She noted that most of these women are instinctive Democrats. They support social spending. They oppose Bush's war. They do not feel at home in the Republican party, but still hold their nose and make the switch. Hennerberger notes that a lot of the problem is attitude. When two-thirds of Americans favor either a complete ban or restrictions on abortions, continuing to couch any attack on "abortion rights" as a line in the sand to be defended at all costs simply sounds extreme, rigid, and out of touch. In fact, she claims the Democrats have helped Karl Rove by consistently exaggerating the threat to Roe v. Wade from the election of Bush, boosting his pro-life credentials substantially. The classic example is the sense of manufactured outage over the Carhart decision on partial birth abortion. Instead of acknowledging it as a narrow decision that does not ban all late-term abortions, Democrats jumped immediately into Chicken Little mode, decrying the end of civilization as we know it. And all this over a procedure that most voters regard (quite rightly) as little different from infanticide.
So what should the Democrats do? I do not expect them to suddenly shift gears and come out in favor of a pro-life constitutional amendment. But I do expect them to show more respect to the pro-life cause, and to the people who view abortion as one of the most important issues in the seamless culture of life. I expect less snarky comments about religious extremists and theocrats. I expect less condescension. But above all, I would like them to acknowledge that the optimal abortion rate is a zero abortion rate, and that policies should be set with such a goal in mind (even if they don't want to criminalize it). The problem is, though, if abortion is a "right", how can too much of it be "wrong"?
The person who said it best is actually Archbishop Chaput, coincidentally in an interview with Melinda Henneberger:
"You can have good Catholics who say that they’re not for the criminalization of abortion, or they want to take gradual steps toward eliminating it by convincing the public that this is a bad thing. Those are all legitimate political positions-as long as you’re really moving towards the goal of protecting unborn human life. You at least have to have the goal."I fear that unless Clinton and Obama (and the others) start paying attention, they could be in trouble in 2008, despite the plethora of advantages in other policy areas. And they would have only themselves to blame.