Man Without Qualities

Friday, November 07, 2003

Such Setbacks

The Washington Post reports with a perspective common among the media:

The legal attack against a new ban on certain late-term abortions rapidly escalated Thursday as federal judges in New York and California blocked the law, delivering a major setback to President Bush only a day after he signed the measure.

Now, that might be correct. But Tom Daschle voted for the ban on late-term abortions. He did that because he is unusually vulnerable in next year's Senate election in South Dakota, a state that is quite conservative on abortion matters. His disapproval rating in South Dakota polls is already 36% - and the million dollars he has already spent on television advertising is reported to have been completely ineffective in changing that number.

The "major setbacks" to the new abortion law were imposed by federal judges with views exactly like those the Senate Democrats are insisting be held by all federal judges. The number of blockaded presidential appointments to the judiciary is growing to increasingly massive numbers.

And Tom Daschle, of course, is in charge of seeing that the blockades are effective.

The abortion bill's obstruction by federal judges is likely to become a high visibility issue. How comfortable will Mr. Daschle be in his South Dakota campaign defending blockades?

Many commenters believe the Democratic filibuster of Charles Pickering's nomination to the Fifth Circuit may have seriously damaged the Democrat's chances of retaining the Mississippi's governorship. As the Los Angeles Times put it:

Senate Republican leaders scheduled the Pickering vote to occur five days before the closely fought Mississippi gubernatorial election. That will give Republicans a well-timed opportunity to portray Democrats in Washington as out of step with a region where many Democratic incumbents are struggling to hold onto office.

The current actions of federal courts obstructing the partial birth abortion law could make Mr. Daschle very uncomfortable indeed as he campaigns for re-election next year.

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