Patterico's Pontifications


David Savage Cries Wolf on Abortion Yet Again

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 4:31 pm

David Savage, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, today tells us that there really is a wolf out there. And this time (he says), he’s not lying!

Savage has a front-page Sunday-edition article titled This time, Roe vs. Wade really could hang in the balance. This time, definitely! The deck headline reads:

The Supreme Court’s onetime wide majority in favor of abortion rights has shrunk to one: Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 88. Now the decision’s fate may depend on who becomes the next president.

And the lead paragraphs:

WASHINGTON — Every four years, defenders of abortion rights proclaim that the fate of Roe vs. Wade hangs on the outcome of the presidential election.

This year, they may be right.

Through most of the 1990s and until recently, the Supreme Court had a solid 6-3 majority in favor of upholding the right of a woman to choose abortion. But the margin has shrunk to one, now that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is retired and has been replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Nonsense. David Savage doesn’t know that. Yet he insists on giving prominence to the sky-is-falling concerns of the NARAL crowd:

“Clearly, Roe is on the line this time,” said Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen, a former lawyer for NARAL Pro-Choice America. “It is quite clear they have four votes against it. If the next president appoints one more, the odds are it will be overruled.”

It is not “quite clear” at all. Indeed, there is good reason to believe that there is still a 6-3 majority in favor of upholding Roe, based on the actual language of recent opinions.

As I have previously written, we have no way of knowing whether Justices Alito and Roberts would vote to overturn Roe:

There are, as we speak, two clear votes for overturning Roe. And Roberts and Alito aren’t either of them.

In the most recent major abortion decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, Justice Thomas wrote a concurrence that stated his opposition to Roe:

I write separately to reiterate my view that the Courts abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution.

He was joined by only one Justice: Antonin Scalia. To the disappointment of Roe opponents, Justices Alito and Roberts pointedly refused to sign on to that concurrence.

Nowhere in Savage’s article does he tell readers that Justices Alito and Roberts had a chance to sign on to an opinion rejecting Roe, and refused to do so. The closest Savage comes to making this point is in this paragraph, which is the 26th paragraph of a 32-paragraph article:

If Stevens or Ginsburg were to be replaced by a staunch conservative, that would tip the majority against abortion rights. However, it is not certain that Roberts and Alito would join Scalia and Thomas in pressing to overrule the right entirely.

Why are readers not told until the 26th paragraph that Alito and Roberts may not vote to overturn Roe? Why are readers never told that Alito and Roberts had a chance to sign an opinion overturning Roe and refused? Why are readers told that a majority that may well be 6-3 has “shrunk to one”?

And is it just a coincidence that the alarmist view of the Court espoused by Savage benefits the Obama campaign?

I don’t know, but I know that Savage has shown a pattern of crying wolf in reporting on this issue. Before “Justice Sam Alito” was even a gleam in President George W. Bush’s eye, Savage was busy implying that John Roberts could be the fifth vote against Roe, by calling Justice O’Connor (whom Roberts was then set to replace) the “swing vote on . . . abortion.” (See also this 2005 post.) In January 2006, once Justice Roberts was on the Court, it was Justice Alito’s turn to become the bogeyman, as Savage misleadingly implied that Alito would be a fifth vote to overturn Roe.

Since then, Savage has been screeching in article after article that McCain could provide the Court with the fifth vote to overturn Roe — just like Savage previously suggested would happen with the appointment of Roberts, and then again with the appointment of Alito.

And just look at how simple this will be for McCain! All McCain has to do is a) win the election, b) nominate a justice conservative enough to vote to overturn Roe, something that has happened twice in the last 36 years, c) get that justice confirmed by a Senate controlled by Democrats, who may have a filibuster-proof majority, and d) get Justices Alito and Roberts to sign on to an opinion disapproving Roe, which they have so far refused to do.

Piece of cake! No wonder David Savage is so worried.

Because this time, the wolf is really out there!!!

WOW. LA’s NOW President Endorses Palin

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 1:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Kim Priestap at Wizbang:

“America, this is what a feminist looks like”

Who said that about Sarah Palin? Would you believe the president of LA’s National Organization for Women, Shelly Mandel? Amazing! This is quite a moment for her to push back against the pressure from the feminist groups who see Sarah Palin as a traitor because she’s a Republican and pro-life who actually lived her principles. Let’s hope more mainstream, liberal feminists come out of their closets and support Sarah because, as Shelly said, Sarah supports women’s rights, equal pay, Title 9, and the middle class. She has integrity and demands it from others.

Video at the link.

Priestap speculates this endorsement may be why Palin made an unscheduled visit to California.

EDIT: Allahpundit at Hot Air describes Mandel’s comments as an introduction but doesn’t mention an endorsement. Ace is there and describes it as an introduction, too, but also notes the “this is what a feminist looks like — Sarah Palin.” I can’t see the video now so you watch and be the judge. [Dana says Mandel “supports and endorses Palin although she does not agree with her on every issue.” Thanks, Dana.]

