We all know what "wedge issues" are, right? High-profile notions over which opinion is so divided that agreement seems impossible and opposing positions are so entrenched that all their focus is on stopping the other side instead of doing what they can, where they can.
We see it all the time. Take guns -- if you're concerned about urban violence, shouldn't you be working with at-risk youth instead of picketing gun stores? If you're worried about legislatively-imposed disparity of force, shouldn't you be teaching little old ladies to shoot and making sure they've got something for their purse instead of hollering down a well at J0an P3terson?
But that's not the only third rail; it's not even the highest-voltage one. Last night, Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for one of Indiana's U. S. Senate seats, reached out and embraced the other one. In debate, he was handed that over-roasted old political chestnut: Should abortion be allowed in cases of rape or incest?
Well, at least he's honest. He replied, "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that's something God intended to happen," a statement he's busily retconning even now.
Democrat opponent (and, FWIW, also opposed to abortion, though evidently willing to accept the rape and incest exception) Joe Donnelly promptly distanced himself with his own opinion about what $DEITY wants, which is that he doesn't believe "...any God, would intend that to happen."
Mourdock had steered a careful line until last night, focusing on economic issues and "Obamacare." This could be an election-loser. The flap will have done little to change the opinions of hard-core party-line voters; the Richard Lugar Republicans who were reluctantly willing to vote for anyone as long as he wasn't a Democrat are liable to be reconsidering and whatever undecided middle there was has almost certainly picked a side now.
You pays your money and you makes your choice -- but not pro-choice in this contest. Both men are A-rated by NRA, so the decision still comes down to economic/health care matters, the only area where the two men have significant disagreement.
(P.S. Programs to prevent unwanted pregnancy before conception, adoption and services for unwed mothers? Still way, way down at the bottom of the list. They don't even get their own telethon or footrace! Outlawing handguns cedes distribution to the criminal underworld and disarms the law-abiding -- so what do you think outlawing abortion might do, Mr. Comstock (R) and Mr. Comstock (D)?)
(P.P.S. If Comments becomes a big ol' abortion-per-se debate, I'll pull the plug. Impasse has already been reached and if there's a heart or mind still unreached out there, the body that carries both around is in no position to read obscure blogs.)
(P.P.P.S. Andy Hornung (perennial LP candidate Andy Hornung) is also running for this seat. While he disapproves of abortion, too, at least he thinks it's a State-level issue the Federal government should stay out of.)
1. He didn't build that, you know. That albatross came outta Congress, which seems (as is usually the case) happy to let the President wear it.
2. I'm soooooo interested in the opinions -- pro, con or muddled -- of people who will never, personally, have to make that decision. Oh, wait: I'm actually not.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
7 months ago