January 22, 2013

Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel "say one of the things that really politicized the abortion issue was the efforts of those working to re-elect President Richard Nixon in 1972."

"His aides, including future Republican presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, wanted to lure Northern Catholic voters, who had traditionally voted Democratic, over to the Republican Party."
Nixon "was strongly advised by his strategists ... to make a play for a Northern urban Catholic Democratic vote," says Greenhouse. "A kind of Northern strategy that mirrored the Southern strategy."

In fact, up until then, top Republicans tended to be more in favor of abortion rights than Democrats, including, for much of his first term, Nixon himself....

So, taking his aides' advice, Nixon switched sides on abortion, even reversing an earlier relaxation of an abortion ban in military facilities.

71 comments:

Brew Master said...

Unprincipled politicians... Are there any other kind?

The cynic in me thinks that knee-jerk opposition is such a factor now in our political society that a proponent of a particular issue should stand against it, in order to gin up support from their opponents.

Reverse psychology to push your actual agenda?

Jay said...

Wow, after all these years, and him being dead, they really, really still hate Nixon.

Shouting Thomas said...

There isn't anything unprincipled about embracing a faction of the electorate by representing an issue they endorse.

Democrats embrace all sorts of policies for the express purpose of winning the block black vote that, I think, they would not endorse otherwise.

Politics isn't about moral principles. It's about the representation of the self-interests of different constituencies in the political marketplace.

Bryan C said...

So, by paying attention to Catholic Democrats who felt abandoned by their party and powerless in the wake of a Constitutionally nonsensical court decision, the Republicans were crassly "politicizing" the issue.

In Greenhouse's world the issue was all settled, then those uppity voters came along and started acting like they had a say. The nerve.

gadfly said...

So I am to conclude that only those of us over the age of 60 are affected by this abortion issue.

Prior to Roe v Wade, no one could find a clause in the constitution to permit baby-killing but no one remembers that the act of aborting fetuses is murder and that the constitution provides no authority for any other interpretation.

So let us have another academic discussion led by those who believe that that "right" triumphs life.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think though that they give away the game - that the Dems did exactly the same thing, moving from opposition to abortion to fervent support of unlimited abortion. The Republicans picked up a lot of the more religious Roman Catholics, and the Dems picked up a lot of liberal Republicans.

I had been thinking recently about how the Republican Party had gone so far in picking up Roman Catholics during my lifetime. Growing up, one of my father's law partners had JFK by his house when he was running for the Presidency. The partner was Irish and the county Dem chair at the time. He died a number of years later, still a registered Democrat, but admitted that he had not voted for a Dem at the state or national level for a number of years. But, back when JFK was running, ethnic Catholics were mostly Dems, much of that, I suspect, coming out of their working their way up in big city political machines.

So, we now have 6 Roman Catholics and 3 Jews on the Supreme Court. The conservative 5, all Roman Catholic, were appointed by Republican Presidents. The sixth is a Hispanic woman - a twofer in Dem politics. Some turnaround over the last 50 years.

TosaGuy said...

No worries, Ms. Greenhouse. Catholics have now "evolved" and abortion is now relegated to the condiment area of the Catholic cafeteria.

YoungHegelian said...

Notice that the article quotes stats that claim that views on abortion haven't changed much over the years. Does that mean that lay Catholic views on abortion haven't changed much either?

In spite of the RC clergy's constant opposition to abortion, the Catholic laity are pretty much like their neighbors in their views on abortion.

Which brings me to my point: Greenhouse & Siegel present no evidence that northern Catholics were open to being courted by an anti-abortion politician. They just assume that the laity is anti-abortion, which isn't true now, and hasn't been for as long as I have been paying attention to the issue (i.e. 1975).

I think the claim of a "Northern Catholic strategy" is an historical fable, one that I wouldn't put it past Greenhouse to make up out of whole cloth.

BarrySanders20 said...

So Nixon switching sides to win votes is equal to or exceeds the politicization of SCOTUS declaring that all states must allow unrestricted abortion (in the first trimester) thereby sweeping away state law and displcing voter participation on the issue, and, in subsequent decisions, all states must allow any and all abortions on demand if the mother claims mental or psychological distress from pregnancy, including, as our current president supports, the partial birth variety of viable feti.

I don't think Linda Greenhouse is giving us the whole truth.

chickelit said...

Was Nixon's decision an electoral disaster in 1972?

Greenhouse's concerted swipe at Catholics and Southerners is conflated indigestion.

MadisonMan said...

Well, they can't blame Bush. I guess blaming Nixon is a good enough alternative.

