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Will The Democrats Protect Choice-- Or Just Use The Issue To Bludgeon Republicans & Raise Money?

I got an e-mail from the Ohio Democrats' pathetic Senate candidate this morning, begging for money. I can't imagine a more wasteful exercise than contributing to Tim Ryan when he has no chance to win whatsoever and when so many much better Senate candidates-- like Lucas Kunce in Missouri, Tom Nelson in Wisconsin and Glenn Hurst in Iowa-- do. "I’ll be facing millionaire right-wing extremist JD Vance in the race for Ohio’s open Senate seat," he wrote. "Bring it on. But before I go any further, I need your immediate help... Now that the Supreme Court vote to overturn Roe v. Wade has been leaked, we can’t afford to let JD anywhere near the Senate. He called pregnancy from rape 'inconvenient' and said overturning Roe would be a 'victory.'... This is the big one, folks-- so let’s do this."

Ryan is the last person we need defending a woman's right to Choice. He first ran for Congress as an anti-Choice zealot. It took him forever to change his mind and even after he did, he was very defensive and-- worse-- kept it quiet for years. Now he sees the issue as a way to advance his own career. Most Ohio voters have been voting Republican but a healthy majority do not want to see Roe overturned. Is Ryan the person to convincingly make the case that this issue is important enough for supporters to vote for him rather than Vance? I doubt it.

In fact, can the Democratic Party leadership as a whole effectively make that case? Pelosi and her cronies are aggressively supporting a corrupt bag of stinking shit in south Texas, Congressman Henry Cuellar, the personification of the word "DINO" and the last House Democrat who still votes anti-Choice whenever he gets the opportunity. Last September when the Housed passed the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe, the only Democrat to vote against it was Henry Cuellar.

And yet, House Democratic leaders are working to undermine Cuellar's progressive challenger, Jessica Cisneros. Yesterday, Jim Clyburn, the House whip, headlined a get-out-the-vote rally for Cuellar in San Antonio. Clyburn seems apologetic and embarrassed to support Cuellar but he wasn't just apolgetic and embarrassed about being called out for his hypocrisy.

Party leadership’s support for Cuellar “points out the cognitive dissonance that’s going on right now,” Cisneros said. “Democratic leadership is saying one thing, the actions are showing another by supporting the last anti-choice Democrat in Congress, which is Henry Cuellar.” Cuellar did not provide comment by the time of publication.
...“With the House majority on the line,” Cisneros said, “Henry Cuellar could be the deciding vote on the future of our reproductive rights and so many other fundamental freedoms in this country. And we just can’t afford to take that risk.”
While Cisneros had outraised Cuellar by half a million dollars as of the end of March-- with $3.2 million in contributions to Cuellar’s $2.7 million-- Cuellar’s campaign has also gotten a major boost from two political action committees for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. The group’s affiliated PAC United Democracy Project spent more than $330,000 last month on ads attacking Cisneros. And the fledgling AIPAC PAC, which endorsed Cuellar in March, has spent more than $165,000 in support of his campaign since January. Along with the group Democratic Majority for Israel, AIPAC has been behind millions more in spending to attack several progressive candidates.
...While DCCC hasn’t explicitly weighed in, several of its approved vendors are working to reelect Cuellar... In 2020, former DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos supported Cuellar’s 2020 primary campaign. That cycle, he also became the first-ever Democrat to receive the Koch network’s endorsement in a federal race.
“Losing the right to choose is imminent,” Cisneros wrote in a tweet on Monday about the draft option. “Yet, Cuellar voted with Republicans against codifying #Roe.” She called for contributions to Texas abortion funds and wrote, “We have the last word on May 24.”
“I’m more than ready to start working with them to deliver on the Democratic agenda,” Cisneros told The Intercept. “I hope that Democratic Party leadership won’t stand in the way of delivering for the people here.”

The Democratic leaders can't even make the case that Cuellar is a good solid Democrat who is just wrong about Choice. He's completely corrupt and he's usually wrong on everything. ProgressivePunch overall score is "F" but that doesn't tell the story at all. He has the lowest overall voting score of any Democrat in the House across the board. Reactionary Blue Dogs Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Jim Cooper (TN) and Jim Costa (CA) all vote like Republicans but Cuellar has a worse voting record than any of them. Here's where the two parties blend into one dysfunctional mess:

Writing for the NY Times before dawn today, Peter Baker reported that "For President Biden, the threat to the landmark Roe decision represents a singular challenge as he attempts to put aside a long history of evident discomfort with the issue of abortion to transform himself into a champion of the constitutional right that may soon be erased from the law books. Over the course of a half-century in national politics, Biden has rarely been the full-throated backer of abortion rights that activists have sought, evolving from an outright critic of Roe early in his career to a seemingly reluctant and largely quiet supporter. While he has used the word 'abortion' in written statements as president, he had never spoken the word out loud since taking office until this week when the draft ruling leaked."

