I was sad that my big "debut" interview with Good Morning, America didn't run (breaking news over the course of several days bumped it and made it "old" news).
The topic was whether Hillary Clinton supporters would really cross-over and vote for John McCain. The reporter asked me, "So do you think all the talk on the Internet about Clinton supporters refusing to vote for Obama and joining the McCain camp is just urban myth?"
I gave her a resounding and forceful, "Yes." A few weeks ago I really believed that as those of us who supported one or more of the other Democratic candidates got past the grieving process, we would come together in Democratic party unity to work to defeat the GOP in the fall.
I think I may have been wrong.
I've gotten many comments and emails from women I know and respect saying they either will not vote at all in November or will vote for McCain because they are unhappy with Barack Obama.
I was still surprised and thought it was just a matter of time, especially with the alternative. Then, I started reading reports while I was enjoying the wines of Tuscany about some things that I hoped had been said by Obama's secret evil twin, and not by Obama himself.
For a while, I've had a bad feeling in my gut that a President Barack Obama would not be a friend on women's issues. Yes, he has a nice page up on his website about lofty proposals he says he will work toward to benefit women, but his remarks about women's emotions and abortion have RED ALERT written all over them:
"I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions."
After the shape-shifting that Obama has been doing over the last few weeks on FISA, government funds for faith-based community efforts and his recent comments on late-term abortions, my firm response on the urban myth question is on shaky ground.
As a woman and a mother, the thought of anyone having to consider the necessity of a late-term abortion is hard to fathom, but there are circumstances where it could be necessary. For any male political candidate to be so blatantly dismissive of a woman's state of mind -- especially someone with daughters -- is callously ignoring reality. Mental health is already an established criterion under the law and Supreme Court precedent when it comes to late-term abortions.
And that's when the thought came into my head as I was reading the article about Obama's comments in the International Herald Tribune, poolside in Florence:
I can't vote for Obama.
This is a serious thing for me.
I'm the geek who couldn't wait to vote, who embraced the mock political conventions, who stayed in to watch the Watergate hearings instead of going to the pool. Voting is sacrosanct for me. I have not missed voting in an election in more years than I care to count. But I can't remember the last time I saw a Democrat list so far to the right that their actions made them look like a Republican in Democratic-sheep's clothing.
It's become clear that there will be no wooing going on by the Obama campaign. And unless something changes, it feels like Obama is actually thumbing his political nose at his supporters, early adopters or not.
So, can I really in good conscience cast a vote for someone who, for all appearances, seems to be turning his back on important issues? Can I trust that the former constitutional law teacher isn't really abandoning what he claimed to stand for and that he will come around after the swearing in ceremony in January?
I want a Democrat to appoint the next Supreme Court justices. But Obama is walking a dangerous road -- especially with women Democratic voters -- by saying things that make him look more Republican than John McCain.
Obama has made a dangerous calculation. I hope he can live with the consequences.
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