Republican Conspiracy for Abortion Rights?

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I've been seeing an argument a fair amount lately, in relation respect to the Miers nomination. It was just lame at first and has become increasingly annoying the more I've seen it. It's a pretty ridiculous argument on the face of it, because some of the assumptions are just obviously wrong, but even if you grant those assumptions the conclusion doesn't follow from them. The argument thus fails on all counts. The claim is that Republicans don't or shouldn't really want to overturn Roe v. Wade. They run on that claim, but the smart ones never mean it. They couldn't mean it. It would be political suicide to mean it, because that would mean they would have an aim that gets them elected, and achieving that aim would put themselves out of a job. If Roe ever successfully got overturned, no one would ever vote for Republicans anymore, because the only reason anyone has ever voted for a Republican is no longer an issue.

This idea that Republicans don't or shouldn't want to overturn Roe is getting tiresome. It's a terrible argument. The thought that Republicans will lose office if Roe gets reversed is based on the facile idea that Republicans have no issues but that specific goal. First of all, abortion isn't the only thing that gets Republicans elected. Even sticking within the religious right, you have things like gay marriage, religion in public life, sex ed, intelligent design (which is not a question of religion in public life), parental independence, and many other concerns. That's even ignoring Republican-favoring voters who aren't motivated primarily (or at all) by social conservatism: libertarians, fiscal conservatives, War on Terror foreign policy types, etc. So it's not as if abortion is the only or even the main issue that gets Republicans elected. Despite mainstream media pretense to the contrary, close studies of how Bush got reelected in 2004 show that it's not evangelicals who contributed. Evangelicals voted less for him in 2004 than in 2000. It's everyone else who increased in their support for him the second time around.

But what makes this argument look even sillier is that overturning Roe v. Wade doesn't even remove support of Republicans from single-issue voters on the pro-life side. There's simply no guarantee that overturning Roe would be permanent. Future Supreme Court decisions could find another basis for abortion on demand. The legislature could pass laws allowing or restricting abortion independently of the courts, both within states and at the federal level. It must be remembered that the U.S. Senate is majority pro-choice due to at least six pro-choice Republicans (Chafee, Collins, McCain, Murkowski, Snowe, Specter) and no solidly pro-life Democrats (Harry Reid isn't solidly pro-life). That means the current Senate is at most 49% pro-life, and elections can always change that. Plenty of issues pro-lifers care a lot about other things besides abortion itself, and those wouldn't necessarily be decided by overturning Roe. Stem cells, euthanasia, assisted suicide, cloning, and for that matter even IVF and other reproductive issues are high enough on the pro-life radar that even without any legal abortion there would be things for pro-lifers to be activist about.

In short, it's simply insane to think Republicans will lose all influence if Roe is overturned, even if you think abortion is the only issue that gets Republicans elected (which just isn't true to begin with). I can't figure out why this meme has become so common throughout discussions of why Bush might have nominated Miers except that no one wants to believe the obvious. He really thought she would vote the way his supporters want someone to vote, and he thought she would be a stealth nominee who would sail right through due to Harry Reid's recommendation.


That's even ignoring Republican-favoring voters who aren't motivated primarily (or at all) by social conservatism: libertarians, fiscal conservatives, War on Terror foreign policy types, etc.

Why did you lump libertarians under those who are motivated by social conservatism? Aren't libertarians social liberals?

I'm lumping them in with people who tend Republican with their votes but "aren't motivated primarily (or at all) by social conservatism".

Ooops...somehow I misread "aren't" as "are" that first time. Don't really know what I was thinking there.

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