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Some Republicans Are 'Concerned' Over Alabama Abortion Ban...Or Are They?

A longstanding tactic of the GOP is to do something extreme and then send the "reasonable" ones in to tut-tut over the mess. At least, in public.
Some Republicans Are 'Concerned' Over Alabama Abortion Ban...Or Are They?
Image from: Rich Polk/Getty Images

Jennifer Rubin believes that extremist abortion laws are backfiring on the GOP:

You can tell which side of the aisle is optimistic about the politics of the abortion bans in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and elsewhere. When asked about the Alabama ban, Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) (who lost her race for Senate but was then appointed to the seat originally held by the late senator John McCain) ducked. “That’s a state issue. I’m focused on my work here," she insisted....

Meanwhile, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) went so far as to publicly oppose the law.... “I believe in exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, and that’s what I’ve voted on,” he said. The Republican leader who has been hollering for years that Roe must be reversed insisted, “Look I’m not an attorney. I’m not on the Supreme Court.”

One wonders how long it will be before President Trump recognizes this as a political disaster, one that will tie him to the most cruel, farthest-reaching and (from a national standpoint) least-popular abortion law in recent memory.

I can see why Rubin might argue this. It's not just McSally and McCarthy -- there's also Fox's Tomi Lahren:

(It should be noted that Lahren was fired by Glenn Beck's Blaze a few years ago for being pro-choice.)

Pat Robertson also said the Alabama law has "gone too far," although he's making a strictly political calculation:

“They want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is I don’t think that’s the case I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose,” Robertson told his viewers on Wednesday....

“God bless them, they’re trying to do something,” Robertson said of Alabama legislators.


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Nevertheless, there's seems to be some anxiety about the law on the right. But the apparent concern about these laws is also a form of bamboozlement.

This is how the GOP used to work in the pre-Trump era: Right-wing commentators and certain Republican politicians would advocate (and, where possible, pass) extreme laws, all while using inflammatory rhetoric about their enemies (us) and generally tossing the base the reddest of red meat. Then, particularly on Sunday mornings, the "respectable" Republicans would appear on TV, and their dulcet tones would reassure the rest of public (and nearly all mainstream pundits) that the party was made up of sober, responsible right-centrists who could always be trusted with governance. Extreme laws were passed, extreme narratives were advanced, but mostly on the down low.

Under Trump, Republicans across the board have learned to say the quiet parts out loud (hello, Lindsey Graham) -- but these abortion laws are inspiring them to revert to the old ways. McCarthy wants his party to win back the House in 2020, and the path to that end runs through a lot of suburban swing districts; McSally wants to win her seat outright in a purple state.

So they're saying, "Look, most Republicans are reasonable ladies and gents, not like those awful folks in Alabama (and Ohio, and Missouri and Kentucky and Georgia and ...)." It won't prevent any new state from passing a draconian abortion law. But if they're lucky, it will persuade your swing-voting relatives that most Republicans aren't like this.

They are like this. They voted for Kavanaugh and Gorsuch and Alito and Thomas. When pressed for a favorite Supreme Court justice of all time, they all say Scalia. They just don't want you to think about the implications of that, especially in the voting booth.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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