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Single Issue vs. a Coalition

Those of you who follow liberal blogs might have noticed a recent contretemps over what role NARAL should assume in the coalition dedicated to liberal causes, pro-choice points of view, etc.

In a nutshell, the two points of view are this:

1) NARAL views itself as a single-issue organization that should secure abortion rights at any cost, whether that includes opposition to a certain judicial nominee or support of a pro-choice Republican politician.

2) NARAL should develop discretion and realize that it's part of a greater liberal coalition that will do more for abortion rights than any pro-choice Republican ever will.

Where this particularly turns interesting is in how those who hold these views regard each other. A quick perusal of Media Girl, for example, reveals that many pro-choice feminists regard the liberal blogs' retreat from choice issues as a retreat from women's rights in general ... and yet another example of men not having enough respect for women's rights.

Meanwhile, Kos, Oliver Willis, and Ezra Klein, to cite three examples, all find NARAL's positions to be unhelpful to the greater cause of electing Democratic majorities to Congress and retaking 1600 Penn.

Last week, I commented on the situation on my own blog, finding fault with both sides of the dispute.

But in the wake of NARAL's blatantly false anti-Judge Roberts ad, not to mention Oliver Willis's severe tongue-lashing over the ad, I can't help adding a little more.

When I look at NARAL's latest, most publicized efforts, there appears to be no real strategic thinking aimed at effecting real change. There's the anti-Roberts ad ... and that utterly ridiculous "Screw Abstinence" rally in Washington state, which made NARAL look so far out of touch that Dennis Kucinich was starting to sound reasonable.

What I notice here, and to an extent at other organizations, is an insatiable desire to stoke passions among an ever-narrowing group of activists. Oppose Judge Roberts! Screw abstinence! Sue Fox News! Support Cindy Sheehan! While these actions might sound great, I don't think they're effective.

The problem is that while these measures are great for motivating the base, they absolutely suck when it comes to persuading the unconverted to, if not join you, than to grudgingly support your agenda, at least in part.

But as long as these advocacy groups continue to listen to themselves talk, rather than test their words against the real world, they're going to drive more and more people away from the liberal side of the aisle.

Pennywit regularly blogs at Pennywit.com.


Comments (7)

> Oppose Judge Roberts! Scr... (Below threshold)
Paul:

> Oppose Judge Roberts! Screw abstinence! Sue Fox News! Support Cindy Sheehan! While these actions might sound great, I don't think they're effective.

Quite the contrary, I think they are very effective.

>But as long as these advocacy groups continue to listen to themselves talk, rather than test their words against the real world, they're going to drive more and more people away from the liberal side of the aisle.

OH so do you... That's your problem with it... I get it now. ;-)

They may not be effective a... (Below threshold)
John:

They may not be effective at advancing their cause, but they pay the bills.

From OW> Please note tha... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

From OW> Please note that I don’t believe there isn’t room for NARAL and other groups to hit Robertson on the choice issue

Oh hell yeah Oliver - hit Robertson, and hit him hard!

...and what the fuck is med... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

...and what the fuck is media girl about - A real man doesn't fear to apologize. A real man doesn't believe the mythology of John Wayne (who dodged fighting in WW2).

What exactly does she want, a man who is sensitive enough to carry her ovum in his man purse? Bullshit - I'm calling bullshit on this dumbass.

A real man looks to the welfare of others rather than his own image?

Sorry, men just don't do that - while men are concerned with image hardly in the same way women are, they most certainly don't have media girl's interpretation of manhood.

Pennywit: The problem is... (Below threshold)
Krusty Krab:

Pennywit: The problem is that while these measures are great for motivating the base... Perhaps you meant "ever shrinking base"? You can't run somebody endorse Cindy Sheehan or Ray McGovern without disenfranchising a portion of your base (the Jewish vote of course).

This has been the bane of t... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

This has been the bane of the Democratic Party in recent years. The endless panderiing to the extremes of the party has done more damage than any attack ad ever could. The Democrats have become a caricature in many repsects. They constantly fight against people and positions that could actually be beneficial to the country because some radical group doesn't like one tiny speck on the record of the person.

When they learn that sometimes losing a battle can win a war, then they will be on the road to recovery.

The problem with NARAL is t... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

The problem with NARAL is they hold a position less than 20% of the electorate holds. Most people are for some amount of restrictions on abortion from things like waiting periods and parental consent to to making it illegal.

NARAL is in a "no compromise on anything" position, which makes them pretty extreme.




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