By Paul R. Hollrah, Guest Blogger
Paul R. Hollrah
Since the Roe v. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court on Jan. 22, 1973, the political left, right and center of American politics has divided most distinctly around the issue of abortion. In that decision, the Court held that a woman may abort an unwanted pregnancy, for any reason, up until “the point at which the fetus becomes viable.” The Court defined “viability” as the point at which the fetus has the potential “to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.”
In addition, the court ruled that, after the point of viability, abortion must be available when needed to protect a woman’s life or health… a ruling that has lead to the horrific procedure known as “partial birth abortion,” in which a full term fetus is destroyed while exiting the birth canal.
The Roe v. Wade decision was based on the majority’s belief that a constitutional “right to privacy” existed under the “due process” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In disallowing state and federal restrictions on abortion, the Roe v. Wade decision divided the American people along strict party lines, with Democrats leaning heavily toward a woman’s right to choose and Republicans, with few exceptions, maintaining a strong position against abortion, even in the first trimester. Abortion has been such a divisive issue that many millions of Americans — particularly those described as moderates or independents — have often made their voting-booth decisions based on the abortion issue… some gravitating toward Democrats, based on their belief in a woman’s right to choose, and others toward Republicans, based on their strong belief that life begins at conception and that abortion is the taking of a human life.
The divisiveness of the issue has been such that, in a nation that is clearly a center-right nation, the abortion issue has prevented either of the two major parties from becoming the clear majority because of the number of independents who refused to buy into a strict party line on the abortion issue and to the “litmus” tests that the parties often imposed on potential candidates.
But all of that is about to change… in a big way. While public opinion on the abortion issue moves inexorably in the pro-life direction — even Norma L. McCorvey, the principal plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, has come out in opposition to abortion — a massive overnight shift to the pro-life position is not likely. Nevertheless, for many millions it will no longer be the decisive issue it has been, because a much larger, much more important issue now exists. That issue is Barack Obama, his policies, and his leadership… or lack thereof.
For example, in 2008, independents gave Obama a three percent overall margin of victory in Virginia and a seven percent margin in New Jersey. However, in Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial election independents favored Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell by 21 points over Democrat State Senator Creigh Deeds. While in the New Jersey, where 46 percent of voters claim to be independents, the independent vote swung even more heavily toward the Republican gubernatorial candidate. They favored Republican Chris Christie over incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine by a margin of 60 percent to 30 percent.
It is evidence that, while a great many independents thought it would be “cool” to elect, as Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) describes Obama, a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted one,” a strong sense of “buyer’s remorse” is setting in. Now that they’ve given him the keys to the White House and to Air Force One, independents are beginning to pay attention to what he’s doing, and they’re not happy with what they see.
Even the most economically illiterate can understand that, whatever it might take to reverse a strong downward spiral in the economy, Obama is doing precisely the opposite of what needs to be done. They understand that the vast number of jobs created in our economy are created by small business. Yet, Obama and congressional Democrats appear intent on preventing the startup of new businesses and the systematic destruction of those that already exist.
While labor costs are among the leading factors in deciding whether to start a new business or to expand an existing one, Obama and congressional Democrats have increased the minimum wage for unskilled and entry level workers by a whopping 40 percent in just two years. Economists estimate that, for each ten percent increase in the minimum wage, the number of jobs available for unskilled and entry-level workers is reduced by four to five percent. In other words, in the absence of the Democrats’ 40 percent increase in the minimum wage, we would likely see 20 percent more unskilled and entry level jobs available.
Another major factor in the economics of job creation is energy costs. Yet, it is estimated that Obama’s cap-and-trade legislation would increase annual energy costs — heating, cooling, lighting, transportation, etc. — for the average American family by $3,000. Energy costs for small business, especially in the manufacturing sector, would increase by an even larger margin.
A third major factor in job creation is the cost of employee benefits, especially healthcare costs. The ObamaCare proposals now before Congress will impose a heavy new burden on business. Those businesses that struggle to keep their heads above water, unable to afford healthcare as part of their benefit package, will find themselves paying a penalty equivalent to eight or ten percent of their gross payroll. Many companies in that category will simply lay off workers or close their doors.
In promoting healthcare reform, Obama has promised the impossible and has lost all credibility in the process. He has said that he wants to insure up to 40 million who are not now insured, including at least 12 million illegal aliens, while reducing costs and improving the quality and accessibility of care for everyone — an unachievable goal on its face.
Obama promised not to raise taxes — at least not on healthcare plans owned by union members — to pay for this largest of all boondoggles. Instead, he plans to pay for it all by cutting $400-500 billion from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and by squeezing out another $400 billion by eliminating waste and fraud. If he and his people know where to find that $400 billion in waste and fraud, why haven’t they already moved to recover it? Nor has he said anything about eliminating nuisance medical malpractice suits that drain hundreds of millions of dollars from our healthcare system. So long as the trial lawyers own the Democrat Party, that will not happen.
In the field of foreign affairs, Obama has achieved what few ever thought possible. In office for only 12 months, he has succeeded in alienating most, if not all, of our European allies. He has insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and he has disappointed the Poles and the Czecks by announcing a reversal of the Bush Administration’s decision to install a ballistic missile shield over their territory. His handling of the matter was so ham-handed that the decision was announced on Sept. 17, the 70th anniversary of the day that the Soviets invaded Poland. The date was of no particular significance to the boy president and his thuggish handlers, given their naivete and their sheer incompetence, but it certainly was not lost on the Poles or the Russians.
In the Middle East, Obama has soured a 62-year relationship between the United States and Israel. In China, the man who leads the most secretive and corrupt administration in U.S. history lectured the Chinese on openness and transparency. While in Saudi Arabia and Japan, the boy president stooped to kiss the rings of the King and the Emperor, respectively. Meanwhile, south of our own border, he continues to support Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro and Daniel Ortega in their attempt to force pro-democracy Honduras to reinstate its deposed communist leader, Manuel Zelaya.
One would be hard pressed to point to a single Obama action or decision that has been or will be of benefit to our country. If history honors him for any single accomplishment, it will be the unintended consequence of his leadership — the total discrediting of liberalism and its primary repository, the Democratic Party.
Obama’s first year in office has given the American electorate something that liberals and Democrats rarely permit — a clear, unobstructed look at what liberalism/socialism are all about. Hence, after just one year of Obama-Pelosi-Reid leadership, polls show that some 41 percent of voting-age Americans now describe themselves as conservative, while only 20 percent describe themselves as liberal.
It required no particular prescience to predict, in January 2009, that Obama’s leftist ideology, his lack of experience and his total lack of accomplishment would provide a very brief presidential “honeymoon.” So it is no mystery that if, as the polls now suggest, Republican State Senator Scott Brown defeats Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley in today’s special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, it will mark a clear end to the Obama era — a day short of one full year in office. And as we look forward to the 2010 midterm elections, in the wake of devastating election results in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, the shifting political winds created by the Obama brand of “hope” and “change” promise to evolve into a political tsunami that will wash many Democrat lawmakers out of office.
Hollrah is a senior fellow at the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a contributing editor for Family Security Matters and a number of online publications. A native of St. Charles, Mo., he resides in northeast Oklahoma.