Roemer speaks out (not pouts out) on abortion & the party. Excellent!! - "We must focus not on what divides us but what unites us."
Repairing the Democratic Tent
By Tim Roemer
The Washington Post
February 10, 2005
During the past four years Karl Rove and the Republicans have effectively manipulated the political dialogue and votes in Congress to label Democrats as supporters of "partial birth" abortion and "abortion on demand." They have painted all Democrats with the same broad brush as being "pro-abortion," rather than "pro-choice." This is hurting us with churchgoing African American, Latino, Catholic, rural and suburban voters.
Meanwhile Bush campaigned throughout the country with former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, two moderate pro-choice Republicans. This Republican two-pronged approach was again apparent in early January, when the new Republican National Committee chairman, Ken Mehlman, appointed JoAnn Davidson -- who is pro-choice -- as co-chairman of the RNC.
Despite differing views on abortion within our party, we need to focus our attention on where we agree. We can agree that abortion is a difficult and heart-wrenching decision for any woman and that every woman respects life. We can agree that abortions should be extremely rare, and we should work hard to reduce their number by supporting family planning programs, funding for the Women, Infants and Children program, and adoption tax credits. During the Clinton administration, we reduced abortions by 11 percent by focusing on such efforts.
We need to be inclusive and respect different views on abortion -- and other issues -- within our party. Democrats will not make up the difference of seven seats in the Senate or 17 in the House if we apply litmus tests to Democrats on individual issues.
Now we are faced with a choice. Will the party open its tent to people of differing views -- be they views on abortion or other pressing national issues -- or will it exclude those who may have different views but agree with us on many of our core principles? I believe that, to be successful, we must focus not on what divides us but what unites us. When we unite around our common Democratic values and welcome more Americans to our fold, we will be better -- and stronger -- for the effort.
And hopefully all good Democrats say Amen.