16 September 2008
Abortion: how a 527 group is framing the debate
Let's stick with the theme of the 527 groups and look at how they are helping shape the American political debate in a way that will seem alien to my British readers.
An anti-abortion group called BornAliveTruth.org has entered the fray as a 527 outfit with an advert that can be seen at the bottom of this posting. The advert cost some $350,000 to make and will run on cable networks in the swing states. The argument is that as a state senator Barack Obama voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act when it was debated in the state's legislature. His argument is that he was concerned about the wording of this state act, and was afraid that it would conflict with Roe v. Wade. However, if you watch the CNN report above, you can see that this argument is leaky at best.
BornAliveTruth.org has adopted a very clever strategy with this advert. They are not going head to head with the pro-abortion advocates and arguing about the rights and wrongs of abortion per se. What they are doing is pointing out that Obama, in effect, was willing to let babies who survived an abortion be then left to die.
The problem that Obama has is that his counter argument is fairly sophisticated and not very convincing. The 527 group has a simple message that is easy to assimilate - and I am betting that many people will take the message to heart. The interesting thing about this group is the way that it is targetting not the committed anti-abortionists, but the waverers. People who may be pro-abortion, but who find the idea of leaving babies to die revolting.
Obama has to reply to these charges - or let them go to McCain by default - and at the same time he must counter the arguments that the official GOP machine is levelling at him. In other words he is fighting a war on two fronts; one the official conflict and the other the guerrilla war that the 527 groups are waging to undermine public confidence in Obama the man.