Do Democrats risk losing their narrative by turning convention into ‘Abortion-palooza’?, ctd

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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“I have NEVER heard this much about abortion as in that hall last night…”

That’s according to Melinda Henneberger, who writes the ‘She the People’ column for the Washington Post.

She was responding to a post I wrote this morning — in which I argued that Democrats risk turning off undecided voters if their convention turns into “Abortion-palooza.” I wanted to hear from more observers on the ground, so I emailed Henneberger and Jimmy Williams, an MSNBC Political Contributor and former Sr. Aide to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. (I consider both friends. And both had interesting theories).

Henneberger believes both parties are “pitching to the base.” And she seemed astounded by the amount of overt abortion talk swirling around the convention.

As she emailed,

I have NEVER heard this much about abortion as in that hall last night, even if you throw in every homily of my life.  Every other event is sponsored by [Planned Parenthood] or EMILY’s List. Then I moderated a panel for the outnumbered but undaunted pro-life [Democrats], where the panelists were asked by Salon what’s not to love about abortefacients and by Red State how come they like the infanticide president so much. America is evenly divided on this issue, but are ANY swing voters watching speech after convention speech? (Bold mine.)

Williams had a different take, telling me:

I’m skeptical of a “war on religion”…frankly, I don’t know of a single speaker of the convention that is either an atheist/doesn’t believe in God…believing in marriage equality isn’t a war on religion…it’s a civil rights issue and frankly the same arguments used today against gays and lesbians were used against blacks for decades, all cloaked by Scripture…i just don’t buy it…

In [regards to] liberalism/alienating: under that scenario, the same should be asked if the far right, conservative tone of the GOP convention turned off swing voters…both sides are at risk of alienating swing voters…I’m of the opinion that less than 10% of the voting public hasn’t made up its mind…both sides are locked in, their voters are locked in…question is: who has a better GOTV and who appeals to women ages 30-50…so from that perspective, it’s a political jump ball that will be decided a) by the debates and b) a handful of swing states…

Henneberger and Williams seem to disagree regarding what might turn off middle America, but they agree on a big strategic point: Obama’s team has signaled they believe this is about firing up — and turning out — their base on Election Day.

(Note: Henneberger was my editor-in-chief at Politics Daily.)

Matt K. Lewis