“If he won’t even talk about abortion (no votes or budget needed) or give us a plan he’s won’t go bold to protect us,” [Renee] Bracey Sherman, the founder and executive director of We Testify, an organization representing women who have had abortions, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“He could be out making speeches,” she added. “He could be using his executive order powers. He could deputize abortion providers to make them immune from prosecution. He could be doing anything. He could be trying. But he’s silent. And he won’t meet with us to discuss plans.”
To some extent, Biden’s reticence has reflected a broader unease among many Democratic leaders in recent years to highlight abortion rights nationally, focusing instead on specific states and districts where they are a stronger political selling point. While polls show a strong majority favor preserving Roe, they also show ambivalence about unlimited abortion rights.
...To the extent that he has discussed abortion this week, he used phrasing that was far from the preferred language of his own side. On Tuesday, he referred to “the judgment to choose to abort a child,” a wording that seemed to accept the anti-abortion argument that it is a child, not merely a fetus, that is aborted.
...Biden, a practicing Roman Catholic, has struggled with the issue over the years. A former aide said Biden would personally never have considered abortion if it came up in his own family but always made women’s rights a priority, citing his success in enacting the Violence Against Women Act.
Biden was first sworn into the Senate in January 1973, just 17 days before the Supreme Court issued Roe. and at the time he accused the justices of going “too far.” In an interview a year later, he said a woman should not have “the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
In 1982, Biden voted for a constitutional amendment pushed by President Ronald Reagan allowing individual states to overturn Roe. He called it “the single most difficult vote I’ve cast as a U.S. senator” but explained it in the context of his faith. “I’m probably a victim, or a product, however you want to phrase it, of my background,” he said. He reversed himself and voted against the amendment a year later.
For years, he voted for the so-called Hyde Amendment barring the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion and proposed an amendment of his own to prohibit foreign aid for biomedical research related to abortion. He voted for legislation outlawing a rare late-term abortion procedure...
His shift in position to meet his political needs was most recently on display in 2019 as he battled more progressive opponents to win the Democratic presidential nomination. One day his campaign said he still supported the Hyde Amendment, but after an uproar on the left, he reversed his longstanding stance the next day.
As a result, both sides share uncertainty about his true convictions. “If you follow his history on this, Joe Biden has been on this issue wherever he thought it was politically expedient,” said David O’Steen, the executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. “Internally how does he really feel? Nobody really knows how he feels.”

In an open-seat race for Congress in northeast North Carolina, everyone knows how pro-Choice advocate Erica Smith feels. Her very, very conservative opponent, state Senator Don Davis, has a long, clear record of opposing Choice at every single opportunity he got. Now he's working to hide that record and portray himself as a pro-Choice advocate. Last night the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed Erica Smith. Meanwhile, Clyburn ordered the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse Davis. Where's Biden on this race? Too busy endorsing reactionaries like Kurt Schrader and Shontel Brown. That's some party we're counting on to protect women's rights! The Democratic Party is "the best" we've got but that is far from good enough. Americans need a better Democratic Party... or a plausible alternative. Meanwhile, please take a look at this ad Blue America is running in NC-01 on Facebook and Instagram and consider contributing to Erica Smith's campaign here.

4 comentarios

The mandarins are rallying to save Cuellar's sorry butt in a safely blue CD in TX, but they didn't field a viable candidate in a D+1 CD in FL until 2 fell into their lap VERY late in the day. The mandarins care more about preserving a morally & practically bankrupt business model than they care about preventing the Quanon Caucus from being in the majority next year.

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nissman, Well said!

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05 may 2022

ayup. they'll talk about it and raise money on it. but they won't *DO* "merrick garland". they never do.

will their refusal on THIS issue finally be the anvil that shatters the camel's spine and earns the party the euthanization by voters that it has so richly deserved since the late '60s?

prolly not. thus the american christian nazi reich in 2025.

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For starters, could all conmentators PLEASE say Reproductive Rights. This isn’t just about aborrion, it’s about a woman’s right to make her own decision about her body, her reproductive rights to contraception, to determine what is best for her health and well being as well as a child she may decide to bring into this world, her right to choose and not forced to give birth against her will! If Biden can’t say “abortion” he certainly can say a woman’s Reproductive Rights are sacrosanct, that it is not the job of government to force women to carry a pregnancy to term, to own her womb.

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