Thoughts from The Max

Jeff Sinnard and Michael Schiavo are not two names I would typically associate with each other, but both have made statements in the past week that I think underscore the differences between what the Republicans are doing wrong, and what the Democrats should be doing right.

Jeff and I find ourselves on the opposite ends of many arguments, the most prominent of which is pro-choice vs. pro-life. In a recent comment, Jeff referred to the 95-10 initiative pitched by a Democratic representative, the goal of which is to reduce the number of 95% of abortion within 10 years. What’s striking about this plan is that, instead of just saying abortion is bad and we need to end it, this initiative contains multiple policies designed to reach that goal. I don’t really think I would support this plan overall for personal reasons, but it’s at least a step up from empty rhetoric.

Michael Schiavo has obviously been to hell and back over the past several years. After fighting lengthy court battles to have his wife’s (who was in a persistent vegetative state) feeding tube removed, multiple political figures attempted to step in to block this action. From Florida governor Jeb Bush, senator Bill Frist, representative Tom DeLay, on up to the president, almost everyone on the Right wanted to have a say in whether this woman should be kept alive artificially, to the point where Congress actually returned early from vacation to pass a bill designed to keep her feeding tube in. Last night on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Mr. Schiavo talked about how he invited all four of these men to come down to Florida and visit his wife. He wanted them to see the shape she was in, have them talk with her or try and shake her hand. He wanted them to understand the situation first-hand, to put a human face with the cold issue. All of his invitations were ignored. These politicians were more concerned with imposing their moral values from afar (including dr. Frist, who went so far as to make the absurd statement that Mrs. Schiavo was not in a vegetative state based strictly on videotape evidence, a diagnosis that should have gotten his medical license revoked).

This is where the Democrats differ from the Republicans, and where we need to start clarifying those differences. We actually want to implement policies that back up our goals; they just want to throw out empty statements to feed their base some red meat. We want to get out and understand our constituencies; they just want to tell people what they should be doing. They don’t give a damn about who it effects, so long as you do what they want you to. They don’t want women to have the right to an abortion, but they don’t have a plan to reduce unwanted pregnancies. They want to tell high school kids that abstinence is the only sex education they need, ignoring the fact that over half of them will have sex before they leave high school and they might want to try and prevent those encounters from resulting in pregnancies. They don’t want anyone to have access to RU-486, and if they can’t stop production of that drug they’ll look the other way while pharmacists decide it’s again their beliefs to fill the prescription. And they want to tell you when you’re allowed to live or die. They just want to impose their morals on you, consequences be damned.

If the left is going to make any headway, they need to start a campaign (and I would suggest they get moving on this soon with an extremely important Congressional election coming up in November) to make these differences clear. I think we all realize that there are some red voters (and red states) that are beyond converting to our side, but with the amount of single-issue voters out there, a targeted message to show what we’re really about could make a big difference.

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