What was NARAL thinking?

posted at 9:18 am on May 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, the management of NARAL Pro-Choice America decided to publicly endorse Barack Obama for President, and touched off a firestorm of criticism within its ranks. Many members saw this as a betrayal of Hillary Clinton, who has engaged NARAL for decades, while others wondered at the stupidity of taking sides with the finish line in sight. It provided an object lesson for advocacy groups on timing when engaging in the electoral process:

With the clock running down on a long-fought primary, NARAL Pro-Choice America leaders sent state affiliates reeling this week by endorsing Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. It was seen as a gratuitous slap in the face to a longtime ally, and it sparked a fear even closer to home: that the move will alienate donors loyal to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Many on this week’s conference call were stunned on learning the news, making urgent pleas for the group to remain neutral until after the June 3 Democratic primaries.

“It’s created a firestorm,” said NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Kelli Conlin, who was on the conference call. “Everyone was mystified … saying, ‘What is the upside for the organization? And, frankly, [there was] a lot of concern about the donor base. … There was real concern there would be a backlash.”

There was a backlash, and it was swift, starting with NARAL’s own website. At last count, there were more than 3,300 comments in an electronic chat about the endorsement, the overwhelming majority of them negative. “Shame shame shame!” read one, with many correspondents threatening never to support NARAL financially again. “No more donations from me!!!” wrote another.

Of course, a loss of support for NARAL would give me no heartache, as I oppose their agenda entirely.  They certainly were going to support the eventual Democratic nominee anyway, regardless of which candidate prevailed.  Still, the incompetence that drove this decision seems striking enough for closer review.

First, advocacy groups should avoid primary fights in any case, especially one so closely associated with one particular party as NARAL.  There is little doubt that any of the proclaimed Democratic candidates in the race would have supported NARAL’s platform in its entirety, so the organization really has no dog in the fight as to which one gets nominated.  Where that is less true, advocacy organizations usually get involved much earlier in the process, looking for the candidate that most closely matches their policies, such as on taxation, energy, national security, labor, world hunger, and so on.

NARAL picked the worst time to make an endorsement.  Instead of picking someone early, they chose Obama with just three weeks left to go before the end of the primaries.  Did they think they could help him in Puerto Rico, or believe him in danger of losing the nomination?  What practical effect would their endorsement have on his ability to collect votes in the handful of contests remaining?

Not much, but obviously that wasn’t their motivation.  They wanted to send a message to Hillary to get out of the race now, rather than ride out the short string of primaries left.  NARAL wants to show some muscle in the party’s operations, and doesn’t mind throwing Hillary under the bus to do so.  Instead, they have enraged their base of women who have seen Hillary as their champion both in this race and on the mission of NARAL itself — and see her opponent as an Obama-come-lately, an ally but certainly not someone who has done the trench work that Hillary has done over a long period of years.

Endorsements are all about timing.  Like John Edwards’ endorsement of Obama, which came a week after Edwards’ state went to the polls, NARAL waited far too late to have any real effect on the race, but so early as to kneecap itself politically.  They may have gained a nominal influence with Obama, but they have lost a lot of ground with their membership, who may start looking for more intelligent leadership for the future.


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Comments

NARAL thinks it’s a super-delegate.

Purple Fury on May 17, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Hopping onboard the sinking ship of Obama.

Hillary will be laughing at them in a few months as Barry’s two-tone smokestack sinks beneath the waves of his neophyte follies.

profitsbeard on May 17, 2008 at 9:26 AM

Everyone wants a seat on the Soul Train….wooo…wooo, off to happytown!

dmann on May 17, 2008 at 9:28 AM

It’s very interesting to see all these endorsements for Obama coming right after Hillary beat him by 41 points in West Virginia.

SoulGlo on May 17, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Obviously a double bluff reverse psychology tactic. Now more Republicans will vote for Hillary after she either wins the nomination or runs as an independent.

percysunshine on May 17, 2008 at 9:37 AM

I think Ferraro had it right. Someone (or ones) at NARAL wants a position in an Obama administration.

Buford Gooch on May 17, 2008 at 9:38 AM

They exist to fight for the “right” to kill their own babies. Why would anyone be surprised that they abort Hillary?

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Too many people don’t want the government making personal decisions. I don’t know if I support the government paying for abortions, but I’m really uncomfortable with the government telling a 14 year old who was raped by her father she cannot terminate her fetus. We need less government interference, not more..Bureacracy is killing America, that’s why nothing ever gets done, nothing changes for the better, and trial attorneys get rich..With 29Victor’s post above, the language of the anti-choice people is what turns people off. Nobody is killing babies. They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Of course, a loss of support for NARAL would give me no heartache, as I oppose their agenda entirely

If it causes dissenion and maybe a loss of funds this will be great as far as I am concerned.

