If you're as old as I am -- and, I assure you, there are people, still on the north side of the sod, who are even older -- you may remember what must have been the funniest National Lampoon cover ever. I remember it; and, thanks to the miracle of the internets in general, and Mark's site devoted to the NatLamp in particular, I can even tell you that it was the January 1973 issue, and invite you to admire that fine cover. So much for the innocent happiness of an earlier day -- so long ago that I actually used to think of the GOP as being meaningfully different from the Democrat Party. Ha!
What has me remembering this cover is the spin the Republicans have themselves in over the Harriet Miers nomination to the supremes. This story from CNN makes it fairly clear that Ms. Miers's masters have had her trotting about Washington, telling every senator whatever the masters calculate that every senator wants to hear -- in spite of the inconvenient fact that they don't all want to hear the same thing. I'd feel sorry for Ms. Miers, except that any time I'm tempted to do so, I reflect that she's a lawyer, the former capo of the Texas lottery, and someone who's spent a great deal of time with her nose parked up Dear Leader's ass; so I'd tend to think she richly deserves all that she's going through, and then some. But I'm not really here to talk about the Harriet Show today, except to the extent that it illustrates a more basic problem.
I'm thinking, today, of failed approaches to THE ISSUE: legalized abortion (or "choice," or "baby-killing" -- pick your own term, according to your own convictions). I know that my readers -- all five or six of them -- do not all share my view of THE ISSUE (I'm agin it); perhaps none of my readers do. Now, I love my tiny, precious group of readers with a tender love that is so intense that it probably should be illegal; but this post will be addressed to those who agree with me about THE ISSUE. Others may want to read it in the same way that I would go to the zoo to look at all the cool animals: I'm not like them, but I might see something amusing, and maybe even thought-provoking ... and so might you.
I have voted for GOP types in the past. In fact, at the presidential level, I've never voted for the Other Major Brand, and did, in fact, vote GOP as recently as 1992 (Bush the Elder, that was). I didn't do this because I really thought there was much possibility that the Republicans really meant their talk about shrinking the gummint; I did it largely because I thought that folk like Ronnie Reagan were serious about overturning Roe, and were likely to appoint supremes who might do that, or at least refrain from perpetrating fresh outrages. And I sure didn't want supremes to be appointed by those who are frank and up-front about their enthusiasm for dead babies. (That would be the Other Major Brand.) "Vote for our candidates, or the other side's judges will kill this baby." So I held my nose and voted for pachyderms. I bought the accursed magazine. I didn't want them shooting the dog.
I did another thing about THE ISSUE that didn't work: I held down some sidewalks with my local Operation Rescue affiliate. I bought into the civil-rights model: nonviolent civil disobedience would arouse the conscience of the nation, etc., etc. In Fort Wayne, Indiana ("the City of Churches"), the cops surely wouldn't have the stomach to do a whole lot of arresting of their kids' Sunday School teachers. Wrong again, of course. Unlike the first civil-rights movement, this one didn't have the media on board: big difference. No arousing of anyone's conscience, without the teevee telling them it was conscience-arousal time. (I think Cindy Sheehan may have learned this, too, in a somewhat-different context.) And it turns out that the cops in the City of Churches positively loved arresting their kids' Sunday School teachers, with a little sly summary punishment tossed in, in the form of gratuitous roughness and "pain compliance" methods. Four arrests and a FACE law (felony time!) later, that's over with, too. An interesting thing, though: FACE was passed under eee-villl Democrat control, during the Clinton junta. But when the Party of Morals was returned to power, well, we just didn't hear a thing about repealing FACE. It wasn't on the agenda. There isn't the political capital to do just everything, so the elephant does what it's really interested in; and, as it turns out, the elephant's interests and mine are strongly divergent. The elephant is interested in corporate welfare and war; and, truth to tell, I'm pretty sure that the abortion rate among black people in large U.S. cities, which in some cases used to exceed the "live" birthrate, has not escaped the elephant's notice, either. The elephant has been having it both ways: using abortion as red-meat boob-bait on folks like me, while quietly seeing to it that the abortion industry continues as a profitable, going concern.
If the GOP -- the majority party -- really objected to the various judicial outrages to which they affect to object, the GOP would use its power to constitutionally circumscribe the reach of that outrageous judiciary. The GOP would also impeach judges. But those actions would not advance the GOP's actual purposes. So instead, the game continues. "Buy this magazine, or we'll shoot the dog."
How stupid do they think we are? Tragically, a better question: how stupid are we?
Look: don't vote for them. Don't buy the magazine. They're going to shoot the dog anyway. They always have, and they always will. Obviously, and tragically, I don't know how to keep the dog alive. I do know that buying the magazine doesn't get it done.