Boxer hits back with A-word

August 24, 2010 08:15

With a single word, California Democratic senator Barbara Boxer may have shattered a glass ceiling in American politics: In using the scarlet A-word, “abortion,” Boxer has done something rhetorically unusual — at least for a politician who favors abortion on demand.

Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO


“As Chuck Donovan, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of Blessed Are the Barren: A Social History of Planned Parenthood, puts it: “I don’t know if I can remember any ad where the A-word was used by an advocate.” The idea, usually, is to sound mainstream. Abortion may be legal, but it doesn’t make people feel comfortable to talk about it; better, therefore, to use such euphemisms as “pro-choice” and “Planned Parenthood.””

“Boxer is running in California, so use of the A-word makes sense to Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia: “I think Boxer fully realizes what a close race she is in.” Abortion is one of the best defining issues that Boxer has.

But there could be a political danger in this strategy, even in California. “Since fiscal issues dominate every poll of women in California (and nationwide), spending even a nanosecond on abortion in a 15-second spot screams, ‘I am out of touch; send me packing — please!’” warns Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. Further, “the use of the word ‘abortion’ shows how tone-deaf she is to her own supporters. The abortion-rights crowd hates it because it reminds everyone what the product of the ‘choice’ really is.” So while Boxer calls the other gal extreme, the word fits her well.”


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