Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ciccina decides to not-vote, and Senator Obama - a new Democrat?

Ciccina, over at The Lurking Canary, has decided to follow her heart and not vote, if, as current trends hold, Senator Obama is the Democratic nominee. That is unfortunate; but that is her considered opinion, and I respect her for that - not that my opinion is worth tuppence. Hopefully, that is not part of a larger trend where ardent supporters of Senator Clinton - a core of the Democratic party - stay at home rather than vote, or vote Republican for the explicitly pro-life/anti-abortion Senator McCain, in November.
Ciccina has stated that Senator Obama is not explicitly pro-choice on abortion rights. This appears to be true - I looked at Senator Obama's website under "issues", and did not find any mention of abortion rights. However, as Senator Clinton is fond of saying, actions speak louder than words; here is Senator Obama's record on the question of choice.

Senator Obama's non-position on abortion rights during his Presidential campaign, and his move away from mandated health insurance, are in opposition to positions normally taken for granted in the Democratic Party. This could be why some Independents and Republicans are comfortable with him, the same way that some Independents and Democrats are OK with Senator McCain. The similarities between the two presumptive nominees include discomfort on the part of their chosen Party's core, and the lack of an obvious rallying cry against either candidate by the opposing Party. IF Senator Obama is the Democratic nominee, November 2008 could come down to a clash of personalities more than anything else.

While on the potential of Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee, Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) was on ABC with George Stephanapolous this morning. Senator Biden was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination this cycle, but dropped out after a poor showing in Iowa. However, he is considered a foreign policy expert with, among others, a sane plan ("decentralized federation"?) for Iraq. He says Senator Obama's stated position - striking at Al-Qaeda in Pakistan given adequate evidence, without consulting the Pakistani government - has been a policy of the US Government for the past two Presidents. Senator Obama has been ridiculed for "proposing" this policy. As Senator Biden pointed out, Senator Obama should perhaps have not explicitly stated this strategy, but it was nothing new. Senator Biden also says Senator Obama's position on meeting with the new Cuban President - without preconditions, but with some preparation - is reasonable.
So, does that indicate the Democratic Party is coalescing behind Senator Obama, or was Senator Biden offering an objective opinion? Or maybe both?


Ciccina said...

Dear RS,

I haven't had the chance to respond properly since my dog ate the internet and I can barely scrounge time to check my email... but I appreciate your comments.

My concern is not just abortion rights, but a whole range of women's issues. As first lady, Hillary led the effort to establish and secure funding for the (I forget the exact title) office on violence against women.

She had a huge impact international women's rights and development when she represented the United States at the UN's world conference on women and population in Beijing - when she declared, on behalf of the U.S., that women's rights *are* human rights, it meant a huge policy shift (the shift was that, for the most part, abuse of women, including during wartime, was considered a "cultural issue" outside the scope of human rights treaties).

Hillary has worked in the trenches on family law issues, domestic violence issues, and children's rights issues. Significantly, this doesn't register as significant in the press and to Obama's supporters. But Obama's short time as a civil rights lawyer talked about all the time. Of course, in our culture, civil rights is important; women's rights, not so much.

I am at the moment missing my plane to NY to attend the UN's annual commission on the status of women meeting, where I will no doubt witness all the European donor countries, plus Japan and Canada align for improvements in funding for gender equality programs, against the vehement opposition of the United States, the Vatican and Arab countries such as Iran and the Sudan. Its been like this ever since Bush came into office.

There are now at least a dozen countries that have better policies for gender equality, domestically and as part of foreign policy, than the United States. Its only our ignorance of the world around us that keeps up from realizing how far behind we are falling, in this and of course in other areas.

Obama is completely, absolutely silent on these issues. He has no experience in this area. Further, his previous record on choice is, in my opinion, terrible. I'll tell you in this forum that I personally know the individuals from Illinois who have been quoted defending his votes and I vehemently disagree with what they have been saying. In fact, I've seen multiple contradictory statements from them, but it doesn't matter - the narrative is already set.

Ugh, must go. Keep up the great writing...

Myron said...

People like Ciccina are just heavily invested in Hillary, so it is difficult for them to see the light through all the tears. Give her awhile, she'll come around.

By the way, if you thought Hillary did a lot for women's rights, wait til Michelle Obama gets in the Oval Office with Barack. I have a feeling she is going to be pretty good for all women.

So Cindy McCain or Michelle.....hmmmm....not much of a decision there.