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Posts by helmsman

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  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    05/01/2002 3:02:47 PM PDT · 85 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Let's summarize. You're criticizing Simon for Not Doing Certain Stuff. One thing you think he Should Be Doing is Suggesting Certain Programs. But when pressed, you've admitted you don't actually know whether these programs are already implemented - you just throw your hands in the air and blithely say "well if they're not, they should be!"

    I suggested that, as part of an overall public awareness effort, school children be taught fetal development using an array of modern techniques, tools, and methods. The nature of the public school system being what it is, with details of any particular curriculum likely to vary from school district to school district, it is unreasonable to suggest that anyone who advocates this particular policy be required to check in with each and every one of them to find out if they are each already teaching it in the precise manner I support. Instead, I simply call for it to be standard across the many school districts.

    Uh, ok, but then what the heck is your basis for criticizing Simon? You're criticizing him for not suggesting stuff which may or may not actually be needed? The mind boggles.

    A PBA ban is needed, crisis pregnancy center funding is needed, public awareness campaigns are needed. What is your point? I criticize Simon only because he has not shown a willing to champion any of these issues. Should that change, my criticism will stop. Is that alright? It may come as a shock, but I expect pro-life politicians to do what they can to advance the cause. All of the above would be in his purview as governor. If he does any of these things, I will be a Simon fan.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    05/01/2002 1:51:18 PM PDT · 83 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    How many schools have you seen it being done in, so far, in your extensive research on the subject and wide-ranging tour of CA public schools?

    I'm not expertly aware of the biology curriculum in California public schools, never said I was. I said that if this was not being done, it should be. Remember? (#77)

    The answer is, Getting good people elected.

    Hopefully, good people will use whatever power they have to reduce abortions. For example, a governor could advocate informed consent laws or a PBA ban, even if he didn't touch my ideas. If Simon were to do either of these things, there would be no blame coming from me. I would praise him, in fact.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    05/01/2002 12:10:18 PM PDT · 80 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    When I see this being done in every school, it will be moot. There is more to do, of course, but it would be a start. As far as it being wise politically, perhaps we'll soon find out one way or another.

    Anyhow, we seem t'have strayed pretty far away from good ol' Mr. Simon (remember him?) and whether he "reversed himself" on abortion, whether he's "really" pro-life, etc. Good luck in your school curriculum efforts, though. Best,

    Yes, whether or not he acts on his stated pro-life beliefs will become apparent soon enough if you have your wish and he defeats Davis. And good luck in your efforts to reduce your tax burden, or cut welfare, or whatever it is that motivates you to go to the polls.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    05/01/2002 11:39:00 AM PDT · 77 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Look, post #63 or no post #63, schools already teach biology and I see no reason why it would make sense for a gubernatorial candidate to propose fine-tuning the bio curriculum from the governor's seat, especially if the suggested "mandate" is to teach something schools already teach in the first place.

    Did you re-read the post, or not? I specifically mentioned using modern methods to teach the subject that much better convey the point. If some schools are already using ultrasounds, intrauterine video, heartbeat recordings, etc in their biology lessons, then fantastic. But I would make it mandatory and require the lesson to be taught, adjusted for age and class level, at the elementary, middle, and high school level. It would no more be "dumb" for a candidate to suggest this, than it would be for him to suggest introducing modern instruction methods in any other subject. And considering the gravity of an abortion decision, it is more than appropriate to advocate this, as part of an overall public awareness effort, in a campaign at any level.

    Why not advise a politician to say "I think schools should be forced to teach that 2+2=4 rather than 2+2=5"?

    Because that would be dumb.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    05/01/2002 10:26:08 AM PDT · 75 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Just a question: what makes you think this isn't taught in biology class? What makes you think it is even needed for a gubernatorial candidate to get up and say that schools "should" teach this? In short, do you even know what you're talking about?

    Well, it seems that it is now you who can't "keep up." I will not repeat myself. If you could not comprehend the difference from what I described in post #63, then, I'm sorry, but I do not have the time to serve as your remedial instructor.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 9:19:01 PM PDT · 73 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Right. A majority of Californians would see the move as political. They would alter their votes and have discussions accordingly. Thus making it "political".

