Once in a while, not often, you stumble across a statement or quote from some person of prominence that startles, cuts through the fog, and smashes your mind against the wall of reality, a reality that you really did not want to acknowledge.
I had this sensation while reading a recent blog entry on Huffingtonpost.com by the truly creative, often hilarious, screenwriter (Sleepless in Seattle), Nora Ephron.
Ephron was commenting on her favorite part of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention in which the Senator “admonished her followers not to put their affection for her over the issues…When she reproved them for thinking for even a moment that her historic thrilling campaign was more important that the real campaign to defeat the Republicans.”
“Where any of her followers could have gotten the idea doesn’t seem to have crossed her mind,” said Ephron. “The fish stinks from the head.”
Ephron deftly skewers the Clintons’ “narcissism…which perfumed every bit of Hillary’s campaign.” She thought Hillary’s funniest line was “Were you in it for me[?]”
All of this was great fun to read and classic Nora Ephron. But at the end of this piece, Ephron slams Hillary Clinton for “never once mentioning choice.”
“She never once said the truth, which is that any Hillary supporter who doesn’t understand this issue alone is the reason to vote for Obama has no business pretending to be a Democrat,” blogs Ephron.
So it’s all about abortion. It is this issue “alone” (italics added) that is the moral imperative for voting for Barack Obama. Forget about Iraq, gas prices, the environment, health care. Focus on 1.2 million abortions per year.
Ephron represents a segment of the Democratic Party that seems to view abortion as the alpha and omega of American politics. Is this what it means to be a Democrat in 2008? Forget about those traditional Labor Democrats, urban Catholics, Baptists and other traditional constituencies, many of them strong supporters of Senator Clinton in the primary elections.
Imagine: Hillary Clinton squishy on abortion!
As I said, Nora Ephron’s austere reductionism, in calling abortion the major determinant in voting for Barack Obama, is startling. It is also a measure of the intensity of a focused, dedicated wing of the Democratic Party that has managed to pull this venerable political institution far to the left on an issue as fundamental to human liberty as is the right to life.
Having grown up urban, Catholic, and an Irish-German Republican (my paternal grandfather became a Republican during the New Deal years), most of my social circle, and a fair bit of my family, were all Democrats. Most of them were and are appalled by the nation’s abandonment of unborn children. Many were active in grassroots efforts to protect the unborn, both politically and through the provision of moral and material support. They may not have had much use for skinflint Republicans, at least non-relations, but abortion was beyond the Pale.
But times, as they say, change. Or at least some politicians do. Once pro-life Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Dick Gephardt and, yes, Al Gore, all succumbed to the Zeitgeist of extreme reaches of the Democratic Party.
There remain a few stalwart congressmen and women in the party who defend the unborn and a hardy remnant called Democrats for Life of America. Nora Ephron believes they have “no business pretending to be a Democrat.”
Here’s hoping they don’t much care what she thinks.