Nick Kristof today says it’s Hillary Clinton that gets it, today. He starts out saying that her recent one-liners on abortion are the correct position to win heartland voters, while claiming that 61% of Americans favor tighter restrictions on abortion and only 36% support the current position. He also says that her one-liner on prayer resonates with 60% of Americans who pray every day. But at the end, he says she’ll never get elected because she’s a liberal feminist (?)
I don’t believe Hillary Clinton will ever get elected President. At least not unless she’s the Jimmy Carter left to pick up scraps from a Watergate level fiasco we all think is coming from the Bush administration, but which never does.
And it will take more than her well distributed quotes to make this message stick; people associate Hillary with feminism–even lesbianism–and a few comments seen as brazen political positioning will not do the trick.
This has to be one of the worst columns I’ve read from in a while. First of all, the statistics presented by Kristof are highly misleading. 60% of Americans say they pray daily because 60% feel they should. I’m sure the real number is much lower; just like those who claim they watch PBS, or do any other thing they think they should. Second, his statistics on abortion are misleading, because a majority fluctuating anywhere from 55 to 66% favor legal abortion. “Tighther restrictions” really are meaningless in a national poll, since different states have different restriction either de jure or de facto, and most people have no idea about this anyway.
Even if that were misleading, and even if we weren’t talking about abortion, which is truly a complicated subject, imagine a major national columnist endorsing the following position 150 years ago:
The Republicans’ position on slavery doesn’t play well in the South. Radical abolitionists from liberal cities like Boston and Philadelphia are not acceptable to the voters in the South and the extra 3/5th electoral oomph they get from their slaves. In order to win the election, we must moderate our position on slavery.
Absurd, right? You’d be right to say abortion isn’t slavery, and that’s true. The point, however, is that when you have a principle that you believe in, you shouldn’t sell it out just to win, because when you win on those grounds you lose.
This kind of electoral “logic” claim makes me even more certain that Democrats simply must do better about their message, and quit trying to win a game stacked against them by a faustian bargain.
I believe in legal abortion. I believe in social security. And most important to me, in a clean environment. These things may or may not be as important as slavery, but I don’t think the thing to do is to moderate on these positions. It looks weak. Let them moderate.