    Would it have a political effect? Yes, probably. Is it political itself? No. Because teaching that a fetus has a heartbeat and measurable brainwaves has nothing directly to do with politics. If people adjust their political positions on abortion as result of receiving this information, then so be it. But that's not the intended purpose of the lesson. The intended purpose is to remove the ignorance that exists that often leads to abortion. Perfectly pro-choice sound. And, in fact, one could even argue that learning about fetal/embryonic development will actually decrease the esteem that the public holds for particularly early stage unborn children, who don't have a heartbeat, or brainwaves, or much else that might produce emotional sympathy. This argument has been made to me by pro-abortionists I've debated on this issue. They've made the point that it might increase use of the morning after pill, for example. But I, and most pro-lifers, are willing to take the risk because the more honest the debate, the better. So, you see, whatever political effect public awareness campaigns may have, and which side of the abortion debate they may benefit, is not entirely clear. Now, it is clear that you believe this policy is both political and politically unwise. I accept that and strongly disagree.

    So you don't believe Simon is pro-life (what else could "questioning his position on abortion" mean). Is that your point? If so, I disagree with you, but we could leave it at that.

    If there's anything that's been made obvious in this thread, it's that we disagree. I respect your position, I hope you respect mine.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 5:20:00 PM PDT · 71 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Not the meaning of words. Whether something is "political". Two different things. Try to keep up.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. You claimed that teaching children scientific lessons about human development is "political" soley because the majority of Californians would think so (according to you) -- a patently ridiculous assertion. If the state teaches children to support abortion restrictions, that would be political. If the state teaches children biology, that is not political. Is that clear enough, Dr. Frank, or do I have to draw you a picture?

    I won't. I will be agreeing with them that it is indoctrination. (Perhaps justifiable indoctrination - that is a different argument - but indoctrination nonetheless.)

    Again, biology is not indoctrination. Are you even serious? And it doesn't surprise me that you would agree with them, you've certainly bought their spinbook on California politics.

    Apparently I do. When did I say I "dislike" a policy of teaching schoolkids about life? All I said was that I didn't think it would be a winning election strategy.

    And when did I say that I "dislike Simon?" I only recall questioning his position on abortion. Are we nitpicking words now, Dr. Frank? No, of course not, that would be petty.

    Dislike him all you want. I'm voting for him and hope he wins.

    Do what you want, sir, it won't break my heart. It's pretty clear that you'd vote for him regardless of what his position on abortion was. Clearly, you have other issues that are more important to you. Had you admitted this to begin with, we could have ended this debate a lot sooner.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 3:40:01 PM PDT · 69 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    Look, again, your countrymen decide what is "political", not just you.

    No, the meaning of words is not determined by plebiscite. If you want to call it controversial, you have a point. But, again, it's a question of defining yourself and your positions before your opponents do. They will call it indoctrination, we will insist that it is scientific information crucial to informed choice. Obviously, if we never try to debate it, we won't know how well it plays. And, yes, I have also noted your dislike of this policy. You needn't remind me again.

    I'll clarify. In certain states, I'd think the pro-life position is a winner politically. In other states, not so much. Even in those states, of course, certain semi pro life issues (such as a ban on PBAs) can still be decent winners politically, and I see no problem with advocating them.

    Do you know what's funny? If Simon would only do this one thing -- aggressively attack Davis on partial-birth -- I would be delighted. Perhaps he will, there's time yet. But, you'll understand if I'm less than optimistic.

    I'm a pro-lifer, and I'll certainly vote for Simon. For one thing, I will enjoy voting for someone smart enough to realize that a freakin' state governor can't ban abortions. Frankly I'm sick of people (both pro-choicers and pro-lifers) acting as if a governor can do just that.

    I have actually suggested that candidates in California take the issue of a ban on first trimester abortions completely off the table for now (simply say that the people are opposed, it couldn't be enforced at the present time, and Roe is still in effect -- so I won't/can't do it), in the interest of making a push on late-term bans and informed choice politically easier. After all, there is no need to sacrifice mainstream pro-life policies to an ideological agenda that simply can't be implemented right away, wouldn't you agree? But the catch is that I expect for the pro-life candidate to be active and aggressive on these mainstream issues (like PBA) after he has moderated.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 2:35:48 PM PDT · 67 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    That is "an attempt at political indoctrination", by the raw plain meaning of those terms. Again, why not just admit it?

