Politics & Policy

Bye-Bye Bayh II

Will Gore let feminists veto his veep?

Back in April, Patricia Ireland told NR that feminists would have strong objections to the selection of Indiana senator Evan Bayh as Al Gore’s running mate (click here for story.). For pro-abortion purists, Bayh’s sins are having voted to ban partial-birth abortion and said he favors a 24-hour waiting period for abortions.

Nobody else in the press has seemed particularly interested in a story about litmus tests and infighting over abortion in the Democratic party — until now. Susan Baer, in today’s Baltimore Sun, reports that “abortion rights advocates are quietly moving to quash” Bayh’s chances. Officials with the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights League have raised concerns with Warren Christopher, who heads Gore’s veepsearch.

Feminists are playing an inside game here. In so doing, they have shown more political savvy than those social conservatives who have issued denunciations and ultimata to try to influence George W. Bush’s veep choice. (Jim Dobson is back on the warpath over Jim Nicholson’s anodyne suggestion that Bush deserves support whoever he picks. Memo to Dobson: Nicholson is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Electing Republicans is his job. Expecting him to zing Bush from the Right is like expecting Bill Paxon to hold a press conference denouncing his wife every morning.)

But the feminists have been able to play an inside game partly because the press hasn’t bothered to expose their machinations. Will the national press follow up on Baer’s story? Will reporters ask Gore if he has a litmus test? (A litmus test, please note, that would keep the top two Democrats in the House off the ticket.) NR will be watching, without much suspense.


The following comes from the committee report on the bill funding the labor and health and human services departments: “[T]he bill is more than its component parts. Virtually every element of this bill reflects the traditional ideal of democracy: That every citizen deserves protection from illness and want; the right to a basic education and job skills training; and an equal opportunity to reach one’s highest potential. This bill at the same time provides a safety net of social protections for the needy while stimulating advances in human achievement and the life sciences. . . .” Translation: It increases spending.

But maybe this will be Arlen Specter’s contribution to the Republican platform.


Employees of the Justice Department are being encouraged to attend (as in “You are encouraged to attend. . .”) its annual Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Program. Janet Reno will be speaking at the event, and-well, let’s just quote the e-mail invite: “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month celebrates the Stonewall riot of June 27-29, 1969, when over 200 Gay men and Lesbians expressed their outrage at the New York City police department’s attempts to raid the Stonewall bar in Greenwich Village. . . . Since the Stonewall uprising in New York City more than 30 years ago, the Gay and Lesbian rights movement has united Gays and Lesbians, their families and friends, and all those committed to justice and equality in a crusade to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices and to protect Gays and Lesbians from prejudice and persecution.”

A few questions: What’s with all the capitalization? Do Straights get caps too, or is this another of those special rights we’ve heard so much about? Is the Justice Department taking the official position that the majority of Americans who do not share the goals of “the Gay and Lesbian rights movement” — what happened to the bisexuals, by the way? — are not committed to justice and equality?

And are there any other anti-police riots the Justice Department would care to commemorate?

For a very interesting take on the illiberal implications of “gay pride,” check out Christopher Caldwell’s piece..)

(The best comment on the subject, however, remains Bruce Bawer’s query as to why the only day of the year he did not feel proud to be a gay man was Gay Pride Day.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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