2theright on May 17, 2008 at 10:12 AM

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM
I know someone who just “terminated two fetuses” because her husband didn’t think they could afford two more “babies”. All I know is she is practically suicidal now. The doctor who was so eager to “terminate the fetuses” didn’t encourage her to seek any kind of therapy or explain what hormonal changes might happen to her body. She is crazy with guilt, is sure she will burn in hell and can barely care for her other two children. Of course husband won’t even think of getting a vasectomy. That situation occurs more often than the rape situation, I’ll bet. Abortion is being used to replace birth control and it is not ok.

ctmom on May 17, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Obviously a double bluff reverse psychology tactic. Now more Republicans will vote for Hillary after she either wins the nomination or runs as an independent.

percysunshine on May 17, 2008 at 9:37 AM

If, after all that’s happened, she can overtake and overcome Obama, then she can probably overcome McCain as well…not based on the issues, but on an unstoppable tide of blind support.

surrounded on May 17, 2008 at 10:15 AM

NARAL Executive Board Members simply use their organization to pump up their own personal choice. They felt naked using their own names, but powerful using their organization’s name. Their “good intentions” will exhonerate them in the land of Liberty Liberals.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 10:16 AM

The majority on the board who made the endorsement were thinking not about abortion when the made the choice, but about every other issue dear to liberal hearts, where the minute difference between Hillary and Obama made them angry enough to throw impartiality out the window.

Of course, coming out and saying “We’re for Barak because he’s against a gas tax moratorium and wants to have talks with Ahmadinejad without preconditions,” wouldn’t make any sense for a group called the National Abortion Rights Action League to be up in arms about, but when it comes to Obama vesus Clinton for many on the left, logic goes out the window and is replaced by love of the candidate and a BDS-like hatred of anyone who dares oppose him.

jon1979 on May 17, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Nobody is killing babies. They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

I don’t like the expression “terminating fetuses”. You sound like you are afraid to admit abortion is killing a fetus. There is nothing wrong with killing in the absence of other factors. I just killed some chives to eat with potatoes for breakfast. In fact, none of us could live very long without all the killing for our food. It’s the way the universe operates and I embrace it. Killing is often good, and if you don’t agree, avoid hypocricy and stop eating. Instead, I encourage you to say with me, that there is nothing wrong with killing fetuses. Stop the verbal games that only play into the hands of the “pro-lifers”.

thuja on May 17, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Too many people don’t want the government making personal decisions.

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned because it would bring an end to the condoning of unthinking, irresponsible behavior. Hedonism is the preferred lifestyle in this feel good, nanny society and, unfortunately, it will remain so.

rplat on May 17, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I know people who terminated their babies and they are all suffering with guilt. It is not non human it is human from the moment egg meet sperm.

Sandra Benson on May 17, 2008 at 10:23 AM

thuja on May 17, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Excellent response.

surrounded on May 17, 2008 at 10:23 AM

ctmom on May 17, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Sadly, you hit a point. Married couples who don’t want kids can lapse in responsibility. The husband’s reasoning that he couldn’t afford more dependents goes with his rationale that he can’t afford a vasectomy (he didn’t want anyway) and certainly can’t afford the more expensive procedure for his wife to have her tubal ligation, but that when hard pressed he can afford an abortion here or there so long as they’re spaced well enough apart. His logic is lost.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 10:25 AM

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Your claim

You need a birth certificate to be a baby

is absurd on it’s face.

jdkchem on May 17, 2008 at 10:27 AM

The irony of someone with a screen name of “adamsmith” claiming humans to be non-persons until the moment of government recognition is monumental and mind-boggling.

Ed Morrissey on May 17, 2008 at 10:32 AM

You need a birth certificate to be a baby

Would that be the Obama school of public policy?

jdkchem on May 17, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Why not simply agree to the responsibility to practice responsible sex? Take the necessary precautions to remain non-conceived rather than pursue the irresponsible practice of negating created life forms.

No need to answer me, but to yourself be honest. It is a choice, to choose between decency and indecency. Life’s value matters to all concerned including the human fetus. Either don’t conceive, or at least donate the fetus to a couple who can’t conceive.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 10:37 AM

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 10:25 AM

I believe you’re giving too much credit for “thought”, otherwise I agree.