    Because it is not political indoctrination! If we teach children to respect life, is that political? If we teach them not to steal or to have generally good values, there is nothing political in that. It just happens that the legality of abortion is currently a political issue. Please try and separate the act from the political debate over it's legality.

    Anyway, in your case, you do want to ban abortion, right? So it's a little disingenuous to argue this way, "just because I want to discourage abortion doesn't mean I want to ban it". But you do!

    I am not hiding the fact that I am pro-life, and neither would a candidate supporting this policy. If moderates wish to support this policy, not because they wish to ultimately ban abortion, but because they wish to see the numbers go down, that is just fine. They will know that the pro-life candidate agrees with their desire to reduce abortions, but would go further in terms of legal restrictions. There is nothing at all wrong with people supporting the same policy for different reasons. If it ever gets to the point where abortion is finally banned, that will occur only after a consensus has been formed -- and the pro-life candidate is free to remind voters of that. But the "slippery slope" argument hasn't kept masses of pro-choicers from supporting the ban on partial-birth abortion, and it shouldn't interfere here either.

    "Confidence" that flies in the face of facts is more properly termed "delusion", I think. (I am "confident" that I can step off this building and fly off into the air!)

    Now you're just being silly. Confidence in the pro-life message means that you believe that when people know the truth, they will ultimately turn against abortion. This is the confidence that congressional pro-lifers demonstrated in their attempt to ban partial-birth abortion. They knew that when the public became aware of this atrocity, even the pro-choicers would respond. Similarly, we must be confident that abortion can be defeated through spreading the truth of exactly what it is and what it does to children. Without this confidence, we are paralyzed and impotent -- which just so happens to be the current state of the California pro-life movement, unfortunately.

    Now, regarding your strategy, I can't see how an elected politician who never mentions abortion is going to inspire the public to be against it (???). Ronald Reagan, you're right, didn't achieve much legislatively. He did, however, run for president both times fully embracing his pro-life position. He articulated it eloquently and won in landslides, even in California and other liberal states. Now, as much as I respect Ronald Reagan, he did not accomplish anything at all lasting for the pro-life movement. Indeed, the abortion rate continued to grow under Reagan and pro-choice public support reached a peak only a couple of years after he left office (interestingly, the abortion rate declined and pro-life support increased under Clinton). That just proves that leaders setting "examples" is not enough, and may actually be irrelevant. We need concrete programs and policies designed to create change. Electing pro-life politicians is not an end in itself. I don't see how you can possibly believe that the mere fact that a pro-lifer sits in some high office is going to compel the people to not have abortions, but fine.

    Look, I think it's clear that you don't believe that the pro-life position is a winner politically, or even can be a winner politically. I disagree profoundly. I believe that, if handled correctly, this issue can actually be used to elect Republicans in most parts of the country. You also clearly believe that Simon is being shrewd in his "dodge and run" strategy on the issue (I know you won't like to call it that, but that's exactly what it is). I happen to believe that will only turn off precisely the people who got him the nomination. Pro-lifers don't want to vote for someone who creates the impression that he is ashamed to be pro-life, and who clearly wishes the issue would go away. If Simon suffers the same problem that GW Bush (who also ran from the abortion issue) had to deal with in the presidential election (the fact that millions of conservative Christian voters he had counted on didn't show up to vote for him - Source: Rove), then this abortion strategy will be primarily to blame, in my opinion.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 11:02:30 AM PDT · 65 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    You're right, of course. I'm just jumping ahead to how it will be spun.

    Again, the fear of the media and the leftist spinmeisters. They succeed only if pro-lifers let them. I've told you how this should be spun. To be against informed choice is to be against choice. But, yes it has to be argued aggressively that way -- the left won't automatically agree (surprise!).

    Here, you're less right. It is an attempt at political indoctrination. That's the whole point and the whole reason you'd like to see it happen. You want to "change the culture" by "mandating" from the governor's chair that students be taught certain things. Right? That's the definition of political indoctrination.

