Tuesday, June 20

Beyond the usual suspects....


What do you bloggers use for source material offline? I think as the mid-term and Presidential elections come closer, we're going to have to read more selectively. Of course, Think Progress, Media Matters, and Crooks and Liars are the big three of the lefty blogosphere online sourcebook. WaPo and the NYFT getcha the news, and WaPo's linky love via Technorati makes it a preferred choice.

But I think we need to go beyond our own insular online world and figure out what magazines and other print outlets might yield good posts. I recently picked up the June issue of The Atlantic Monthly, and I was so impressed I think I might just subscribe I did subscribe to the print edition. Print subscribers get full access to every article online, which makes cut and paste all the easier, but even more than that I was so impressed with the analysis, subject selection, and pure blogability (yep, that's my filter for just about everything these days) of this issue, that this magazine may become a favorite foil month-to-month. The fact that it's monthly helps, too. I can hardly keep up with The New Yorker, though it comes to the house, too, and I can't imagine life without it.

The June issue of The Atlantic has a fantastic cover story on the end (gasp) of Roe v. Wade, and how, if such an event were to occur, it would decimate the Republican Party. Read up:

The current abortion drama in South Dakota provides the best predictor of what might happen if a handful of other states try to resurrect old abortion bans, or pass new ones, that fail to include exceptions for rape, incest, and serious threats to a woman’s health...

Since the South Dakota ban passed, the approval rating of the governor, Mike Rounds, has dropped by 12 percentage points, and several state legislators have announced their intention to switch parties from Republican to Democrat.
[Bwa ha ha ha. Ride the donkey, South Da-ko-ta!]

...the moment pro-choice and swing voters perceived that their own right to choose was threatened, there would be increasingly urgent demands for a federal bill protecting the early-term choice that two-thirds of the country supports. If congressional Republicans failed to respond, or insisted on trying to ban early-term abortions instead, their intransigence could set in motion a national backlash that would make the response to Roe v. Wade itself look tame.

If Roe falls in June 2007, abortion will almost certainly become the central issue in the 2008 presidential election. And Republicans are already worrying about the political fallout. “We’d be blown away in the suburbs, and you wouldn’t see another Republican president for twenty years,” a pro-choice Republican congressman recently told Roll Call.

So there’s a good chance, assuming Roe falls, that there will be a Democrat in the White House by 2009. If Congress, at that point, passed a Freedom of Choice Bill protecting early-term abortions, the president would sign it. And if Republicans attempted a filibuster, they might marginalize their party for decades to come.

Now, perish the day that we all need such a cataclysmic event to push the Republicans to the margins of electability, but hey, at this point nearly everything else has failed. The Atlantic is preaching to their choir, of course, but notice that nice photo of Alito and Roberts on the cover. The Atlantic is preaching to them, too, and don't think for an instant that the Justices are any less narcissistic than us daily-hit-count-checker bloggers. The Justices have staff to be narcissistic for them, as well. They've read this article, and will not be Roe-ing any abortion boats in a political vacuum.

A side issue: in another section The Atlantic points out that a politician's support of reproductive rights regardless of party, is in direct proportion to the number of daughters that politician has. Yeah, I kinda think that's why Laura's not out giving speeches for the right to lifers. Do you think the twins are celebate? Nah, don't go there.

I've quoted Nina Totenburg on this many times here. She said during the Roberts confirmation hearings that the overturning of Roe would be the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party apart from a return to the military draft. I've also pointed out that while some extremists and many Christian's "on the ground" feel passionately about overturning Roe, abortion is such a cash cow for the religious right that they really have a negative vested interest in "winning".

Let me put it this way. Pat Robertson and James Dobson may talk loudly about protecting the unborn. But if Roe is overturned their ability to fundraise on the issue is as good as over. And Karl Rove does not want Roe overturned. I guarantee you. Who has more power within the Republican Party, do you think? Pat in-any-sane-world-I'd-be-committed Robertson? Or Karl in-any-just-world-I'd-be-indicted Rove?

So then the question becomes do the Justices themselves give a rat's behind who is in The White House for the next 20 years? Uh, Bush vs. Gore, 2000. I think they do. I also think they get it. Perhaps more's the pity, in spite of the upheaval, it might be nice to watch the GOP poison themselves on Operation Rescue Kool-aid. But this Republican Party, Rove, DeLay, Cheney, the whole lot, are the most politically astute crooks in the history of American politics. I would not take the bet that they are stupid (or compassionate) enough to throw away power over a few unborn, unwanted, babies.

UPDATE: Shake's Sis has info on the ballot initiative against the South Dakota abortion ban.


  1. I for one do not want to push the Republicans to extinction in the elections. The NEOCONS yes, Republicans, no. The difference is like night and day. I'd like to see total reform of both parties, a Spring cleaning, if you will. But a good twelve to sixteen year haitus from majority would be welcomed for now. Something's got to give. Democrats need to find their collective spine and be democratic again!

