Thoughts of an American Centrist

Thursday, May 19, 2005

How the Left is Blowing It with Owen

For people in attack mode, the Democrats seem to be going kind of easy on Priscilla Owen's record if you judge the debate by their rhetoric. Oh, I know tons of liberal organizations have written detailed and well thought out objections to Owen's nomination (see here, here, and here), but most of them carry the emotional punch of dry toast. None of them match the concise thesis of Ann Coulter.

As I understand it, the reason Democrats are in a blind rage about Priscilla Owen is that, as a state court judge in Texas, Owen interpreted a law passed by the Texas Legislature requiring parental consent for 14-year-old girls to have abortions to mean that parental consent was required for 14-year-old girls to have abortions.

Brilliant. Short, to the point, pithy, and almost impossible to counter with an equally sound-biteable nugget.

Coulter's technique mainly relies on making her own argument easy to understand coupled with a complete refusal to acknowledge the argument of her opponents. The left has simply failed to provide an effective counter. Instead, they say things like:

"At the hearing, Owen testified that the basis for her claim that a minor must demonstrate that she had considered “religious arguments” concerning abortion was the decision in H.L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398 (1981).9 But Matheson also did not concern the proper interpretation of a bypass provision."

That was a from the thesis written by People for the American Way, a group ostensibly aimed at convincing the American Public that Progressive Judges are a good thing. To me, it seems like a detailed and analytical law-journal-wannabe article is not the most effective way to go about communicating this message. At best, they convinced a few left-leaning law junkies. If Ann Coulter were a liberal, here's what she might say.

"Priscilla Owen feels that she should be allowed to use whatever law from whatever state she pleases so that she can render a verdict the way she wants to."

Same style. Overly exagerated, dismissing opponents argument, and quintessentially easy to understand. A similar leftist argument against Janice Rogers Brown would be:

"Janice Rogers Brown's views are that while the rest of us are innocent until proven guilty, big corporations are innocent despite being proven guilty."

Another gigantic ball drop by the Democrats is letting AG Gonzales' accusation of activism against Owen fly under the radar. Yes, People for the American Way and countless liberal blogs bring up the denunciation and analyze it to death, but so far it hasn't been the effective hammer for actual Democratic Senators that it could be.

In short, Democrats have had plenty of opportunities to make their case against Owen, but as of yet, they haven't done so in a way that would make the American public care. Score one for the GOP.


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