Every now and then, pro-lifers need to step back and reassess the effectiveness of their tactics. Laura Ingraham Show associate producer Dustin Siggins offers just such a critique at leading conservative blog Hot Air. His advice is well worth considering, though not every point hits home.First, he suggests eschewing mandatory ultrasound laws in favor of restrictive medical standards like Mississippi recently passed:
[U]ltrasound legislation can be deemed as guilting mothers into not aborting their children or invading personal privacy. However, it is more difficult to argue against raising the standards of medical clinics so that women have a more sterile, more professional environment in which to be treated. Yes, the left will still attack these standards, as the owner of the abortion clinic in Mississippi has, but the inherent controversy will be far less.Clinic standards may very well have more strategic potential than ultrasound laws, but we should be careful not to fall into the habit of letting our foes define the terms of the debate. Conceding by silence that mandatory ultrasounds are demeaning to women or any more invasive of privacy than the abortion itself will only embolden the pro-aborts. If you give ‘em an inch…
It’s part of the fabric of America to support traditional marriage and that being between one man and one woman. I led the charge back in the mid 2000′s in Texas when we passed a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, passed by 75%, that’s rather overwhelming. But I do respect a state’s right to have a different opinion and take a different tact if you will, California did that. I respect that right, but our founding fathers also said, ‘listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the constitution here’s the way you do it’. It takes three quarters of the states deciding that this is important, it goes forward and it becomes an amendment to the United States Constitution. I support that for issues that are so important, I think, to the soul of this country and to the traditional values which our founding fathers, on the issue of traditional marriage I support the federal marriage amendment.
Why would you want an amendment in a case where you respect a state’s right to have a different opinion? The touchstone for an amendment, I would think, is when you don’t respect that right because a particular state’s legislative preference would lead to grievous harm. Slavery is the paradigm example; abortion, arguably, is another. If you can look at your opponent’s position and say, “I see your point but I think you’re wrong,” that should take the amendment option off the table and put you back in Tenth Amendment territory. Federalism is “part of the fabric of America” too, after all; as a wise man once said, “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Perry’s arguing, I guess, that this experiment is simply too dangerous to conduct — except, actually, he never does say that it’s dangerous. He just says it’s contrary to “traditional values,” a standard that would prohibit “novel social experiments” altogether. And the kicker is that he’s couching his argument in terms of Article V, which is the most “non-traditional” part of the Constitution insofar as it lets future generations change the law as opinions change. Well, opinions are changing. Why use Article V to stop it if you can’t articulate some sort of overweening harm?
UPDATE: Speaking of libertarians and social issues, Ann Coulter nukes Ron Paul and company along similar lines, in a column so good we’ll let slide her misguided infatuation with Chris Christie:
Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions when it suits their purposes by pretending to be Randian purists, but are perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers’ obligations under Medicare and Social Security.
If they could only resist sucking up to Rolling Stone-reading, status-obsessed losers, they’d probably be interesting to talk to.
In my book “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America,” I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They’re called “libertarians.”