The fact that John McCain was prohibited from selecting Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge to be his running mate, thus making a last minute risky decision on Sarah Palin, doesn’t just tell us about John McCain’s temperament and judgment, it underscores what pro-choice people have been warning Americans about for years.
The far-right is all about control.
Control over you, your body, your private family health decisions, your ability to worship freely, your relationships, your ability to rely on scientific information and trained medical professionals. In John McCain’s case, control over his choice for running mate. As many in the media have reported, McCain was threatened with open revolt in St. Paul if he chose Lieberman or Ridge, so at the last minute, made the risky choice of Sarah Palin. Of course outwardly the story line is all about maverick soul mates finding each other in one fifteen minute conversation.
But as the GOP convention continues to unfold, it appears that the choice of Sarah Palin may also be an
intentional effort to confuse moderates by making McCain more palatable when compared to Palin who is
as extreme as possible on abortion rights; denying even rape and incest
victims the choice not to carry a violent pregnancy to term.
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In her convention speech Wednesday night, Palin didn’t once mention the reason she was chosen, to unite and energize the social conservative base. Controlling the message in front of a national prime time audience, the far-right hopes moderates and independents will be attracted to her, her story, her humor, her grit and ignore her policies.
Cindy McCain let it be known that she disagrees with Palin’s extreme views about rape and incest victims, even while affirming her "pro-life" beliefs. But Mrs. McCain seemed confused about her own position on Roe v. Wade.
After the interview CBS anchor Katie Couric said live on air (not in the transcript), "We contacted the McCain campaign to clarify Cindy McCain’s position. The campaign said that like First Lady Laura Bush, Mrs. McCain does NOT favor overturning Roe v. Wade which guarantees the right to a legal abortion."
John McCain could have picked a woman like Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) or Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) as his running mate, both vastly more experienced than Palin in foreign policy, but he is not in control of his party. The far-right wing of his party is in control of McCain.
These efforts to energize the base with an extreme choice like Palin, and Cindy McCain’s seemingly sudden conversion to supporting Roe v. Wade, is the type of political manipulation and misdirection the far-right tacticians specialize in. They believe pro-choice women are not smart enough to notice.
Let’s be clear Mrs. McCain. If you don’t think Roe should be overturned you are pro-choice. It is only through the right to legal abortion that Roe ensures, that there is a choice. Like many in the pro-choice community, you may believe in improving comprehensive sex-ed and access to contraception to reduce unintended pregnancies, and you may not choose an abortion for yourself or your family if presented with the situation. But the fact that you believe women should have the legal right, makes you pro-choice — not anti-choice.
The far-right is anti-choice. They call themselves "pro-life" because it too is a form of manipulation. The far-right wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It is why they have control of the GOP, it is why they want more control and it is why Sarah Palin, and not someone far more qualified, is on the ticket with McCain. It is also why, in the midst of two wars and a flagging economy, that suddenly all you hear about are social issues. We’ve seen this before from the far-right. It is manipulation and distraction based on misinformation.
McCain also suggested that it was the media making a big deal
of the choice issue, not the campaign. It wasn’t the media, or even
John McCain really, who chose Palin. It is clear that whoever did
force this choice on McCain did so to double-down on the base strategy
and go for broke on the issue of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Palin’s choice has dominated this convention week — McCain’s week — in St. Paul, and his personal ambition to win at all costs will be seen as his Faustian deal.
Since the announcement, the far-right has tightly controlled access to Palin, who normally would have been out doing interviews and meeting with state delegations; and even McCain canceled TV appearances, something unheard of for a man who loves the media as much as the media loves him.
Conservatives like former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and close friends of McCain like Mike Murphy, are now in open revolt. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks has been highly critical of Palin. Many Republicans are just barely able to make it through tough questioning, trying to put the best face on a pick Karl Rove said was not about governing.
If the far-right wing of the GOP can dictate to the party nominee who he must choose for his running mate, they will have no problem dictating Supreme Court Justices, Health and Human Services appointments, Food and Drug Administration appointments, US AID and other pivotal appointments that have direct impact over the lives and health of every American.
As Ben Smith reported in Politico, the Obama campaign recently started running a radio ad in seven swing states targeted at pro-choice women voters, using the McCain threat to Roe v. Wade.
Listen to the ad here.
It appears the ad was timed to make sure women understand what is really at stake.
The Obama radio ad says, "if Roe v. Wade is over turned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk."
The reality behind that truth is this:
- Before Roe v. Wade 1.2 million abortions were performed annually, overturning Roe does nothing to stop abortion, only harm women.
- Between 1970 and 1973, 350,000 women traveled to New York where abortion was legal.
- Currently at least 80,000 women outside the US each year die because of unsafe, illegal abortions, many of them already mothers leaving orphaned children behind.
The far-right may have control of the GOP, even though a Republican Majority for Choice poll, "reveals that more than 80 percent of Republicans believe that
the GOP Platform should state that members of the Party have differing
views on the issue of abortion, and that we should respectfully agree
to disagree on this issue of an individual’s freedom of choice."
Even 66 percent of self-identified "pro-life" Republicans don’t want abortion to be illegal, putting the McCain-Palin ticket, and the extremist delegates who control the GOP platform, further to the right of most conservatives.
The far-right will use manipulation and misdirection, trying to make McCain seem moderate compared to Palin, promoting Cindy McCain’s seemingly recent conversion on Roe v. Wade, and try to confuse pro-choice voters that the GOP is just a new breed of maverick.
But the far-right is in control, so there is no need for anyone to be confused about the threat to Roe v. Wade, and individual control over your life, your body, your choice.
The question in this election is: Will Americans give the far right total control in November, thus ending Roe? Or do voters really think overturning one Supreme Court decision will resolve anything when it comes to abortion, or will it simply continue the politics of divide and conquer the far-right has practiced for the past generation?
The GOP has seen a decline of 1.4 million voters in registrations this year, and yet whoever is control, since it doesn’t appear to be John McCain, just keeps moving the GOP further and further to the right.
One final question we should all ask, before turning control of the country over to anyone: Wouldn’t it be good to know who is really in control, since it appears John McCain is not? Especially if their agenda includes removing any sense of control you have over your own private medical decisions?
Related Post: The Pro-Choice First Lady Stunt, Amanda Marcotte