Tales from the Trail

Steele’s abortion comments anger fellow Republicans

Michael Steele has gone and put his foot in his mouth again. USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANS

In an interview with GQ magazine, the Republican National Committee chairman described abortion as an “individual choice” and said individual states should decide its legality.

Those comments, predictably, have drawn a sharp rebuke from other Republican leaders who say he should stick to the party’s core position that abortion should be outlawed nationwide.

“Chairman Steele, as the leader of America’s pro-life conservative party, needs to re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform. He then needs to get to work — or get out of the way,” said former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a former rival for the RNC job.

Mike Huckabee called Steele’s remarks troubling. “For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it’s a violation of the most basic of human rights,” the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate said on his blog.

Steele was widely praised as an eloquent speaker when he was elected as chairman of the Republican Party at the end of January. But since then, he’s spent plenty of time apologizing for off-hand comments that have angered many in the party and prompted some to suggest that he should resign.

Congresswoman who lost election takes job to unseat others

Republican Marilyn Musgrave, who was defeated in last year’s election for a Colorado seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has found a new job — director of a project to unseat other members of Congress.

Musgrave, who lost the congressional seat she had first won in 2002 to Democrat Betsy Markey after a close and bitter campaign marked by negative attack ads,  will head up a project of the anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, to target congressional seats in the next election cycle.

“With this new program we are going to go into districts where people are likely to be vulnerable, and we are going to give those families a clear message as to how these congressmen and women are voting,” Musgrave said to reporters.

from FaithWorld:

U.S. ideology stable, “culture trench warfare” ahead?

The U.S. Democratic Party has gained a larger following over the past two decades but America's ideological landscape has remained largely unchanged over the past two decades, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. You can see the analysis here.

What is of interest for readers of this blog may be the implications of this "cultural trench warfare" -- with neither side gaining much ground from the other -- for red-hot social issues such as abortion rights and the future prospects for both the Republicans and the Democrats.

"The Democratic Party's advantage in party identification has widened over the past two decades, but the share of Americans who describe their political views as liberal, conservative or moderate has remained stable during the same period. Only about one-in-five Americans currently call themselves liberal (21 percent), while 38 percent say they are conservative and 36 percent describe themselves as moderate. This is virtually unchanged from recent years; when George W. Bush was first elected president, 18 percent of Americans said they were liberal, 36 percent were conservative and 38 percent considered themselves moderate," the report, released late on Tuesday, says.

Catholic groups launches pro-Obama web site

DALLAS – Catholics for Obama has just launched a web site as the Nov. 4 White House race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain enters its final laps.

The candidate

Catholics, who account for close to a quarter of the U.S. adult population, comprise a key religious group that both sides have tried to woo. In closely contested swing states such as Ohio or Florida the Catholic vote could make a difference.

The web site is sure to stoke controversy in Catholic circles with this statement: “Is Barack Obama really pro-life? The answer is ‘yes.’ Looking through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, Senator Obama has spent his entire career striving for the common good. He supports health care programs that will cover all Americans, a living wage for working families, and solutions that allow distressed families to stay in their homes.” 

Candidates spar over abortion rights

DALLAS – Barack Obama and John McCain got a chance during their third presidential debate on Wednesday night to directly address their respective bases when they were asked about abortion.

The candidates debate

Moderator Bob Schieffer, who noted that Democrat Obama supports the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe vs Wade decision that grants women a constitutional right to an abortion, while the Republican McCain opposes it, asked: “Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue?”

Both candidates said they would not apply ”litmus tests” if they were to select justices for the top U.S. court, whose nine members are currently almost evenly divided between conservatives and liberals.

Clinton: Not just any woman will do for the White House

palin-vertical.jpghillary-vertical.jpgCracked. Shattered. Whatever. Forget the glass ceiling, policy trumps gender in the race for the White House as far as Hillary Clinton is concerned.

“Of course it’s exciting to have a woman on the ticket,” Clinton said in a CNN interview when asked about the vice presidential candidacy of Republican Sarah Palin.

“But that in and of itself is not enough reason … and really no one will shatter that ceiling until we have a woman serving as president or vice president,” she said in the interview broadcast on Tuesday.

Democratic abortion platform wins points from some pro-lifers

DALLAS – The Democratic Party remains staunchly behind a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

But the platform statement on the issue that will be adopted at the party’s presidential nominating convention in Denver later this month has been well received by some pro-life Christians, who rtr1w5c6.jpgapplaud its emphasis on abortion reduction.

On a conference call Tuesday with journalists, several leading evangelical and Catholic activists welcomed the stress on abortion reduction as the “common ground” between those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them (camps which describe themselves as pro-choice and pro-life).