Bruce Hayden said...

So, by paying attention to Catholic Democrats who felt abandoned by their party and powerless in the wake of a Constitutionally nonsensical court decision, the Republicans were crassly "politicizing" the issue.

I think that it was really both parties moving to attract the other party's dissatisfied voters that happened here. Libs like Greenhouse did just as much, if not more, to polarize the debate as did Nixon. Probably more, as evidenced by the Sandra Flake story during the last election.

BarrySanders20 said...

Bruce, that was a Fluke.

Inga said...

Poll, for the first time the majority want abortion to be legal

An NBC/ Wall Street Journal Poll

Skyler said...

I guess there are no principles involved in the abortion issue, only politics.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

More war on babies. Babies don't fight back. The old timers wont fight back either after their guns are taken away.

Then the Neo-Malthusians will be half way to achieving their goal of killing off the surplus 6 billion souls world wide using the intentional ending of cheap carbon based energy and resulting production of cheap food. This is to save Mother Earth from getting too crowded. Then the Pandemics have been developed and are held in reserve to be loosed as needed.

Emptying most of the planet of population sounds so ...scientific.

All that is missing is the chain of Lebensborn Camps to repopulate the empty spaces.

Jay said...

Inga said...


An NBC/ Wall Street Journal Poll


Um, you may want to look at the data in the graphic in this poll and get back to us.

Some 31% of respondents in the poll said abortion should always be legal, and 9% believed it should be illegal without any exceptions. Between those two opinions are the 23% who thought it should be legal most of the time, but with some exceptions, and the 35% who felt it should be illegal except in circumstances of rape, incest and to save a woman's life.

narciso said...

So was this before or after, Weddington and co, misrepresented
Jane Roe's case, in order to expedite it through the Texas courts.

BarrySanders20 said...

That link Inga and chicklit posted has the 1/22/1973 news footage about the decision. It is fascinating to watch, given the 40 years that followed ("the moral crusade will never end"). It makes very clear that much larger forces were at work than Nixon changing sides in a campaign to capture some northern Catholic votes. To cite Nixon as the key pivot to politicization is grossly dishonest.

Cato Renasci said...

I was working in the 1972 campaign for Nixon in California. Over the course of the campaign, we really did see a large influx of new volunteers who were unlike any Republicans I'd ever seen: they were all extremely socially conservative Roman Catholics who were single issue anti-abortion voters.

There was no question they were enthusiastic and willing to work hard, stuffing envelopes, making calls, going door to door, whatever. But, boy, did they change the atmosphere in the party headquarters and make many of us "traditional" Republicans very uncomfortable.

Most of the Republicans I knew in the '50s and '60s were fiscally conservative, and strong on defense. Most were personally, in their own behavior socially fairly conservative, but took an almost quasi-libertarian attitude towards government action on these points. Most favored civil rights (but never affirmative action) and supported the '64 Civil Rights Act, and most favored at least limited legalization of abortion. I knew at least one staunch Republican matron who'd smoked pot in the '20s (when it was still legal), and thought all the drug laws were stupid.

YoungHegelian said...

The other thing that jumps out at me as obvious is, if there was a Northern Catholic Strategy, why not base it on what the Southern Strategy was (supposedly) based on: race.

Does Greenhouse really think that northern blue-collar Catholic ethnics weren't racist back in the 1970's? Not racist in a Jim Crow kind of way, but racist in a "why don't we all just stick with our own kind" way. Really?

Inga said...

54% is still the majority Jay, do the math.

Jay said...

Inga said...
54% is still the majority Jay, do the math


Or, you could read "Legal with some exceptions" and see that the headline is a bit misleading.

Holmes said...

Yeah, man, if he hadn't had done that, we'd probably all accept abortion today, because most of us take our moral cues from Nixon.

n.n said...

gadfly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Our national charter establishes that our Creator endowed unalienable rights are from creation. The various abortion movements, including: eugenics, Roe vs Wade, and the euphemistic "reproductive rights", are all strictly illegal in America, irrespective of legalization through the Supreme Court and rationalization through political policies.

The "original compromise" has long corrupted people's perspective of unalienable rights.

At best, the Fourteenth Amendment authorizes the termination of a life with cause and after due process of law. This is, of course, justified, when the rights of individuals are irreconcilable, for example in the commission of murder.

The "personhood" argument is irrelevant to this issue. A human life is recognized to possess a right to life from "creation", which is presumably conception, but may require further qualification as biological or conscious.

