WASHINGTON — After long defining itself as an undisputed defender of abortion rights, the Democratic Party is suddenly locked in an internal struggle over whether to redefine its position to appeal to a broader array of voters.
The fight is a central theme of the contest to head the Democratic National Committee, particularly between two leading candidates: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who supports abortion rights, and former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, an abortion foe who argues that the party cannot rebound from its losses in the November election unless it shows more tolerance on one of society's most emotional conflicts.
Roemer is running with the encouragement of the party's two highest-ranking members of Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Dean, a former presidential candidate, is popular with the party's liberal wing.
If Roemer were to succeed Terry McAuliffe as Democratic chairman in the Feb. 10 vote, the party long viewed as the guardian of abortion rights would suddenly have two antiabortion advocates at its helm. Reid, too, opposes abortion and once voted for a nonbinding resolution opposing Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
I can't believe it. Of course, it's nowhere close to definite, since Dean is a formidable opponent. But it sounds like there is a growing moevement in the Democratic party toward Democrats who are pro-life, or at least not rabidly pro-choice.
Of course, this isn't going to make me a Democrat overnight. There are still the issues of the war on terror, secularism, the economy, and general sanity :P. But if abortion gets taken off of that list, it definitely opens me up a little more to vote for Dems every once in a while, of course depending on the candidate.
So I suddenly have a dog in the DNC Chair fight. GO ROEMER!