The male health clinic who did the college hoops vasectomy special are playing right into this – and likely making a killing at it.

What, didn’t hear about it? Man gets a package deal – vasectomy, 4 days of pizza deliveries, and a cooler full of beer or other beverages, and gets told to “sit on the couch and watch the games”. Gives him time to heal properly, unlike many who just gut it out at work and end up with worse problems, gives him cover for staying home and watching the games, win-win.

Mew

acat on May 17, 2008 at 10:37 AM

acat
There are complications attending vasectomies. Horror stories galore. Cosby’s “oops” scenario is too real. And the complications don’t stop with the operation and recovery, as years down the road give new stats on PED.

The point of civilization is to place the boundaries of decency. There is no such thing as free sex. Disease and unwanted pregancies are the obvious, tangible results. But the intangible and most difficult results from a promiscuous society is the depression on many fronts for which there is absolutely no quick fix, no matter what Rx is prescribed by a doctor. But for the promiscuous to demand a free pass on abortion is pushing common sense into the twilight zone of lunacy. Truly, it is easier to prevent oneself from impregnation or conception than it is to pretend it never happened in a most viciously callous fashion.

It’s bad enough that our population has been fed growth hormones for the past 50 years. Little girls and little boys need a civilized education to counter the immature pretense that sex is free. Nothing in life is free, not birth, not sex, not death.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 10:55 AM

With 29Victor’s post above, the language of the anti-choice people is what turns people off. Nobody is killing babies. They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby…

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Yes, and 150 years ago you weren’t enslaving a human, you were owning a piece of property.

If you need a birth certificate to be a baby then it’s okay to kill foreigners who were never given birth certificates? It’s okay to abort in the ninth month? It was okay to own and kill slaves because they didn’t have birth certificates? What about the time between when the baby is born and the birth certificate is signed, is it okay to kill the kid then? You say that you hate governmental interference and then rely upon a government document to define what is human.

Your argument is foolish on its face.

I’m really uncomfortable with the government telling a 14 year old who was raped by her father she cannot terminate her fetus.

1) Protecting a 14 year olds “rights” to an abortion after being raped has nothing to do with what NARAL is about. NARAL isn’t just pro-choice like NOW, it’s militantly pro-abortion. You need to pay better attention.

2) Good thing it wasn’t you who was the fetus, then you’d be REAL uncomfortable.

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Too many people don’t want the government making personal decisions.

Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with what people want, that’s what we have voting for. Roe v. Wade has to do with what the Supreme Court decreed.

We need less government interference, not more.

The government has an obligation to protect human life, especially the most vulnerable. Is it “interference” to keep parents from abusing their kids? Is it “interference” to arrest husbands who beat/kill their wives?

My two cents and here comes the flame……….

I find it sad that you make such a comment and then label anyone who disagrees with you a “flamer” before they even make their argument. You attack my comment and then play the victim.

Pitiful.

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 11:05 AM

ctmom on May 17, 2008 at 10:14 AM

The situation you described is quite common, as is the resulting emotional pain. I’m very sorry for your friend, but there is help out there for her. CareNet crisis pregnancy centers exist, in part, to help people just like her.

They offer free counseling to help women to recover emotionally and spiritually from the guilt and shame of having an abortion. They are pro-life but realize that women are often just as much the victim of our pro-choice society as the babies are, some even share the experience of your friend. Hopefully they have a center near where your friend lives.

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Too many people don’t want the government making personal decisions. I don’t know if I support the government paying for abortions, but I’m really uncomfortable with the government telling a 14 year old who was raped by her father she cannot terminate her fetus. We need less government interference, not more..Bureacracy is killing America, that’s why nothing ever gets done, nothing changes for the better, and trial attorneys get rich..With 29Victor’s post above, the language of the anti-choice people is what turns people off. Nobody is killing babies. They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

I somewhat agree with your view. First of all, there should be NO government funding of this infanticide. However, if someone wants to murder their fetus and they are willing to stand before their Creator – well, not much impact on me.

Just think of welfare rolls is there had not been abortion. And before anyone says how awful that statement is, how many of you are willing to adopt or care for those unwanted people. It’s horrible and I don’t think abortion is right, but far am I willing to go to make it right. Will I care for those kids?

Another thing that should absolutely be illegal is late-term abortion. That is beyond horrific.

If a baby can live on its own – IT IS A PERSON.

stenwin77 on May 17, 2008 at 11:15 AM

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Thank you so much. I’ve been looking for a way to help her without seeming judgemental.