The normalization of elective abortion (i.e. premeditated murder) poses an even greater threat to the integrity of civilized society than slavery (i.e. constrained liberty and involuntary exploitation). This is not simply a "social issue". It is a fundamental issue which establishes the value that we, as a society, assign to a human life.

Jay said...

So Inga, let me help you out.

Poll: Overwhelming majority favor abortion restrictions.

Thanks for particpating.

edutcher said...

Good one, Jay. Oop will twist anything - not that an Peacock poll won't on its own.

But, as to Nixon, it was already politicized. As Shout notes, he took advantage of it the way the Demos started catering to the homosexuals at about the same time.

Jay said...

Wow, after all these years, and him being dead, they really, really still hate Nixon.

People started confusing Joe McCarthy with Gene.

Inga said...

Jay, you can continue to try to misrepresent the what the poll plainly says, but I won't waste another comment on you.

mccullough said...

Interesting that at the end of the story it said that only 44% of those under 30 know the case deals with abortion. 16% think its about school desegregation.

garage mahal said...

Um, you may want to look at the data in the graphic in this poll and get back to us.


It's skewed! Dem +9. Garble blargh see Gallup blarggh garble.

This will be a bloodbath on par with what happened to Mondale....

!!!!!!!

X said...

the women that get them aren't fit to be mothers.

if we must have it, there should be regulation.

YoungHegelian said...

@Cato,

....they were all extremely socially conservative Roman Catholics who were single issue anti-abortion voters.

When I was in Catholic school in Alabama in the mid 60's through mid 70's, the lay teachers were all from the Midwest or the Plains.

They were all extremely socially conservative & were, to a woman, solid Democrats. After Roe v Wade, they remained Democrat, but the party's deepening acceptance of abortion was a major thorn in their political lives. But, until their deaths, they remained Democrats.

Titus said...


This will be a bloodbath on par with what happened to Mondale....

LOL=stupid facts.

narciso said...

So, Greenhouse who does attend these pro abortion protests, and then considers herself unbiased, comes up with a bogus argument, Saffire was prescient by the way, the Court gave abortion, Carter gave them amnesty.
and I think they poured the acid into the reservour,

BarrySanders20 said...

I just reviewed the Republican Party platform for 1972. Not one mentin about abortion that I saw.

The 1976 platform contains one clause, amidst many others, that says the party takes a stance in support of human life.

Lots of other intersting stuff, too. This from the 1972 Republican platform:

To assure access to basic medical care for all our people, we support a program financed by employers, employees and the Federal Government to provide comprehensive health insurance coverage, including insurance against the cost of long-term and catastrophic illnesses and accidents and renal failure which necessitates dialysis, at a cost which all Americans can afford. The National Health Insurance Partnership plan and the Family Health Insurance Plan proposed by the President meet these specifications. They would build on existing private health insurance systems, not destroy them.


We oppose nationalized compulsory health insurance. This approach would at least triple in taxes the amount the average citizen now pays for health and would deny families the right to choose the kind of care they prefer. Ultimately it would lower the overall quality of health care for all Americans.

Chuck said...

It's funny how you never see this phrase in print: "In their own attempt at a 'Southern Strategy,' Democrats have aligned themselves with the movement to legalize gay marriage." Or, "The Democrats' 'Southern Strategy' for the 21st century has been to align the party with immigrant laborers, even though they might undercut the wages of party-loyal union members."

I'd like to hear more about the Democrats' Southern Strategies. After all, the Democrats presided over the broad sweep of Jim Crow politics in the south.

Mike said...

Thank GOD Democrats never stake out a position on abortion for political reasons! Or make up flimsy slogans like pro-choice! Nope. Not them.

TosaGuy said...

Pundits never get around to the simplest explanation for Nixon's victory was that McGovern was a horrible candidate.

Kansas City said...

The abortion decision was a horrible decision legally and morally. The internal papers of the justices show an embarassing and ignorant group of old men making a policy decision. And Blackman's decision was a joke, focused on the doctor when he was granting abortion on demand rights to women. I wonder how much fear he (and other justices) are in are they face death and realize they may be held accountable for their action. I would think that any person who sincerely believed in some type of post death judgment by God could not endorse abortion.

As to events on earth, I think the actions of politicians post Roe are almost as bad as the justices. Pro-life democrats swtiched merely for political reasons. Republicans (although less prominently) did the same. Aside from it being very bad constitutional law (on which all intelligent persons should agree), the politics are strange and really could not have been predicted. Democrats went pro-abortion because they were controlled by the feminist interest group. Republicans went anti-abortion, as far as I could tell, because the democrats favored it and there was a block of religious voters to be had. On the issue of liberty, conservative republicans otherwise would have supported the "choice" of a mother to abort a baby, while democrats wiht their professed compassion for the disadvantaged, would have been strongly anti-abortion.