    Nonsense. It is human development education that serves the purpose of informing people about matters which are extremely relevant to their lives, since so many of them have, or procure, abortions. Whether someone is pro-life or pro-choice, they can easily see the value of it. If you see political indoctrination here, it's only because you have been convinced by the pro-abortion press that discouraging abortion is automatically equated with wanting to ban it. I will remind you that there are many pro-choicers who believe abortion is wrong and would be receptive to the idea of discouraging it through education. Many of them are right here on FR.

    "We" will lose whether or not we are cowards, if we engage in campaign strategies which do not acknowledge reality.

    Prescisely, Dr. Frank! And the political reality is that the majority of people, even in your state, are not rabidly pro-abortion. The fact is that, despite your assurances, we don't know how the public would respond to a pro-life agenda of this sort -- one that concentrates on cultural change, instead of first trimester abortion bans. Polls indicate that, at least nationally, the general concept of informed choice is very strongly supported by the people (upwards of 75%), and it can't be that much different in California (if it is, please cite the poll -- not a Field poll, please). Now, you have made it clear that you "could be wrong" about this, but we'll never know until we try, will we? All I'm asking is that we be a little open minded and show some spine.

    You keep implicitly accusing me of "wanting" pro-life ideas to fail. This is very funny. Based on what (other than paranoia) can you possibly be saying such things?

    Perhaps you're right. It's just that you don't seem terribly confident about pro-life issues. I hope that you're not a passive pro-lifer, because they really aren't of any more use than the "personally opposed" pro-choicers. But, I apologize if I've offended you.

    I guess I'm not as pessimistic as you are. I still think there's hope if we are patient and adopt pragmatic strategies.

    Ok, now this is good. What "pragmatic strategies" are you referring to, Dr. Frank? Would one of these strategies be to "change the subject" and run from the abortion issue? Tell me, how exactly are we to expect pro-life victories in the future if we never talk about abortion? You have insisted that the cultural efforts I've suggested will be politically impossible, so how can we possibly expect that any restrictions of any meaning will ever be achievable? If you are not "politically unsophisticated," then you know that cultural change is necessary before any lasting enforceable law can be put into place. Is it just going to happen? Is California and the rest of the country just going to awaken one morning and realize that we're right about abortion? I've actually suggested the policies that are needed to build the ultimate victory for the pro-life movement by changing the culture. You claim optimism, but show no plan that would call for it.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/30/2002 12:41:36 AM PDT · 63 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    No, I didn't. Why do you suppose I did? I already mentioned earlier on this thread that I agree that a ban on PBA is not as controversial (with the public as opposed to the media) as (say) a statewide mandate to teach pro-life lessons to public school students would be.

    Teaching children about the developmental facts of fetal life is not a "pro-life lesson." It is the teaching of scientific truth. If the truth happens to impact negatively on abortion, then how sad for the abortionists. But to imply that teaching fact is an attempt at political indoctrination is nonsense. And if the pro-abortionists try to do it, they can be easily refuted. Now, if we're cowards who retreat to our foxholes every time our enemies utter a nasty word at us, then yes, Dr. Frank, we will lose. Good to hear you support Simon pushing hard on the PBA issue. Perhaps you'll be able to explain why he didn't if he successfully lives down to my expectations.

    I was just rephrasing your proposed policy. helmsman in post #31: "Why not mandate that all public school children, at regular intervals, be taught and reminded that unborn children are human beings too."

    I'm not running for office, Dr. Frank. I described the policy as I see it from my perspective. You rephrased it atrociously, perhaps because you would actually like the idea to fail. After you gave your version, I presented the policy as any politically sophisticated candidate would.

    Now, you claim that this fetal dev-ed policy would be seen as extreme by the public and by the media you seem to fear so. But a reasonable pro-choicer would find it difficult to find anything wrong with this particular policy, or even with the general concept of discouraging abortion through education. The lessons would contain no pictures of butchered babies or even mention abortion at all. They would simply present scientifically accurate facts about the process of fetal development, concentrating on those characteristics which testify most strongly to the child's humanity. Unlike the cursory attention that might be paid to this subject in a high-school biology class, this lesson plan would include films, photos, ultrasound footage, fetal heartbeat recordings, brainwave measurements, etc. Nothing misleading or deceptive, just the truth and plenty of it. Now, you seem to believe that proposing something as innocuous as this would be deadly politically, but I find that ridiculous. If pro-life politicians are so weak and timid that they cannot even defend the concept of public awareness regarding unborn life, then there is no hope at all.

