Gov. Howard Dean on Meet the Press last Dec.: "I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats."
Writing about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, Richard Cohen wrote:
Roberts alone is not enough to reverse Roe v. Wade , and, anyway, a pro-choice nominee is just not in the cards. Most Americans support abortion rights. Still, I doubt that abortion is seen as the single most important issue in their lives -- insufficient reason for a scorched-earth response to the nomination. Abortion lacks the historical resonance of civil rights or, for that matter, a similar consensus.
Shortly after Sandra Day O'Connor tendered her resignation, I spoke to an important Democratic senator who confided that Bush was in a trap. I tried really hard to follow his logic, but it eluded me. It seems to me that it is the Democratic Party that has a problem. It can either come to terms with reality or appear, to much of the country, both petulant and in the grip of special interests, particularly the pro-choice lobby. In effect, the fate of this nominee was settled back in the year 2000 when Florida, for better or for worse, squinted hard and pronounced George W. Bush its winner. The chads have spoken.
What Dean actually said is reported by the Washington Post as follows:
Democrats need to reach out to voters who oppose abortion rights and promote candidates who share that view, and our party has to change its approach in the debate over abortion.
"I think we need to talk about this issue differently," said Dean. "The Republicans have painted us as a pro-abortion party. I don't know anybody in America who is pro-abortion."
Dean's approach echoed similar arguments advanced in recent months by former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
"We do have to have a big tent. I do think we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party," said Dean.
I think it is imperative that we follow Dean's advice if we are to return to our former status as the big tent party. I used to find it inappropriate -- given all of the issues out there -- that being pro-life was a litmus test for the GOP. But now we are close to pro-choice being a litmus test for our party.
As I have written on the blog before, I am pro-choice not because I am a Democrat, but because I think it should be a woman's choice, and definitely not mine unless it happened to be my wife or daughter.
But what if someone has religious convictions different from me; do we not have room in the party for such person?
As we reach out to fellow religious voters, we should quit arguing the legality of abortion, and rather shift the theme to abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."
And just as we want to see fewer abortions, we want our children to learn good values -- at home, in school, at Sunday school and at church with their parents.
Good values, health care, jobs and sex education can reduce the number of abortion procedures, and who can be opposed to that.