Jay said...

Inga said...
Jay, you can continue to try to misrepresent the what the poll plainly says,


I've done no such thing.

See, when you have:
9% believing abortion should be illegal in all circumstances;
35% believing abortion should only be legal in the case of rape;
23% believing abortion should be legal with some exceptions

That adds up to an overwhelming majority favoring abortion restrictions.

Since you can't refute this, you wave your (fat) arms and say "I'm not talking to you"

Of course pretending is what you people do. So keep pretending. Life is much more comfortable that way.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

This will be a bloodbath on par with what happened to Mondale....

!!!!!!!


Note that the silly, fat troll misrepresents what I said. Which was: If that is true, Obama will only get about 220 electoral votes

Note stupid shit: "If" is not a prediction.

I'm sure everyone reading is shocked by this.

Jay said...

Inga said...
Jay, you can continue to try to misrepresent the what the poll plainly says


The poll plainly says a majority of the American public favor restricting abortions.

Why can't you acknowledge this?

gadfly said...

n.n said...
gadfly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness....


Um ... no argument from me. Perhaps you misread my post?

Baron Zemo said...

Abortion is the be all and the end all of the Democratic party. You can not be a "real democrat" unless you are ready to kill babies at any time during a pregancy.

President Obama voted for a bill that allowed doctors to kill a baby even after it was born alive during a botched abortion. Now Governor Cuomo wants to pass a bill that allows non-doctors to perform abortions. I bet there will be a lot more botched ones.

But that doesn't matter to "Real Democrats." They never met a baby they wouldn't kill.

Renee said...

@YH

More loyal to the Democratic Party, then to their faith.

But that is harsh... pro life Catholic Democrats should of had the ability to keep the value of life within the party. They didn't. I wish I could ask why, but they defend the party more then they will defend their faith. Kennedy worship.

I don't get how I know eldery Catholic women who can recite the Rosary from memory, and when it come to life issues they're silent and defend the politician because s/he is such a good friend to the community.

n.n said...

gadfly:

No, I concur with your position. I am merely "nodding" my head in assent, and stating a supportive argument.

n.n said...

Kansas City:

It is competing interests which ensure the integrity of moral people and prevent others from running amuck.

Kansas City said...

I bet that less than 20% of "pro-choice" Americans know that Roe means abortion on demand for any reason (including gender preference) at least through about the first six months of pregnancy.

The media polling is almost always skewed by the manner of asking the question.

Kansas City said...

n.n.

That sound like a smart answer, but I don't know the question. Please enlighten.

Kansas City said...

Democrats used to frequently use the dodge that they were personally opposed to abortion, but recognized the legal right to abortion. They don't seem to even say that much anymore (probably because pro-abortion folks don't let them), but have there been any democrats who did anything to make their profession of personal opposition seem gunuine, such as speak out against abortion or become financially or personally involved in limiting abortions?

damikesc said...

Stunning. Disagreeing with somebody means you are "politicizing" something.

Have Democrats ever politicized anything in Greenhouse's world?

Personally, I now ADORE abortion. It mainly kills Democrat babies, so it's a net positive.

Poll, for the first time the majority want abortion to be legal

An NBC/ Wall Street Journal Poll


Relevance?

You orgasmed to sucking baby guts off a mother's womb when majorities hated it.

Then the Neo-Malthusians will be half way to achieving their goal of killing off the surplus 6 billion souls world wide using the intentional ending of cheap carbon based energy and resulting production of cheap food. This is to save Mother Earth from getting too crowded. Then the Pandemics have been developed and are held in reserve to be loosed as needed.

If you want to piss off one of the neo-Malthusians --- ask them why they haven't killed themselves yet. After all, if Earth is overpopulated, they surely aren't helping things.

It's skewed! Dem +9. Garble blargh see Gallup blarggh garble.

This will be a bloodbath on par with what happened to Mondale....

!!!!!!!


Say, garage, any word on Walker's indictment?

garage mahal said...

Say, garage, any word on Walker's indictment?

Maybe closer? One of his closest friends is heading to prison today.

PeterJ said...

So, Democrats pretended to be against abortion to get the Catholic vote, then changed their stance when it seemed expedient. And Republicans, expecially the country-club variety, were pro-abortion initially, and later pretended to be anti-abortion to get the Catholic and evangelical vote. Nothing surprising in any of that!

traditionalguy said...

Nixon was a party pooper for sure.

