Thursday, May 05, 2022

No Counterattack


The morning following unexpected release of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's unpopular draft opinion which would overturn Roe v. Wade, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell strategically tweeted "by every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left's ongoing campaign." Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted  "I have no doubt that the Chief Justice will work to root out the radical activist" (who)  must be immediately removed from their position and exiled from the legal community."

McConnell and Blackburn both speak as if it is understood that the culprit is of the left, with Blackburn assuming also that he or she is a lawyer. The latter is unclear, the former far more doubtful. The remarks of U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas best encapsulate the GOP's strategic tactics of distraction, ad hominem, and straw man remarks.  At 1:06 of the video below, he charges

Let's be honest. What this leaker probably believes is that they're gonna be made a martyr. They're gonna get a great gig on MSNBC. They might be disbarred but they're gonna get a great gig on the left. They're gonna become a spokesperson for the pro-abortion movement....



We know a couple of things, one of which is "they're gonna." Also, that Republicans will be- already are- dictating with careful, yet scorching, language the terms of the debate. Crenshaw surmises that the leaker of Alito's draft majority opinion is someone of the left, who then will get "a great gig with MSNBC." 

It likely that the leaker was of the right, with anti-abortion rights activist and right-winger Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, the most likely culprit. However, we probably will never learn the identity of the leaker because Chief Justice John Roberts would prefer he or she remain anonymous. The New York Times reports

Gabe Roth, the executive director of Fix The Court, a nonprofit group that pushes to make the Supreme Court more accountable to the people, said the leak investigation amounted to a massive task for the Supreme Court marshal, a job he described as ​​“more administrative than investigatory” in nature.

“The marshal’s like the C.O.O. of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Roth said. “They concern themselves with overseeing the police, overseeing hirings. They’re involved in the budget proposals that are released every year. They’re involved in ensuring decorum is maintained during an open Supreme Court session.”

Consequently, it's a no-risk proposition for Republicans to allege, with affected certainty, that the culprit is a leftist. They knew Democrats would not challenge the narrative.

Two can play at that game but it's only one when Democrats are unwilling to charge that a member of the GOP is at fault. Democrats can defend themselves only by reversing the charges, a risk worth taking. Conservatives have stronger motives than liberals for the draft opinion to be leaked well before the elections in November.  Yet, they are demonizing the Democratic Party as the villain and the subject of the smear has not responded..

Crenshaw additionally refers to the pro-choice position as "the pro-abortion movement," both in the clip beginning at 1:04 and when he alleges (at 3:45) ".... and you noted something about the- they call it the pro-choice movement. It is a pro-abortion movement."

Very few people are actually pro-abortion. You know it, they know it, but anti-abortion ideologues do not, and demagogues are going to demagogue. There is no way to stop the right from invoking the spurious term "pro-abortion."

Nor is there a way to stop conservatives, who generally oppose universal pre-school, paid family leave, and low-cost birth control for the needy, from calling themselves "pro-life." So the left should refer to anti-choice people as "pro-forced birth." That has the advantage not only of being a negative characterization but also of being accurate.

The opinion that was released prematurely on Monday may or may not mirror the actual decision when it is handed down.  What surely won't change, though, is the GOP's effort to vilify the left, whether as criminals or as baby killers.  "When they go low, we go high," Michelle Obama once stated. That was bad advice then and is even worse advice now.




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