro-life groups may end up being on this issue. Obama can’t
afford the extreme liberal tag and if these groups continue to pound
home the abortion theme, it doesn’t fit the narrative that Obama needs
to be successful.
Brody is wrong, and this "shocking" campaign is not intended to get Obama to change his position on abortion, or Terri Schiavo, or on any other far-right issue. People like Mahoney make their livings by dividing people and trying to keep voters from understanding that education, contraception and prevention are the best ways to reduce unintended pregnancies — policies that many people in both parties support.
This effort is intended to rally the far-right base, the very extreme fringe of the anti-choice movement. The fact they have to resort to tactics like this underscores just how disenchanted the anti-choice community really is in this election cycle.