    For what it's worth I agree with you that the way you rephrased this proposal in post #59 sounds much better from a political/PR standpoint.

    Splendid. Perhaps if you were more open minded, you would have thought to put it that way yourself.

    Exactly my point. It doesn't! (Any more than it matters what the opinions about tax policy are of the town Dog Catcher.)

    I refuse to revisit your ridiculous Dog Catcher. Governors can sign anti-abortion policies into law, Dog Catchers cannot give me a tax cut. Simon certainly can, as governor, change the pro-abortion direction of California. He has, thus far, indicated that he will avoid the issue. That is what makes him virtually as worthless as Riordan.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/29/2002 7:40:02 PM PDT · 59 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    However, even Courageous Newt didn't do a whole lot about abortion that I can recall.

    On the contrary, Newt Gingrich's revolutionaries were the ones who had the nerve to introduce the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which set off a national debate over late abortions and their consequences to the child. This, in turn, created cultural change. Not only did it grow pro-life public support generally and solidify the social consensus against late abortions, but it also made the pro-life agenda politically easier to accomplish by showing those in this country who are not pro-life exactly why pro-lifers are. All of a sudden, we weren't a bunch of woman-hating neanderthals, we were possibly a group of humanitarians legitimately concerned about the suffering of children. We were "on to something," as the liberal columnist Richard Cohen put it. But, I suppose you also disapproved of taking the political risks involved in pushing this ban, didn't you?

    Please, just try to imagine a gubernatorial candidate saying in a debate "I think it should be mandated that every public school student be taught that life begins at conception, and I will make this mandate my first priority as governor." This is not welfare reform we're talking about.

    I wouldn't expect a pro-life candidate to put it in those terms, anymore than I would expect a pro-abortion candidate to say "I think it should be mandated that every public school student be taught that life begins at birth, and that abortion is therefore morally justifiable." The pro-abortion candidate would not say this, even though that is essentially what he supports and what is already going on in many schools. A more sophisticated way to sell this pro-life policy would be to turn the concept of choice back on the pro-abortionists by saying "There can be no choice in abortion if the decision is made by a woman without a full understanding of the developmental issues concerning the unborn child. While abortion is currently legal in this state, it should never be practiced in ignorance. I, therefore, support a full range of common sense policies designed to educate the public about fetal development and abortion alternatives so that we may insure that women, and those who counsel them, are making an educated and informed choice they can live with." There, you see, doesn't that sound a lot better? Now, tell me, are you this politically unsophisticated on all issues, or just abortion? Perhaps you're better at welfare reform?

    The conclusion is clear, his [Simon's] personal beliefs are what they are but he has no intention of violating the power of his position

    And he would not be violating his position as governor at all by aggressively advocating informed consent, a partial-birth abortion ban, and cultural initiatives to reduce abortions. And what does it matter if his "personal beliefs" are pro-life if he won't act on them? I hear that Richard Riordan is also supposedly "personally opposed" to abortion. And, of course, he too would have done nothing as governor to stop or reduce the practice. So, we agree then that, as it stands, there really is no serious difference between Riordan and Simon on this issue, right?

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/29/2002 3:32:39 PM PDT · 56 of 86
    helmsman to lentulusgracchus
    Very interesting. I will seriously consider your friendly critique.
  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/29/2002 1:09:41 PM PDT · 54 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    A Governor Simon from 2002-2006 likely would not make much headway for the pro-life movement. I suppose I agree.

    Despite the fact that he could, if he so chose. Sad.

    Single-issue pro-lifer voters have a long and frustrating road ahead of them in general, of course, no matter what the race or candidates.

    Unmistakably true, so long as their standards are so low.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/29/2002 12:29:37 PM PDT · 43 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    During the reproduction unit my bio teacher didn't mince words and even showed us color slides of cut-up unborn babies, in class.

    Outstanding. Now, when it becomes mandatory for everyone, we can celebrate.

    Anyway, I think what's been established is the following: Simon is pro-life, he never "reversed" himself about this, and your main disagreement with him is really over election strategy.