  2. Amen to the Poetry Man (wasn't that a Phoebe Snow song?). BUT... just how much control does the wongnut wing of the GOP have, in terms of controlling all that cash? Because, let's face it, that's where the money and the on-the-ground organizing comes from. This is the same bunch that pushed all those red state anti-gay marriage amendments through in the key states that helped cost Kerry the election (beyond what he did to hurt himself).

    And, additionally, we have that little problem of the Dems not knowing what they all think about abortion themselves. Just look at Clinton.

    Off-line sources: The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones. Those are my must-read essentials.

  3. That was the *wingnut* wing. Duh.

  4. I don't believe Roe v. Wade will be completely overturned by the Supreme Court precisely because the Republican Party needs to maintain the money and votes that they get from this issue. Instead, I think what we'll see is the kind of gradual chipping-away at the rights of women that has been underway for some time now.

    It has been an effective tactic. There are many, MANY areas of this country where abortion is simply not an option because there are no clinics or doctors willing to perform them. It is sad but true that for women who live in rural areas, an overturning of Roe v. Wade will not make one iota of practical difference to them.

    Anti-abortion folks like to get hysterical about "abortion on demand," but the reality is that abortion on demand exists for only a small percentage of American women - those who live in large urban areas, have money and are well-educated. And, folks, those are the same women who have always had access to safe abortions, even in the days before Roe v. Wade. It's called a "D&C" and is even covered by health insurance if you're lucky enough, or wealthy enough to have that little perk.

    The war has shifted to the pharmaceutical front and the Dems don't seem to be too concerned with what's happening at the FDA these days.

    Supreme Court appointees can be something of a surprise as time goes by. But, the FDA is stocked with political cronies who do the Party's bidding and that scares me just as much as our current Supreme Court.

    Oh, gosh, BG. Look what you started with this issue. I'm trying to take a break and renew my spiritual self at the height of summer and now I'm all in a sweat over reproductive rights.

    Don't do this to me . . .

  5. Oh sorry AL but it is just SO HARD to leave your lovely brain alone!

    I agree that what's happening at pharmacies (and the FDA) with plan B and other reproductive issues is just as damaging. Plus the fact that there is not a positive national discussion on contraception going on...yet.

    BTW got a very nice thank you from a producer at the Atlantic so they are paying attention to the blogosphere. Whew, now I'm really glad I subscribed.

  6. Eli are you asking how Atlantic found this post? I did email it to the website only (not the mag and not any editors, just the forum page) and also there were more than a couple technorati search hits for Atlantic.com, so somebody on staff has the lovely job of searching for blog mentions. That alone says something about how the mag feels about the blogosphere. Hard to tell which one caught the fish. They're very nice over there, though, I'll say that. I can heartily recommend using Atlantic Monthly as a source, based on the back and forth emails of today.

  7. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then I hope it has the same effect as prohibition.

    I think that the Mafia will rise again, making millions of dollars smuggling pregnant woman across the border into Canada.

    Bootleg abortions.

    Who could forget Al "Coathanger" Capone?

  8. I was asking about this "offline" of which you speak.

    It sounds... quaint.

  9. Eli you just hate killing trees when you can fry a circuit, don'cha?

    Comrade there are so many differences between abortion and prohibition. Overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal throughout the country (like prohibition did alcohol), it would just throw it back to the states. That's exactly why South Dakota and Louisiana are positioning themselves as states where abortion "is" and will be illegal post-Roe. Get the magazine and read the article. It has some harrowing thoughts about abortion doctors and their patients being arrested and rape victims dying of infection post abortion. AL is right, this will be a chipping away of women's rights, and no amount of violence a'la Al Capone is going to make it better. The threat of loss of political power, however, appears to be having an strong influence.

  10. Interestingly the privileged urbanites who have access to abortion, those of which AL speaks, are also those who vote, donate money to political campaigns, and when suburban in major metropolitan areas, have tended to vote Republican from Reagan on. Taking away a privilege these folks take for granted (to the point of voting Republican) is not going to be pretty.

  11. BG: The wealthy and privileged have always had access to safe abortion. Nothing's going to change for them so I don't agree that they are suddenly going to change their voting behavior. Most Republicans mastered hypocrisy long ago. As long as they can get what they want through their clubby connections, they'll continue to vote for the party that promises to protect their wealth. To do anything else would require a massive retooling of their brains and social values.

    I don't see it happening.

    Now, I'm going back to reveling in June and the longest day of the year. (You sucked me in again)

  12. the repubs can't get rid of roe v wade- gay people just don't whip the wingnuts into a frenzy like abortion does. guess homosexuals just aren't as precious as unborn babies.

  13. The major problem I see with the abortion argument for the neocons is that it is hypocritical to save the unborn babies worldwide, only to blast them all to hell via hubris driven dreams of empire...

    Makes me want to throw up...

  14. We recently got a subscription to "The Economist" after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

    It has some very good articles.



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