Declining to pass this amendment makes it impossible for anyone who believes in the right to life to support a public option in health care reform as currently proposed. And joining forces with the GOP, at least on a long-term basis, means giving up the goal of a health care system that everyone is a part of. Pro-life Democrats are placed between a rock and a hard place. I continue to advocate that the best way to handle these times we are living in is to have a short-term alliance with the GOP to defeat these attempts to expand the abortion industry’s influence. But the more important long-term goal should be to retake the Democratic Party, which is properly the province of ethnic Catholics and those who believe the government has a responsibility to protect the innocent unborn.
Christian Bourge, writing in The Washington Times, says it’s only a matter of time before anti-smoking fascists eventually get all smoking banned. The means of doing so are proposed regulations that would let a business owner ban smoking within 25 feet of his building, something that would make simply walking by the building with a cigarette in your hand illegal.
I was initially opposed to smoking regulations indoors in restaurants and on airplanes. Over the ensuing years I’ve met enough people who are more sensitive to smoke than I, who have described how bad it was to be in a restaurant that allows smoking, even in a non-smoking section. As a result I can see the need for a regulation in this regard. But I have a hard time with the idea of cigarettes being so bad that we need to use a law like the proposed one to de facto ban it everywhere. If we ban cigarettes, on what basis do we say alcohol consumption should be legal? Or any other vice that is pleasurable, but has long-term health consequences? The burden of outdoor smoke is surely no greater than that of an unruly drunk. And no one’s ever gotten killed from smoking and driving. So while there is a case to be made that indoors cigarette smoke causes more of a problem for innocent bystanders than alcohol does, I don’t see how the same applies outdoors.
Having said that, Bourge does seem on the extreme side himself. He goes on to write that being the son of a cardiologist nicotine advocates put him through college. He didn’t seem to be saying it tongue-in-cheek, and it was kind of an odd remark. But however he chooses to express himself, I think he’s right on this topic.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in danger of losing his re-election bid next November. If he falters, he would be the second straight Democratic leader to be defeated in his home state. It happened to Tom Daschle back in 2004, when he lost to John Thune, now a possible darkhorse contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Politico reports that a Reid defeat would mean the rise of a Senate even more partisan than we currently have. The likely successor would be either Dick Durbin of Illinois or Charles Schumer of New York. Both are men of the Far Left. Both are also from solidly blue states and unlikely to be defeated for re-election, meaning they could give their party some stability.
While I don’t think Durbin is in any danger of losing his seat, I dispute the contention that Illinois is a solidly blue state. I realize the results of presidential elections since Bill Clinton began running nationally say otherwise, but I see the state’s current heavy vote for the Democrats more as a byproduct of the collapse of the internal Republican apparatus through reasons having nothing to do with philosophy, be it conservative or moderate. The GOP had leaders constantly running into scandals and eventually it took its toll. But George Bush Senior carried the state in 1988 and that’s not so long ago that demographics have irrevocably changed. Furthermore, downstate beyond Chicago is the kind of rural area that Republicans have done well in around the rest of the country. There’s no reason a revitalized party couldn’t do so in Illinois.
If Reid loses, I think both the interests of Blue Dog Reaganite, as well as the interests of the left-wing are best served by Schumer, if indeed the choice is between those two (I’d much rather see Kent Conrad from North Dakota or Ben Nelson from Nebraska personally). Schumer’s a liberal and a publicity-seeker, but he has sought to open the door to pro-life Democrats, including encouraging Bob Casey Jr. to seek the Senate in Pennsylvania. And for the Left, he’s from a state that no one doubts is blue to the core, and would stabilize the leadership position for a long time.