    I will give you that he has not reversed himself. However, as I said, his position is next to useless for the pro-life cause. If a single-issue pro-lifer is planning on voting for him out of a belief that he will actively fight to reduce abortions or lead cultural change, then they need to think long and hard. Would Simon be marginally better than Davis? Of course. But if pro-life voters don't start demanding more, then this is all we'll ever get -- weak pro-life politicians who "hold the line," but never advance the cause. And considering where the line is currently, that's not an appealing prospect.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/29/2002 11:41:01 AM PDT · 39 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    No. But I do believe that any candidate suggesting that public school children be forcibly taught a pro-life message would become demonized in no seconds flat and that the demonization would have teeth (meaning, he would lose). Perhaps you disagree. Very well.

    You have been so clearly petrified by the pro-abortion media that you believe advocating a simple biology lesson for children is going to doom a pro-life candidate. Get control of your wobbling knees for one moment and think about it. If this is considered too extreme, then there might as well be no pro-life movement at all. Perhaps you'd like that.

    Do you honestly think it would work?

    Yes. Do you honestly think the media represents public opinion?

    "And as for Simon supporting CPCs, I haven't heard or read of him promising state money to any of them."
    -----Oh. Well then therefore he can't possibly really be pro-life. Got it!

    So, you can't produce a quote? I see.

    This is getting to be a pretty dumb argument; now, somehow your ignorance and lack of knowledge about a guy's campaign in a state you don't even live in is proof positive of the non-pro-life credentials of a (quite obviously and blatantly pro-life) candidate, apparently.

    Pardon me if I momentarily recoil at being called ignorant by someone who thinks a dog catcher has the same power over taxes that a governor has over abortion. To educate you with just one example, informed consent requirements, which are typically sought and signed into law by governors at the state level, have been proven to reduce abortions by as much as 50% in some states. When you can show that a dog catcher has been able to reduce taxes by 50%, my esteem for your level of knowledge will increase.

    Let's get real. Simon is as pro-life as they come, especially in California. The fact that you doubt this is laughable, and I don't seriously believe you believe he's not pro-life. Obviously you adopt for the purpose of a pose a very purist standard for who qualifies as "really" pro-life, but the question remains whether any human beings (besides presumably yourself, and Alan Keyes) would actually qualify.

    Interesting fiction. But you clearly do not know enough about my opinions or positions to form any intelligent picture of my standards for politicians, on abortion or anything else. Actually, and it may shock your simplistic conclusions, I'm not so concerned with the ideological rigidity that characterizes so many pro-life "extremists." For example, I would have happily voted for George Allen in Virginia, even though he was technically not fully pro-life. He showed that he was willing to fight, to attack pro-abortion extremism, and that means so much more than the hollow "pro-life" position of the trembling Mr. Bill Simon and his sycophant followers.

    Since you operate from such a narrowly defined definition of the term "pro-life", a discussion like this gets very irritating very fast, and I apologize in advance for the crudeness of some of my remarks (including in this post).

    You're right. I apologize for mine as well (including in this post).

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/28/2002 9:36:48 PM PDT · 37 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    1: Anyway, I'm still trying to understand where is the "reversal" in all this.

    2: because you are dissatisfied with the strength of his rhetoric doesn't mean he has "reversed" himself.

    3: I fail to see why this electoral reality should add up to me disliking Simon or concluding that he "reversed" himself.

    4: Anyway, having granted all that, where is the "reversal" in all this? I still don't see it.

    5: Actually, you said something much different before: that he unofficially "reverse[d] his stance" on the issue, remember?

    6: Anyway, so where is the "reversal", again? I'm still a little unclear on that point.

    7: Anyway, I certainly don't see how Simon's failure to advocate these things can be construed as a "reversal".

    Are you through? Would you like to test the boundaries of annoyance and ask me one more time? You are obviously hooked on a word. Perhaps you're right that Simon has not reversed his position on abortion. He was clearly never pro-life to begin with. If his position is that, while he theoretically opposes abortion, he will do nothing as governor to reduce abortions or cause cultural change, then he is effectively for the status quo. Since abortion is quite legal, and quite well practiced, the status quo is certainly not to the pro-lifer's liking. A governor can indeed actively promote mainstream pro-life issues that will advance the cause and reduce abortions, but, you're right, that would require that he care enough to expend some political capital to do it. Simon is communicating that he is unwilling. That doesn't make him uncommon among politicians, unfortunately, but it does make him operationally pro-abortion.

