It has been fascinating to watch Andrew Sullivan, a conservative turned Trump-deranged progressive during from about 2015 on, express his rising dismay at his adopted “side’s” drift to totalitarianism as it uses lies as metaphorical oars in the stream of public opinion.. Sullivan is too emotional to be a reliable pundit, but he’s smart and writes like an angel. His current essay about how Democrats and progressives have abandoned even the pretense of rationality is instructive.
He also mounts an impressive list of ridiculous statements by abortion fans and supposedly trustworthy progressive commentators that are signature significance. Nobody should trust people who say or write garbage like this. Ever. Here are some of Andrew’s gems, only some of which I had stumbled over earlier (the comments in parentheses are mine, not Sullivan’s):
Roxane Gay tweeted:“I have typed and deleted a great many comments What do you say when nine people can dictate what happens to your body? It’s ridiculous and hateful.” [That is not, of course, what a reversal of Roe would mean, but disinformation has always been at the heart of the “pro-choice” position.]
“The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer announced that the court had abolished the entire 20th century. Yep: no more suffrage for women! Jim Crow now!”
Jessica Valenti: “Stripping women of their humanity and rights isn’t a consequence of the ‘pro-life’ agenda, it’s the entire point.”
The Washington Post’s now thoroughly insane Jennifer Rubin: “The right-wing justices and their supporters appear ready to reject one of the Founders’ core principles: that religion shall not be imposed by government edict.” (The smear that opposing Roe constitutes a religious edict is truly despicable, and a lot of abortion fans are stooping to it.)
Kurt Andersen another one:“It really is kind of remarkable that only one in five Americans call themselves Catholic, but of the Supreme Court majority apparently about to permit abortion to be outlawed, all but one are Catholic and that one was raised Catholic.”
Kamala Harris (who supports her adversary’s position every time she tries to counter it, whatever the topic) was, predicably, Kamala-like:
Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. Well we say, ‘How dare they?’ How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?
To this and more, Sullivan observes,
The premise here is that all women support abortion rights. But there is no serious gender gap on this question. In fact, a majority of “pro-lifers” are women, not men. So Harris is effectively saying: how dare women be allowed a voice in this debate?
Within minutes of the SCOTUS leak, moreover, we were told it means that before long, interracial marriages will be banned … in a country where 94 percent support them! Imagine Clarence Thomas divorcing himself by jurisprudence….What strikes me most in these takes is the underlying contempt for and suspicion of the democratic process — from many of the same people who insist they want to save it. How dare voters have a say on abortion rights! The issue — which divides the country today as much as it has for decades — is one that apparently cannot ever be put up for a vote. On this question, Democrats really do seem to believe that seven men alone should make that decision — once, in 1973.
Of course Sullivan, being Sullivan, has to ring the obligatory “a pox on both their houses” bell lest he risk being tagged as Republican or a conservative by his LGBTQ peer group. “The emotive hyperbole [is] par for the course in a country where every discourse is now dialed to eleven,” he writes. In fact, Democrats and progressives have lapped the other side of the political spectrum and some since November 2016, and it would be ennobling if Sullivan had the courage and integrity to admit it. But he doesn’t. Too bad.
He also repeats a current bit of spin and misinformation that the Left has been bellowing this week. “If you look at polling, there is very little support in America for a total ban — let alone one that doesn’t make exceptions for rape and incest, ” he writes. “Gallup’s polling suggests that a whopping 80 percent of Americans want to keep abortion legal, either entirely (32 percent) or with some restrictions (48 percent). Only 18 percent want it banned entirely — a position many Republicans are now forced to take. That should be a Democratic dream!”
1. Well,you know, polls.
2. That’s one way of looking at it.
3. It buries the real polling revelations.
Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney points out that on both the issues of , Mississippi’s abortion law (banning abortions after 15 weeks, contrary to Roe) and the substance of Roe v. Wade itself, the draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito represents the majority view of the public:
Begin with the law in question here: Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. A very recent YouGov poll on abortion found that 21% would ban all abortions, an additional 20% would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected (six weeks), another 13% would ban them after the first trimester (13 weeks), and an additional 10% would ban abortion after 15 weeks — which is what Mississippi does.
Add it together, and it means that 64% of people in the United States believe Mississippi’s law is either the right call or too liberal on abortion. To uphold this law is to side with the opinion of nearly two-thirds of America on abortion policy.
Would Andrew’s description give you that impression?
On the matter of abortion itself, Carney writes,
A poll on Roe and the Supreme Court from YouGov… asked whether the federal government or the state governments should set abortion law, and opinions were fairly split — leaning 44% to 36% in favor of the federal government setting it. Of those who said the federal government should set abortion policy, only 24% said that within the federal government, the judicial branch “is best suited to deciding on abortion’s legality.” Combine those last two questions, and that’s 24% of 44% (about 11%) of the country that believes the Supreme Court should be setting abortion policy. Only that blue slice in the poll below sides with Roe on the constitutional question.
Carney concludes, “So why do so many people tell pollsters they think Roe shouldn’t be overturned? It’s because most people don’t understand Roe and don’t understand that overturning it returns the issue to lawmakers and the states.”
And Democrats, the news media and abortion fanatics want to keep as many people confused and furious as possible.
Leftists, if they could only snap out of their disdain for democracy, can make a powerful case for moderation on this issue against right-extremism. To do that, of course, they will have to back some restrictions on abortion in some states — which some seem very reluctant to do — and even allow some diversity of opinion within their own ranks. There are forces aiming to prevent that — forces that Biden could confront if he hadn’t long been beaten into learned helplessness. But surely someone can take the initiative.
So let’s stop the hyperventilation and get back to democracy. Persuade people, if you can. Get them out to vote. Stop demonizing those you disagree with and compromise with them in office, however difficult that may be. What Roe did was kickstart the extreme cultural polarization that has defined and blighted the last few decades of American politics. Maybe the end of Roe can mark the beginning of a return to living together, and negotiating a way to make that bearable.