First he fooled around with the military and ended the Draft for the Dem's Viet Nam war of attrition and ended the war too.

Then tricky Dick fooled around with the Catholic reverence for human life and let millions of babies live.

Ergo: Nixon is a true hero unless government assisted death is your actual goal.

Revenant said...

It take two sides to "politicize" an issue.

Just an observation.

creeley23 said...

The NBC poll depends on how you group the numbers together.

* 31% - Always legal
* 23% - Mostly legal
* 35% - Mostly illegal
* 9% - Always illegal
* 2% - Not sure

* 54% - Always/mostly legal
* 44% - Always/mostly illegal

If you group the numbers as Jay does:

* 31% - Always legal
* 67% - Some restrictions/always illegal

madAsHell said...

Greenhouse gases.

Saint Croix said...

100 years from now, when the infanticides are recognized, we will all be told that the author of Roe, Harry Blackmun, was a Republican.

And he was appointed by Richard Nixon, also a Republican.

We will also be told that the authors of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy, were all Republicans.

And they were appointed by Ronald Reagan and George Bush, also Republicans.

And we will be told that Governor Casey was a heroic pro-life Democrat. And Tom Ridge, who replaced him, was an evil, baby-killing Republican.

And the funny thing is, all this is true.

From Inwood said...

Creely

The NBC poll depends on how you group the numbers together .

But why does the headline read

"Majority favors abortion"

rather than Jay's

"Majority favors restricting abortions"?

Hint because you can fool all the people most of the time & most of the people all the time & 2 outta 3ain't bad

damikesc said...

Maybe closer? One of his closest friends is heading to prison today.

Keep tilting at windmills, Sparkles. It's borderline adorable.

It take two sides to "politicize" an issue.

Just an observation.


LOGICALLY, that is true.

But this is Greenhouse. You either "agree with me" or "are politicizing the issue".

But why does the headline read

Same reason the press states how the Republicans "refuse to negotiate" when they are the only ones doing so.

Because they have a bullshit story to sell.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Kansas City:

The Democrats' interest is selective. They appreciate evolutionary fitness within close or elite ranks; otherwise, their concern is democratic (i.e. numerical) leverage. The Republicans' interest is also selective, but there seems to be a greater consensus to acknowledge and preserve a universal sanctity of life.

Chuck66 said...

I would guess that in the 1960s, those who favored abortion had no idea it would end up meaning 55,500,000 over 40 years, and cutting the African-American population in half by 2013.

I also wonder if the end of the stigma to unwed mothers makes a difference.

Chuck66 said...

We would have twice as many African-Americans today if it wasn't for abortion.

Blacks voted for Obama (and I assume then other Democrats) by....was it 92% to 8%? No wonder Democrats need to import voters from Latin America.

n.n said...

Kansas City:

I was referring to your description of a consensus or convergence of opinions and interests exhibited by judges, doctors, special interests (e.g. feminists), and politicians; and constraints imposed by the principled or motivated interests of their competitors.

It explains why monopolies or monopolistic behaviors are generally undesirable. Especially when it entails a consolidation of capital and power (i.e. authoritarian). If principles and people were perfect, and resources were not finitely available and accessible, then this would be a moot concern. Unfortunately, in the real world, we do not enjoy such a uniform consistency and plentitude.

Revenant said...

We would have twice as many African-Americans today if it wasn't for abortion.

Only if you make the naive assumption that the children who were born still would have been.

Most couples make a conscious choice to limit the number of children they have. A woman who has an abortion and then goes on to have two kids would probably still only have two kids if the abortion hadn't been done. The aborted child would have been born, and the last child wouldn't have been conceived at all.

Micha Elyi said...

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: BLOCKQUOTE

<blockquote>
In spite of the RC clergy's constant opposition to abortion...
--YoungHegelian
</blockquote>

Ha ha. Are you Catholic or do you just hear about 'em from TV comedians? "Constant opposition"? We wish.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Ah, Linda Greenhouse: a loud, powerful Squealer of the legal left.

The evil that woman has done and supported with merely her words... there is a special place in hell for left-wing propagandists. I hope it's a really ironic fate---like having their pro-abortion arguments played at a decibel to make their ears bleed whilst they themselves are "aborted" and reformed over and over again.

We really need a Dante to counteract such slime.

Roadkill said...

Traditional guy: "More war on babies. Babies don't fight back"

So true. If we don't want them, we kill them. If we let them be born, we stick them with a bill for $17 trillion that they had no part in running up.

Lonetown said...

Well, if it's Linda Greenhouse on Nixon, how could it not be true?