God bless you.

ctmom on May 17, 2008 at 11:18 AM

but I’m really uncomfortable with the government telling a 14 year old who was raped by her father she cannot terminate her fetus.

yeah, because that is sooo common.

Less than 1% of all abortions are for rape, incest, or health of mother. Give me a law that has those exceptions and I’ll be dancing in the streets because we could save over 99% of the babies.

Btw, abortion was legal before 1973 for extreme cases. I know women who had them. To pretend that this abomination of a law we have now would prevent abortions like the one described above is absurd.

Why dont you check out these pictures of “a fetus” and tell me it’s not a person.

Good grief.

Rightwingsparkle on May 17, 2008 at 11:26 AM

stenwin77 on May 17, 2008 at 11:15 AM

By the same logic we should be killing people on welfare. Either it’s a human life with rights to the same protection as your or me, or it’s not.

And there are plenty of families just waiting to adopt a baby. They wait in line for years for the chance to take care of one of these kids. In fact, another service that CareNets (that I mentioned above) provide is getting women who choose to spare their child into contact with people who want to adopt the child.

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Btw, abortion was legal before 1973 for extreme cases. I know women who had them. To pretend that this abomination of a law we have now would prevent abortions like the one described above is absurd.

Rightwingsparkle on May 17, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Yep. The “rape and incest” argument is a pro-choice canard. Most abortions performed in America are done for nothing more than convenience and a desire to escape responsibility.

29Victor on May 17, 2008 at 11:34 AM

I’ll bet you could have fried eggs on Hillary’s forehead once she got the news.

http://www.cashill.com/regional/kline_v_kansas.htm

thegreatbeast on May 17, 2008 at 11:59 AM

stenwin77 on May 17, 2008 at 11:15 AM

I fully agree.

Sekhmet on May 17, 2008 at 12:14 PM

The irony of someone with a screen name of “adamsmith” claiming humans to be non-persons until the moment of government recognition is monumental and mind-boggling.

Ed Morrissey on May 17, 2008 at 10:32 AM

I believe it’s the principle of the invisible brain.

BKennedy on May 17, 2008 at 12:25 PM

As long as abortion is legal, but disapproved of, people will mostly resort to it in desperation.

There are some cases where adoption is unfortunately not the answer. Two women I know of had abortions because their psychotic exes would neither have let them raise the child in peace nor have let them give the kid up for adoption. And let’s be honest, people are going to Romania and China in order to avoid adopting addict babies and special-needs children.

So addicts, people unwilling to get adequate prenatal care, and women who date psychos shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. My TARDIS is in the shop, so could I borrow yours in order to remedy this?

Sekhmet on May 17, 2008 at 12:33 PM

I know someone who just “terminated two fetuses” because her husband didn’t think they could afford two more “babies”. All I know is she is practically suicidal now. The doctor who was so eager to “terminate the fetuses” didn’t encourage her to seek any kind of therapy or explain what hormonal changes might happen to her body. She is crazy with guilt, is sure she will burn in hell and can barely care for her other two children. Of course husband won’t even think of getting a vasectomy. That situation occurs more often than the rape situation, I’ll bet. Abortion is being used to replace birth control and it is not ok.

ctmom on May 17, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Your friend needs to leave that tool, like yesterday. And I’m pro-choice.

funky chicken on May 17, 2008 at 12:46 PM

I bet they have a crush on Obama.

SouthernGent on May 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I have had this argument before concerning unwanted babies being a burden, therefore we shouldn’t oppose abortion. It is a great deflection tactic to try and turn the argument against the pro-lifer. It is fundementally flawed logically and it is hideous when you think of what is being said. It is also interesting that this same argument was made concerning slaves! What would they do after? Whose going to take care of them? What about the burden on the economy!

If a “fetus” is a life then it doesn’t matter what will happen after, it should be protected by any Government who holds life sacred. It is not the job of the Government to decide the worth of the “fetus” to society nor is it a parents job because how can they know? 29victor nailed it on the head! What stops us from tossing kids into the furnace because they aren’t living up to expectations or there a burden to the society? Obviously a strong example but think what road we start to travel when we accept abortion as birth control!

I find it interesting that two posters refuse to refer to a “fetus” as a “human/baby” and I wonder what they would think happens when a sperm/egg join? Is it semi-human? Is it half-human? If it is a human at the point of conception then the pro-life argument wins. It is also interesting to me that a birth circtificate which is Government implemented would be the definition of “life” to someone who is so anti-government. Ouch.

brotherbell on May 17, 2008 at 12:50 PM

They might have “late-termed” some of their cash cows. Proves you don’t have to be smart to kill babies.
Don’t worry NARAL. It’s only tissue $$$. Clean it up and flush it.

whitetop on May 17, 2008 at 1:53 PM

They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

A piece of paper does not make you a human being. Not having that piece of paper does not make you less than a human being.

