Greenberg and Hogan put a lot of stock in polling data that shows a 63-point gain for a pro-choice Democrat among defectors and a 28-point gain among traditionalist Catholics when told that the Democrat "believes in a womans right to choose but believes all sides should come together around common goal of preventing and reducing [the number] of abortions, with more sex ed, including abstinence, access to contraception and more adoption." Here the authors are engaging in self-fulfilling prophecy, hoping to finesse such inconvenient issues as partial-birth abortion, government funding of abortion, and liberal hostility to restrictions such as parental notification. Clearly, they are making an effort to define the issue in terms favorable to prospective Democratic candidates who do not want to change their views. They are suggesting a narrative for the 2008 presidential campaign.
In politics, intensity counts for a lot. So it is hard to imagine that the thin gruel offered by the Democracy Corps memo would galvanize movement activists in the right-to-life or pro-family organizations to break a sweat for ersatz traditionalists running on the Democratic ticket. Nor will it cause these activists to decline the opportunity to defeat, say, a supporter of partial-birth abortion. This political reality undercuts the advice offered by Greenberg and Hogan. A liberal Democrat can do very little to blunt a traditionalist challenge without making a serious rightward shift on social issues.
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