Saturday, October 23, 2004

Simpsons on politics

Today's Simpsons was the one where aliens infiltrate our electoral process dressed as Clinton and Dole in 1996. Homer says of the replicant candidates “these candidates make me want to vomit in terror.” That's how I'm starting to feel about one local candidate.

Back of mailing 'Whatever you call it'Here's today's installment of “Krap from Kobach.” It's rather understated, bordering on the rational. The colors are muted, the content is less incendiary than usual.

Maybe they want a few female voters. Maybe they're stretching for some moderates. Maybe they realized that their ads were actually turning away voters. Who knows?

The consequence of all this is that my objections to this ad are to the subtler errors and actually touch on policy, not just petty name calling.

There is this little quote down at the bottom of the back page that is disingenuous. I can suggest some justifications for someone to vote to keep multiple medical techniques for abortion legal. Here's the story of a woman whose dead baby rotted inside her for a week because doctors were afraid to use techniques like those Moore voted to keep accessible. This wasn't an abortion, but the only way a doctor would be trained to perform the procedure to remove a third trimester dead fetus, is if he were also trained to perform a third trimester abortion. If the technique is banned, med schools won't teach it and women like Martha Mendoza will be forced to carry their dead babies in their bellies for weeks. That wasn't so hard.

Kobach suggests that “it's unthinkable to allow the murder of a pregnant woman to be punishable, but not the murder of her unborn child.” Yet the country existed for 228 years with no such laws. We've had state and federal governments for all that time, and no one thought of it. In calculus class, we called that proof by counter-example.

Kobach innocently asks: “Moore continually campaigns on a record of protecting children. How can he justify ... partial birth abortion with a straight face?” Well, some people think that the life of a child is different from an embryo. Moore thinks that a law that helps catch kidnappers is important. A law that prevents women from having a life-saving medical procedure isn't.

The fact is, the partial birth abortion bill could only have been pushed by people who don't actually want to ban abortions. It contained clearly unconstitutional provisions, like preventing abortions where continuing a pregnancy would kill the mother. Courts would be guaranteed to overturn the law in part or in whole, and to have temporary injunctions in the mean time. If someone really wanted to stop “partial birth abortion” they would include provisions for the life and safety of the mother, and out of respect for crime victims, would have included a rape and incest exception too. That would have had a good chance in the courts, and the bill's authors knew it. They chose to write an unconstitutional bill, because it will keep the issue alive. If they solved the problem, they wouldn't be able to campaign on it next time.

Front of mailing 'Moore's record on partial birth abortion and failure to help protect unborn children and their mothers'On the front of the card, there is the bizarre claim about “Moore's ... failure to help protect ... mothers.” Does anyone believe that a mugger thinks, “Better leave that pregnant lady alone. If she gets hurt, I could be prosecuted for two crimes”? If course not. The concept of the “Laci and Conner's Law” is barely coherent unless you understand it as an attempt to broaden the definition of life. Again, I defer to P. Z. Myers, who makes the distinction clear.

Kodos: “We must go forward, not backward, upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.”