In 1992, the first time a Clinton ran for a first term as president, the mantra was “The Economy, Stupid,” coined by James Carville.
In 2016, the economy, a wheezing, foaming horse that’s been beat to death since 2008’s collapse, is under every candidate’s whip, but it’s not the mantra this time around.
Donald Trump is running on a hard-line America first platform, with strict immigration enforcement, trade equality and projection of American power abroad as his magnet to those disaffected by the last eight years of hopey-changeyness.
But the mantra this time is going to be “It’s abortion, stupid.” And more than any other candidate, Dr. Ben Carson needs to drill that into his head.
Every candidate is making their stand: for, against, or riding the fence. Even Hillary Clinton isn’t stupid enough to #StandWithPP in the face of the Center for Medical Progress’ damning videos of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, including “intact cadavers” (implying this could include born-alive babies). Clinton has called for a broad investigation of the abortion provider after calling the videos “disturbing.”
Senators [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] are both solidly pro-life, with Rubio taking some hits from the left by suggesting even rape and incest exceptions are too much to concede to those who favor abortion. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] is also a stalwart friend of pro-life supporters, although Paul is sticking to the old mantra “The Economy, Stupid” (which may explain why his finances are flagging, and his campaign is in shambles).
Nailing Trump down on abortion is like sticking Jell-O to a wall, and he’s flipped more times on the issue than an Olympic gymnast, as Carly Fiorina pointed out for us.
But the most troubling remarks on the Republican side have come from Dr. Carson.
Speaking with Fox News host Neil Cavuto Thursday, Carson said that women who are victims of rape or incest should go to an emergency room, where the abortifacient drug RU486 could be administered. This isn’t a surprising view from a medical doctor—a man trained in clinical solutions to health issues. But abortion is far more than a clinical issue.
When Cavuto questioned Carson on whether life begins at conception, Carson gave a clinical answer which really avoids the larger question entirely.
“Certainly once the heart starts beating,” Carson said. “If we are willing to open up the discussion to both sides, I think we can come to an accommodation.” This is a total waffle on the actual issue of abortion.
A baby’s heart starts beating after 18 days. That’s 2 and a half weeks. Most women don’t find out they are pregnant for at least 4 to 6 weeks. First, they’re “late” on their menstrual period, then they may have first trimester signs like nausea. Then they take a pregnancy test.
A victim of sexual trauma who goes to an emergency room and wants a “Plan B” (levonorgestrel) drug to ensure she doesn’t get pregnant should have that option—we don’t know if she’s pregnant or has conceived at that point, and it’s no different than many other forms of birth control, none of which have a 100 percent success rate.
But a woman who realizes she’s actually pregnant and wants an abortion, after a sexual assault or incestuous relationship, has waited a number of weeks before making her “health” decision. Why wait? I hear all these reasons like emotional trauma, and those are valid—but I don’t think Carson was talking about that very small population of women.
I think Carson was covering for a clinical approach to abortion which treats it like a number of other medical problems: there’s a medical or surgical solution available, and those should be weighed against the wishes of the patient. Now I don’t think Carson advocates late-term abortions, or even abortions after 20 weeks when the baby could be viable, and I don’t think he advocates surgical abortions where the baby is violently suctioned from the womb.
But Carson does advocate early term abortions and abortifacient drugs, and wants to “open up the discussion” meaning that he’s not against taking a life growing inside the mother. If rape and incest are such a small percentage of abortions, the only discussion Carson could mean is elective abortions that the mother wants for other reasons.
And once that discussion is open, all we’re arguing over is how many weeks into an unborn baby’s life it is denied the basic protection of personhood. Carson is a good man, but no flesh and blood person on Earth has the right to have that discussion. Even Barack Obama, as a presidential candidate, didn’t answer that question. He said it’s “above my pay grade.”
And that’s from the most pro-abortion president ever to sit in the oval office.
As much as I like Carson’s approach to common-sense solutions to government issues, as much as I like his wit and humility, as much as I admire his brilliance and intelligence, this clinical approach to abortion is troubling, even disturbing.
In a race which may be largely defined by the mantra “It’s abortion, stupid,” I’m afraid there’s not enough wiggle room for Carson’s waffling answer, and because of that, I (and many pro-life organizations) cannot support him as a candidate.
(crossposted from sgberman.com)