Obama and the Abortion Plank: The Inside Story
Steve Waldman over at Beliefnet has a detailed account of the machinations that led to the altered language on abortion in the Democratic platform, as we all discussed here. I think it shows how much Obama was able to accomplish under difficult circumstances. As at Saddleback, he is trying to engage the extremes to spur some forward motion. Is that a virtue? Is that politically viable in today’s sound-bite culture? Here is an excerpt from Waldman:
So if abortion is a test case of Sen. Obama’s ability to find common ground, how did he do?
His team and allies did succeed in crafting a plank that opposing camps could agree on. They showed skill at mediation and bridge building. They made pro-choicers feel comfortable taking a new step but reassuring them on their basic concerns. They made pro-lifers give in on several small points to get one big victory.
But they did all that in part by stripping the language of fire. Once you know the history and negotations, it’s sort of an impressive accomplishment. But to the naked eye, it’s hardly a rallying cry for a third way.
Rod Dreher at Crunchy Con is appreciative of the effort but more skeptical.