    I agree with you to a certain extent (and, I suspect Simon does too) about some (more moderate) issues - PBA, parental notification, etc. But these two ideas would simply be considered too "extreme" and "controversial", and the media would have a hissy fit - and I think you know it.

    So what? The media can kiss mine. They didn't like it when the congressional Republicans pushed the federal PBA ban, but that didn't negate it's substantial cultural impact, did it? Do you believe the Republican Party should check in with Ed Bradley and Dan Rather before deciding on it's agenda?

    In principle, I guess I agree with you that a Governor Simon "could" theoretically do these things (public school life education, media anti-abortion campaign). But certainly not without becoming Governor first. And there's the rub, you see.

    I think you're underestimating the appeal to most voters of a non-restrictive pro-life agenda that seeks only cultural change in the short term. Surely, you don't believe the California media appraisal of the degree to which Californians worship abortion, do you? But, of course, we won't find out if something like this will fly in California unless a candidate actually runs on such an agenda. Until then, all we have are the assurances of Dr. Frank that it won't work.

    And as for Simon supporting CPCs, I haven't heard or read of him promising state money to any of them. I don't live in California, so I may have missed it. If he has, please, by all means, post the quote where he commits himself to seeking a specific dollar amount of state funding for these centers. If he has taken such a position, I will eat every negative word I've said or written about him regarding his position on abortion. That's all I've ever really asked for. That he fight the fight in some meaningful way.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/28/2002 4:25:56 PM PDT · 31 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    When I claim that Simon has unofficially changed his stance, I am basing that claim on what the candidate himself, or his campaign officials, have stated will be his policies as governor. According to them, abortion is not an issue that the governor will have much power over. Apart from the fact that this is untrue, it clearly sends an unmistakable signal that he is not interested in this issue, and will certainly not exert much of an effort to enact any pro-life legislation. I conclude, therefore, that he is operationally pro-choice. No matter what he says he believes in, the end result of his time as governor will be abortion on demand with a strong-as-ever abortion culture to feed it, no different than what exists right now.

    ...send a parental notification bill to a Governor Simon's desk and I reckon he'd sign it. (Leaving aside for the moment that with the current and foreseeable makeup of the state legislature this won't happen...) Presumably you think he would veto it (what else can you mean by accusing him of having "reversed his stance"?). This, I deny.

    Here you show how narrowly you evidently view the abortion conflict. Abortion is much more than a war over legalities, bans, restrictions, or policies of the state. It is also, and perhaps primarily, a cultural struggle, which can be influenced by discussion and debate. In a previous post, I pointed out public opinion gains that the pro-life movement enjoyed during and after the national partial-birth abortion debate. The pro-life congressmen who fought for the ban on PBA were very aware that the Supreme Court would likely strike the ban down if passed. They also must have known that, even if the ban had gone into effect, the doomed babies that had been scheduled for a partial-birth abortion would simply have been rescheduled for an alternative abortion procedure just as vile. They would still die. But true pro-lifers fought for the ban anyway because they knew that the debate would move the focus of the abortion debate to ground where the pro-life side was strong, and also that discussing the vile procedure would change people's minds about all abortion. They were absolutely right, a fact easily confirmed by reviewing most recent polls done on the subject.

    So, what I mean when I say that Simon is not truly pro-life, is that he will not fight the battles that will advance the pro-life cause politically and culturally -- because he has, himself, given every indication that he will not. Why, then, should pro-lifers enthusiastically support his candidacy? When he will be nothing but a neutral force? And, yes, yes, I know he will sign pro-life legislation that comes to him. But he will not fight for it, and that makes all the difference! He will not move the pro-life cause by attacking pro-abortion extremism in the legislature and in his political opponents. He could do this easily by calling for a ban on PBA, or for other mainstream pro-life policies, and aggressively fighting for them. Would these bills make it through the legislature? Of course not. But the debate would be devastating to the abortionists culturally and, ultimately, politically as well! So, to advance the pro-life cause, which is what I expect pro-life politicians to do, they must fight by attacking the pro-abortionists where they are weak. Simon has not shown he is willing to do that, and I refuse to close my eyes, cross my fingers, and hope that he will.

