Given the recent discussion here about Senator Baucus’s failure to stand for a filibuster, I found this piece by Jane Hamsher to be quite interesting. In it, she argues that NARAL actually did very little to stop the confirmation of Samuel Alito, despite raising a huge amount of money over the issue. Hamsher suggests that NARAL should go after Lincoln Chaffee for doing exactly what Senator Baucus did:
Instead of holding his feet to the fire, NARAL allowed Chafee to slither out by voting in the final vote against Alito, knowing full well this was a hollow gesture. Chafee pledged his loyalty to the Gang of 14 who collectively blocked the filibuster and effectively guaranteed Alito’s confirmation. When the true test of loyalty presented itself, he chose to abandon his pro-choice friends and knuckle under to the Bush junta.
The Nation’s Katha Pollit makes the same argument:
NARAL can start by NOT endorsing pro-choice Republicans. As the Alito roll call shows, when their party calls, they obey. Even supposedly feminist “republican for choice’ Olympia Snowe. If the pro-choice republicans had backed the filibuster, Alito would not have been confirmed today. Whatever their private beliefs about women’s reproductive rights, they are soldiers in the wrong army.
What I don’t understand is the argument that Republicans should be criticized more for this issue than Democrats. Either a vote for the filibuster was a matter of conscience and critical importance to the pro-choice movement, or it wasn’t. To demand that NARAL and other supporters of abortion rights refuse to support pro-choice Republicans over this issue while giving pro-choice Democrats like Baucus a free pass is a manifestation of rank hypocrisy and political opportunism.