Ambition and politics

I don’t plan to write much about the next presidential election, and as an example of why I’ll try to avoid writing about it I’ll use Joe Biden’s unfortunate endorsement of public funding for non-medically necessary abortion as an example.

On June 5th, Joe Biden voiced support for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal taxpayer funding of optional abortions. Joe Biden has supported this policy for nearly fifty years. Here’s what I said on June 5th, as Biden’s opponents were criticizing him for his willingness to strive for being a centrist:

“It should not be a controversial stance to oppose public funding of optional procedures, and in fact it should be a common American value that, because abortion is always the deliberate, intentional, and forcible ending of a human life, it should be unthinkable,” Tom Shakely, a spokesperson for Americans United for Life, said in a statement.

“However, in today’s partisan and polarized climate, we’re grateful for Mr. Biden’s continuing support of the Hyde Amendment, even as we express skepticism of his ability to maintain this position in the face his radical and extremist fellow contenders in the Democratic presidential race,” Shakely said.

One day later, Joe Biden reversed himself and abandoned his principled and moderate position, embracing the same support for public/taxpayer funding of abortion. I offered this in response:

“Joe Biden, like so many of his Democratic peers, supported the Hyde Amendment for decades, because he recognized that compelling American taxpayers to fund optional, non-medically necessary abortion procedures would be both morally outrageous and fiscally irresponsible. Joe Biden’s embrace of today’s extremism in the Democratic Party will only serve to depress millions of Democratic voters across the country who support more life-affirming law.”

David Harsanyi put Joe Biden’s reversal after nearly fifty years in context:

In 1976, Biden voted for the Hyde Amendment, a law banning federal funds to pay for abortion. In 1981, the “Biden amendment” to the Foreign Assistance Act banned any American aid from being used in research related to abortions. In 1984, Biden supported the “Mexico City policy,” which bans federal funding for private organizations that provide abortion, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services. 1993: Biden votes to save the Hyde Amendment. In 1995 and 1997, Biden voted for partial-birth abortion bans that would be vetoed by Bill Clinton. June 5th, 2019, Joe Biden continues his 40+ year support for the Hyde Amendment. June 6th, night, Joe Biden caves and drops a 40+-year position to appease progs. Now supports taxpayer-funded abortion, from conception to crowning. But no, the Dem party isn’t moving hard left, not at all. And Biden is a real rock-ribbed leader. If you take a position 46 years, you change your mind one afternoon, you should probably have a pretty good explanation for why. Biden will make the argument that his experience matters. But if he was wrong about everything, and admits it, then what does that experience mean?

Ambition and politics are corrosive things.