Some of you may remember this not-all-that-clever-but-there-it-is bit from last night’s liveblog of the third Presidential go-round:

10:15: McCain: “Health” of the mother is a joke.

Naturally, this is not what Senator McCain said. In so many words, anyway. What McCain actually said was:

Just again, the example of the eloquence of Senator Obama. He’s health for the mother. You know, that’s been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That’s the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, “health.”


Skip the “eloquence” thing for a moment and go with me to the health bits. First, if you didn’t see the debate: McCain didn’t just say this, he “said” it. As in, with finger quotes and an almost sinister half-smile. He – well, here, have the video.

Pick it up from 3:55 to 4:08. And tell me you don’t also go OMFG WHAT. No matter which side of the aisle you prefer.

I don’t know if it’s that his tie is too tight or the ginormous eagle makes him nervous or he just doesn’t give a crap anymore, but in less than fifteen seconds, Senator McCain pulled the rug out from under many, if not most, of the abortion fence-sitters. (To give him his due, he did not mix his metaphors.)

The “health” exception is one of the biggest issues abortion fence-sitters grapple with; it’s one of the biggest things they want to see in any law that purports to regulate abortion. To blow it off – to call it “an extreme position” – is quite bad enough when these are the people whose votes you need right now.

Quite bad enough. But McCain takes it one step further: he says, in more than so many words, that women’s health does not matter to him. That’s right: the health of fully half the people he wants to lead is a total nonissue. No penis? Sucks to be you. Die in a gutter, please.

This is the man you want running your country? I wouldn’t let him open my beer.

McCain’s other gaffe-within-a-gaffe was letting slip that he’s substantially further to the right than his own party’s platform on the issue of women’s health. Perhaps here is where he should have protested that he’s not George W. Bush; certainly the soon-to-be-lame-duck is another prominent example of being substantially further to the right than the party in which he claims membership. Just sayin.

(McCain of course gets a bunch of other crap wrong in that speech, including that there are no states that currently allow post-viability abortions, which is entirely consistent with Roe v. Wade. But why let facts stand in the way of some good extremism? Dubya never did.)


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