Monday, February 26, 2007

Ann Althouse And Me

We have a lot in common. We are both female bloggers (though they don't really exist) and we are both experts in the obvious. But Ann is winning, because she is doing obvious in the New York Times and I'm still stuck on this crummy blog. That she is obviously so much better at all this made me first try to beat her:

Water! Is it wet, I wonder?

But I could not, alas, alas. That led me to studying her recent opinion piece in the NYT for more hints. The piece is about the fluctuating and weather-vanish abortion views of conservative presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both guys who are now trying to please the fundamentalist base of the Republican party and who therefore desperately paddle away from their previous pro-choice positions with various two-faced statements. You know, "strict constructionist" judges will be appointed, a codeword for what the wingnuts want: Both Giuliani and Romney are promising the base the return of coathangers in at least some states of the union.

Or that is my understanding of the issue. But Althouse shows us why it is she who is at the New York Times, because the real message in all this is as follows:

If we listen with a decent sympathy, the things Giuliani and Romney say about abortion make sense. When Romney ran for governor, he made a commitment to Massachusetts voters not to attack the law he knew they supported. That was politically expedient, of course, but it also took an admirably limited view of executive power and acknowledged the independence of the legal system.

Similarly, Giuliani respects the distinctive work of judges and the separate role of the state legislatures. If Roe were overruled, those legislatures would decide how to regulate abortion. And decentralized legislation really is fairly called "part of our freedom" because the Constitution's framers saw the balance of power between the national government and the states as a safeguard against tyranny.

So I'd like to see a little more patience with what Romney and Giuliani are saying. But that doesn't mean we should be naïve. The next president will select real individuals to be judges, and no matter how diligent they are, they will bring something of their humanity to their interpretation of the law, a version of humanity that will express something of the president's cast of mind.

Damn! I never realized that humanity bit!

I get it now! To write like Althouse I must pretend that I'm not one of those women who will be affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the next wingnut presidency! I must pretend that I'm some kind of an abstract spirit of judicial wisdom instead.