Monday, March 20, 2006

Lazy Liberalism at Work

I was reading some past articles from the Wisconsin State Journal and ran into this editorial from Susan Lampert Smith from March 11th. It attempts to describe what Wisconsin's abortion law would be if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.

It begins in typical fashion, comparing Wisconsin to North Dakota, then this paragraph appears:
On Wednesday at the state Capitol, Rep. Terese Berceau introduced a bill to take Wisconsin's old abortion law off the books. The Madison Democrat's bill stands about the same chances as an ice cream cone in the Dakota Badlands in August. Republicans control both houses of the Legislature and, for the most part, Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin own them.
This is a common canard often used by the lazy left - that somehow since most legislators are pro-life, that they are somehow "owned" by the pro-life groups. Madison's repository of hot air, Neil Heinen, has made the same charge on one of his gag-inducing editorials. People that have even a cursory knowledge of the legislature, however, know better.

Pro-Life Wisconsin is a group that only supports candidates that are 100% pro-life. That means they're pro-life without any exceptions. Not for rape or incest, not for the life of the mother, not even if the baby is likely to look like me.

According to Pro-Life Wisconsin's numbers, 23 Assembly members received the endorsement of the Pro-Life Wisconsin Victory Fund Political Action Committee in 2004. Add that to senators who have been endorsed in the past (Grothman, Kapanke, Leibham, Reynolds, Kedzie, Fitzgerald, Lazich - Zien's was revoked), and that gives you 30 total legislators who have been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin. Thirty out of 132 legislators (or, 22% of all legislators) apparently is enough to "own" the Legislature.

Wisconsin Right to Life is slightly different. They endorse a lot more people, as they accept exceptions for abortions. But they, like Pro-Life Wisconsin, don't give much money during campaigns. They are good for lists and votes, not money. In fact, candidates actually have to pay them to use their list to mail literature, because their membership is such a good target audience. If you have a legislator that is already pro-life, they will pay for the records so they can tell the pro-lifers in district that they agree with them. If you were going to make a list of the top 50 groups that "own" legislators based on campaign contributions, WRTL might not even crack that list.

Imagine that - a group that tries to keep their members involved in the political process. Aren't all the lefties for more public participation? Or are they only for public participation as dictated by editorial boards all over the state?

In any event, you can't swing a cat in Madison without hitting some sloppy liberal who makes that charge that somehow the Legislature is "owned" by the pro-life groups (I tried, and I took three out with my cat). You would just expect a little more intellect from someone who is given a column in the local paper.

I actually tried to keep a straight face when writing that last sentence, really.