    "Plenty", huh? Wow, that sure sounds like a lot. Can you name some other things on this long list besides a strengthened parental notification law (which stands no chance of being written, currently)?

    I'm so glad you asked. I have suggested several cultural initiatives in the past that could be sponsored by government to reduce demand for abortion. Now, before I start, I will warn you that nearly all of the following involve expenditures of tax money. If you see a problem with that, then you can blame the Supreme Court for forcing it to this. But spending money can be just as effective as passing statutes, so it's not really so bad. If you are at all familiar with the crisis pregnancy center establishment, you will know that they already do an excellent job of dissuading women from having abortions. The problem is that they lack sufficient resources to do this on a large enough scale where it would have a profound impact on the numbers. This should be the first position any pro-life candidate for anything should commit to -- supporting government funding, either state or federal, for CPCs at a level that would allow them to discourage abortion to substantial effect. This can be done with no intervention from the courts, since the Supreme Court has made it clear that the government is within it's rights to favor childbirth over abortion, so long as abortion remains legal. Another policy that could have profound cultural effects in reducing abortions is that of fetal-development education in the public schools. Why not mandate that all public school children, at regular intervals, be taught and reminded that unborn children are human beings too. This would obviously serve to remove the rampant ignorance that exists, particularly among the young, about the developmental realities that exist concerning the unborn. This program could be financed by government and required as compulsory for all schools that receive grants of any kind from the state or federal government.

    Then there are other policies that could be modeled after current cultural efforts the government is already undertaking in other areas. For example, the state of California seems to have decided that it wishes to discourage smoking by launching media campaigns warning people not to do it. Well, then why not discourage abortion in the same way? Yes, in fact, this could be done nationally as well. Run some ads, on a sustained basis, that tell people that abortion is, oh the scandal, wrong! Then direct them to alternative options. No restriction here, no violation of the "right-to-choose," but I'd bet the reductions in abortion numbers would be noteworthy.

    So, you see, there is, in fact, plenty that any government in the United States could do, including the state government of California, to reduce abortions now. To make cultural change happen that will lead to abortion's extinction as a mainstream practice. But, this will only happen if pro-life politicians fight.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/28/2002 2:19:08 PM PDT · 25 of 86
    helmsman to Dr. Frank
    That's not a "strategy", it's the truth. Are you familiar with our system of government and the recent history of Supreme Court decisions relating to the issue of abortion?

    There we are. Read my posts before offering your gems, sir.

  • "California Republicans may be on the verge of a remarkable comeback"-- L. Nofziger

    04/28/2002 2:11:36 PM PDT · 24 of 86
    helmsman to CyberAnt
    then why are you so intent on blaming him for doing nothing - when in fact he cannot do anything UNTIL HE'S GOVERNOR!

    Because he's not fighting, CyberAnt. When a "pro-life" politician is attacked for his position and runs instead of fights, that tells me he is timid on the issue. That tells me that he will not fight for the cause when in office, because the political realities that made him timid in the campaign will still be present when he's elected.

    But abortion is popular in California, you say? Well, partial-birth abortion is not. Why doesn't Simon respond by attacking Gray Death on this issue? It's politically safe and would advance the pro-life cause in California by forcing people to face the violent and vile nature of abortion. In fact, the congressional PBA debate actually caused a substantial increase in pro-life support nationally, even though no legislation went into force. The mere debate over late abortions changes minds in our favor, but politicians like Bill Simon won't talk about it at all because he is afraid.

    As an example of those politicians who fight, I'll offer George Allen of Virginia. In his recent senate race against Chuck Robb, he was attacked on abortion. How did he respond? Why, he launched retaliatory ads that attacked Robb for his extremism in supporting PBA and opposing every reasonable abortion restriction. He won. And, do you know what's ironic about this? Allen wasn't even officially pro-life! He supports legal abortion in very early pregnancy. So, I say, if a pro-life politician won't stand by his position and defend it by turning the tables on a vulnerable pro-abortion extremist, he deserves to be doubted in his claimed pro-life allegiance.