John C. “Chuck” Chalberg is an old friend and historian who spent his career teaching at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. In an op-ed column published in today’s Star Tribune, Chuck documents the abortion edition of the Minnesota DFL’s “let’s go crazy” campaign now that Democrats control the political branches of our state government. At my request Chuck has kindly forwarded the original version of his column and granted permission to post it on Power Line. Chuck relates that he wrote the column this past weekend after reading the bill — HF1 — that is being whisked through the legislature at something like the speed of light. Chuck writes:
Remember those abortion ads that the DFL ran during last fall’s campaign? It wasn’t all that long ago, so they should still be fairly fresh in most everyone’s mind. Besides, the party didn’t just run a few ads here and there. They flooded our television screens with them.
It was almost as though nothing else mattered. Oh, yes, now that I think about it, the DFL was also going to “fully fund public education,” whatever that meant.
But when it came to abortion the meaning was quite clear. For that matter, the DFL was completely candid, maybe even transparent, although that’s often the go-to word when a politician or political party has something to hide.
Not so, though, with those abortion ads. The DFL hid nothing. There they were, front and center. At the risk of being accused of dredging up the recent past or stirring the pot of old news, let me recall a few such ads. And why not? Here we can see American democracy in action. After all, we do want to preserve—and celebrate—our democracy, don’t we?
Besides, they worked, didn’t they? The cause and effect couldn’t be more obvious. Given the frequency of those ads, it’s pretty darn clear that the DFL ran as the party that, above all, would preserve abortion rights in Minnesota, and they won. The ads worked. Democracy worked. And that is pretty much that.
So now let’s put a few of them under the microscope. Remember the ad that told us that the DFL would assure that every “individual” had a “fundamental right” to an abortion. Short and sweet, to the point, as well as honest and apparently quite effective.
But since we now live in the age of feelings, the DFL couldn’t resist tugging at our heart strings in a few of their ads. Recall that ad with the teenage girl. She was pregnant, but she didn’t want to tell her parents. But no matter. The DFL would always be on hand to protect both her privacy and her fundamental right to have an abortion, no questions asked, and no secrets revealed.
Then there was the ad that featured a married couple. They had decided that a late-term abortion was vitally necessary. We aren’t told why, but the couple couldn’t possibly have been more appealing. They were thoughtful and serious. Something terrible must have gone wrong. But then something went terribly wrong with the abortion. The baby survived. What next? We aren’t told. But the assumption is clear. With the DFL in charge, the matter, oops the baby, could be quietly disposed of.
Of course, there was a parallel ad that reminded voters that abortion already is legal in Minnesota well beyond the first trimester. And keeping DFLers in power will keep that firmly in place.
There was even that painfully honest ad in which an earnest young man thanks the DFL for keeping sexual freedom alive and well in our state.
Attempting to cover as many bases as possible, the DFL also ran ads concerning those inconvenient details, such as waiting periods prior to an abortion, or required ultra sounds or mandatory counseling sessions. Things like that were, well, inconvenient, so they could also be readily dispensed with.
And just for good measure that comprehensive DFL ad campaign included what amounted to a public service announcement, which made it clear that a DFL-controlled legislature would outlaw any local governmental authority from ever taking any action that would limit or otherwise interfere with one’s fundamental right to “reproductive health care”—or non-reproductive care, as the case might be.
There you have it. It was quite an ad campaign—and quite successful to boot. Wait a minute! Perhaps my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. I must apologize. You see, I’ve been reading the provisions of the bill on “reproductive freedom” that is currently under consideration in our DFL-controlled legislature. Perhaps I’ve gotten things mixed up. Or maybe I’m misremembering or just plain dreaming.
The bill itself is very brief, so brief in fact that there’s nothing in it that would place any limitation at all on an “individual’s” right to obtain an abortion right up to the moment of birth—and perhaps even beyond. It’s all very, very, what’s the word that I’m looking for . . . extreme, yes, that’s it, it’s all very extreme. And apparently that’s perfectly fine with the entire DFL caucus.
Ah yes, it’s all coming back to me now. By that I mean what’s finally jogging my memory is the connection between that word and the actual DFL ads that kept interrupting football games last fall. Those DFL ads were all about Republican extremism, weren’t they? And why not? It can often be an effective tactic to call voters’ attention to extremism—especially when voters respond by casting ballots that will keep extremists far away from ever holding office and acquiring power.
There’s just one problem though. Those DFL ads about extremism and extremists never got around to telling us who the really extreme extremists were—and are.