FWIW, I think I’m arguing with myself. Why would the NOW President do this if it wasn’t an endorsement?

H/T Instapundit.


Any Argument Against Barack Obama Is By Definition Racist

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Race — Patterico @ 12:56 pm

Did you know that it’s racist to argue that Barack Obama should not be President?

It’s true!

We know this, because we’re told that:

  • It’s racist to point out the connection between Barack Obama and a white man — who happens to be a terrorist.
  • It’s racist to point out the connection between Barack Obama and a black man — who happens to have run Fannie Mae.

I’m sick of the race card being played whenever someone criticizes Barack Obama. Making the Ayers connection is hardly a racist ploy, but that’s what we’re being told by the AP today. There is literally no argument you can make against this man that will not be countered by cries of racism.

Are you listening, McCain advisors?

I’m told that McCain advisors are reluctant to argue Democratic responsibility for the mortgage crisis, because they might be accused of being racists.

Wake up, McCain advisors. You are already getting accused of racism for making other perfectly legitimate points. Why on God’s green Earth would you hold back on one of the best arguments you can make because someone might play the race card?

Do you people even want to win?

That’s a serious question.

UPDATE: It is apparently also racist, or at least xenophobic, to raise any question about possible illegal foreign contributions to Obama. So says Marc Ambinder.

Maybe It Wasn’t Sarah’s Fault

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:05 am

I’m beginning to think I may have seriously slandered Sarah Palin. I’m serious about this. Let me explain.

Although I watched the Katie Couric interviews and cringed, I was willing to give Palin a chance in the debate. After all, I supported her before she was picked. I know she’s a bright woman who has a solid record of accomplishment in Alaska. And I know she knows how to debate. So, unlike the rest of the country, I didn’t expect her to fall on her face. I wanted to see her go in there and kick Biden’s rear end.

I was terribly disappointed at the beginning of the debate, when she gave tepid responses to Biden’s outrageous statements blaming the current financial crisis on Bush and McCain. As I said:

[S]he was too wedded to talking points and consequently missed several opportunities. She let Joe Biden hang the financial crisis around the Republicans’ neck, when there is ample evidence that Democrats enabled a corrupt Fannie and Freddie. She let Biden paint McCain as a deregulator, when he fought to regulate Fannie and Freddie while Obama took money from those entities.

Every Republican watching that part of the debate should have been furious. She had so many shots she could take, and she almost completely passed on them. For me, it was just about the last straw. The economy is such a huge issue, I thought. How could she drop the ball so badly?

But now I’m wondering:

What if that’s the campaign’s fault?

What if the campaign told Palin not to hit back hard on Fannie and Freddie?

It seems like a crazy theory at first. After all, there’s so much to hit back with. Just look at this video:

The video is just the beginning of what Sarah Palin should have said at the debate. When Barney Frank was telling America:

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis.”

John McCain was supporting legislation to regulate Fannie and Freddie, as he told America:

If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie and Freddie pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

Meanwhile, Obama was busily on his way towards being the second biggest recipient of Fannie and Freddie donations in the Senate. And what does Bill Clinton say about all of this?

I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Yup, there’s plenty there to hit Democrats with. So why in the world didn’t Sarah Palin bring any of this up? When Joe Biden was pretending that the financial crisis was brought on by Republicans, why wasn’t Sarah Palin throwing the quotes I just gave you right back in his face? Why wasn’t she cramming the Democrats’ past words down their collective throat? I don’t mind telling you I was frustrated.

But I’m starting to think maybe she didn’t do any of this, because McCain’s handlers told her not to.

I have evidence to support my theory. McCain himself, when Barack Obama pretended that he himself had been a visionary on this issue, McCain responded with a tepid “I warned the public too.” And the ad I gave you was from the NRCC, not McCain’s campaign.

Michelle Malkin has expressed the same sentiment:

One of the most glaring failures of both John McCain and Sarah Palin in their debates has been their failure to pound Obama/Biden/the Dems on the Fannie/Freddie/Community Reinvestment Act debacles.

Why? Why? Why are they passing up a golden opportunity to expose the disastrous consequences of decades of Democrat social engineering, minority-mau-mau-ing, and crony pseudocapitalism?

Apparently, the campaign is worried about being called racists, and thinks the argument is too complicated.

Nonsense. It’s a simple argument. Every American paying attention knows that Fannie and Freddie contributed significantly to this problem. All you have to do is play the videos quoting Republicans worrying about Fannie and Freddie, as contrasted with the quotes from Democrats claiming there was no crisis.

If they couldn’t see this crisis coming, how are they going to see an Al Qaeda attack coming?

If the McCain campaign handlers are the reason that Sarah Palin (and John McCain) didn’t hit back hard in the debates on Fannie and Freddie, then they have to be the most stunningly incompetent bunch of campaigners in history. This crisis is the biggest thing going. McCain and Palin have a great argument to make.


Or we’re going to lose.

It’s just that simple.

UPDATE: Oh, Good Lord. Now we’re being told that it’s racist to make the Ayers connection.

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