(That way lies many, many horrors, but I don’t think that you were thinking in that vein. On to the vein in which I believe (and fervently hope) that you were thinking:)

A trip through the birth canal does not make you a human being (look at C-Section Births). A certain period of gestation does not make you a human being (look at the premature babies (like myself) who survive at shorter and shorter gestation periods).

You are a human being because you are you.

Theophile on May 17, 2008 at 3:21 PM

They may have gained a nominal influence with Obama

Nominal influence? Not really: they gained a promise of money — something Obama’s swimming in, and Hillary isn’t.

Nichevo on May 17, 2008 at 6:31 PM

Obama and the democrat party refuse to protect the most defenseless among us. Why should I trust them to the security of this country?

abcurtis on May 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM

They are terminating fetuses. You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

If that fetus (Latin for infant) in the womb is not a human what is it? If it’s human why is it legal to kill him or her? Modern medicine has shown time and time again the infant in the womb is a living human being.
And a piece of paper does not make you a human being. That’s God’s job.

abcurtis on May 17, 2008 at 7:57 PM

I have had this argument before concerning unwanted babies being a burden, therefore we shouldn’t oppose abortion.

brotherbell on May 17, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I agree with brotherbell. Carried to its logical conclusion then it should be legal as Peter Singer advocates, that if that child is going to be a burden, that determination should take place at anytime during the child’s life, and that child could be terminated at any time. The only difference between what liberals call a “fetus” and a baby is location. Death in the womb is the same as death in this world.

abcurtis on May 17, 2008 at 8:02 PM

You need a birth certificate to be a baby..My two cents and here comes the flame……….

adamsmith on May 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

If that’s the case, why was Scott Peterson convicted of killing his unborn child along with his conviction for killing his pregnant wife, Lacy?

Big John on May 17, 2008 at 8:44 PM

“Nobody is killing babies”

adamsmith on May 17,2008 at 9:58PM.

adamsmith: The clever Left have more terms and descriptions
for their agendas,when the womens ingredients
meet the males ingredients,its LIFE,a human
being,aborting is murder!

And I’m a tad miffed,since when did abortion
become an issue during this election?

canopfor on May 17, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Yessss!
Another civil war on the Left!

jgapinoy on May 17, 2008 at 11:06 PM

Infanticide was common in almost every part of the world before the influence of Christianity. One day, God helping us, abortion will be as rare as infanticide is today.

jgapinoy on May 17, 2008 at 11:09 PM

I bet they have a crush on Obama.

SouthernGent on May 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I bet they want to have his baby.

sanclemman on May 17, 2008 at 11:22 PM

“And let’s be honest, people are going to Romania and China in order to avoid adopting addict babies and special-needs children.”

People are going oveseas because unless you meet 100 percent of the state agency’s ridiculousy high standards you will never get to adopt a baby.

davod on May 18, 2008 at 6:12 AM

“Infanticide was common in almost every part of the world before the influence of Christianity. One day, God helping us, abortion will be as rare as infanticide is today.”

You mean the rest of the world was operating in an environmentally friendly way.

davod on May 18, 2008 at 6:13 AM

Ed:

The NARAL endorsement might hurt Obama in some states.

davod on May 18, 2008 at 6:15 AM

Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Too many people don’t want the government making personal decisions.

If it’s ever overturned the decision will revert back to the states. Some states would outlaw abortions, other states would allow them.

darwin-t on May 18, 2008 at 6:25 AM

People are going oveseas because unless you meet 100 percent of the state agency’s ridiculousy high standards you will never get to adopt a baby.

davod on May 18, 2008 at 6:12 AM

And who wants to go through that scrutiny to get a crack baby or a special-needs child, especially if you are turning to adoption after years of physically, emotionally, and financially taxing fertility treatments?

Sekhmet on May 18, 2008 at 10:16 AM

IS that the same feminist movement that said nothing when billy jeff was being accuse (several times) of raping women?

jukin on May 18, 2008 at 3:41 PM

The irony of someone with a screen name of “adamsmith” claiming humans to be non-persons until the moment of government recognition is monumental and mind-boggling.

Ed Morrissey on May 17, 2008 at 10:32 AM

.
Thank you, Ed. Pithy, yet devastating.

Think_b4_speaking on May 19, 2008 at 10:31 AM