Friday, February 23, 2007

Sharon Cobb

Today's radio podcast is a wonderful hour-long interview with former NBC News correspondent Sharon Cobb about the Democratic Presidential Primaries-and a lot of other topics too.

Oatney On the Air-February 23, 2007



At Saturday, February 24, 2007 4:10:00 PM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

I really enjoyed being your guest and I look forward to you having me back on your show.

Sharon Cobb

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:23:00 AM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Good show...

As for Bob Casey Sr. He wasn't allowed to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 because he refused to endorse Clinton. Plenty of pro-life Democrats are lauded in the Democratic party (Casey Jr. would be a prime example) today. Zell Miller, the turncoat of the South, spoke at the same DNC Convention that Casey couldn't.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:57:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

But why would someone who is truly pro-life endorce a non-pro-life candidate. That is hypocrisy...and Bob Casey was not a hypocrit.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:57:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

And thanks for the compliment.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 1:12:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

I'm not saying he should, but why would the DNC want someone who isn't supporting the Democratic Candidate on National TV chastising said candidate? My point being, it wasn't Casey's pro-life stance that was the reason for him not speaking at the convention, it was his unwillingness to support the Democratic candidate. A noble decision perhaps, but one that you can't honestly expect the DNC to support in a program designed to help, not hurt, their chances of winning in November.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 2:49:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

The problem with your position, Sean, is that there is no proof that Casey intended to chastise anyone.

Casey was a Democrat who was censored.

Note that Republicans did not censor Nelson Rockefeller in 1964 for failing to endorse Barry Goldwater-Rockefeller was booed, sure, but not censored.

The fact that Casey was censored is very telling indeed.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 3:41:00 PM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

I think you have found your next Democrat (and Obama supporter as well) to have on your show.
Sean is very very well versed on politics at all levels, and is with Young Democrats and Davidson County Democrats and active as a leader in other political organizations.
Talk about an "articulate and clean" white boy!
Sean would make a terrific guest.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 4:05:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Thanks for the props Sharon...articulate perhaps, but I've been lazy today, so not quite so clean :)


I'm not sure exactly all that happened behind the scenes, all I know is that the idea that Casey wasn't allowed to speak because he was pro-life, is false. Quite frankly, I would agree that perhaps he should've been able to speak, but I don't think either party (in this day and age) would allow someone to speak who wouldn't support the Presidential nominee. Politics, unfortunately, is a lot more sanitized now than it was in the 60s (so far as I can tell).

If people want to criticize Democrats in 1992 for making unity a prerequisite for speaking at the convention, I wouldn't argue with it. But if people want to take this one instance and spin it as evidence that the Democrats refuse to allow pro-lifers into the party, that, in my mind, is a false assertion.

Regardless, even if it was true that Casey Sr. wasn't allowed to speak because he was pro-life, it does not reflect the current Democratic party. Bob Casey Jr. was fully supported by the National Democratic party, and he is pro-life like his father. So I think the 1992 convention is as relevant to current Democratic politics as the 1920 convention.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 8:25:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

It would be lovely to think that the Democratic Party as a whole is open to people who are sincerely pro-life. I say that genuinely, I am not trying to be sarcastic-the pro-life issue is so important in my mind that it ought to be non-partisan and non-ideological. In my ideal political world, it would be...Unfortunately, we do not live in my ideal political world, as leaders in both parties remind me often by their actions.

If the Democratic Party is more open today to people who are pro-life, it is a direct result of the political reality check the Democrats were given in 2000, 2002, and 2004. After social issues (especially abortion and the desire to get judges appointed who respect the Right to Life) became important deciding factors, it hit the national Democrats like a ton of bricks-"we need more pro-lifers," even John Kerry said so himself after his defeat.

Prior to this wake-up call, I don't think the national party had much room, and its platform, unfortunately, still does not.

At Sunday, February 25, 2007 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

You're right, the platform will never support abolishing a right-to-choose. By and large, most members of our party are pro-choice, but it is not a prerequisite for being a Democrat.

As for the pro-life party, while they certainly talk a good game, in the 4 years they had complete control of the Federal Government they did not even attempt to do the one thing that would end abortion; pass a constitutional amendment.

There are many Democrats who are pro-life, but realize neither party is actually going to end it. The Republicans, in my estimation, don't desire to lose this issue that binds working class Americans to a party which spurns even the most basic working class desires, for instance the minimum wage.

My personal desire would be for a constitutional amendment which would grant a right-to-choose for the first trimester, and ban it after that unless it is in the best interest of the physical health of the mother. Unfortunately, neither party is willing to support this, because the Democrats are too afraid to do anything for fear of calling into question the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade; and the only issue Republicans would be willing to compromise on is whether or not to allow rape victims to have the morning after pill.

Knowing that neither party does what I desire, I move on to the other issues where something can be done, and in my estimation, the Democratic party is the party that shares my vision for a better America.

At Monday, February 26, 2007 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

You can talk about how the GOP didn't pass a constitutional amendment, but we both know that neither a right-to-life nor any kind of "right-to-choose" amendment stands a chance at passage.

There are good reasons for this: There should be no need for a Constitutional amendment about something that rightfully ought to be left entirely up to the States because it isn't mentioned in the Constitution!

Of course the Democrats would never go for that angle, because a majority of States would either severely regulate abortion or outlaw it entirely. It ought to be a State's right to do as it chooses on this question and the people's right to lobby for the abolition of abortion within their State-something I would certainly do were it left up to the States as it ought to be.

If we are going to bring the Constitution into the debate-let's be honest, this is a States' Rights issue from a Constitutional point of view-something the Dems cannot admit to because that undermines the whole idea behind Roe, which even many liberal legal scholars admit was based on very shaky constitutional ground.

At Monday, February 26, 2007 1:51:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...


I'll never fully understand the position that abortion should be left to the states. If a fetus is considered a human being with full rights in Alabama, how is it not in New York?

Of course, I readily admit I am no "state's rights" advocate, and I do believe we as a country should have more uniformity in our lwas.

At Monday, February 26, 2007 2:36:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

At least you are honest-most liberals attempt to say that they believe in the Constitution and then turn around and trample on States' Rights. In saying:

"Of course, I readily admit I am no "state's rights" advocate, and I do believe we as a country should have more uniformity in our laws."

You are effectively admitting that you do not believe in the Constitution, since the Constitution is very clear that anything not mentioned in the Constitution is to be left to the States. The Constitution does not mention murder as a crime-that is to be left to the States to decide what it is.

I have long thought that the Left simply does not believe in the Constitution-that is why Leftist politicians can ignore it while claiming to uphold it and Leftist judges can create law that has no basis in it. (NOTE: That isn't to say that people on the Right have not done the same, such as the PATRIOT Act. Ignoring the Constitution in order to do as we please is not right, whether those who do it are on the Left or the Right.)

I am not saying all of that to pick a fight-on the contrary...simply to say that your simple statement makes you more honest than the average liberal.

At Monday, February 26, 2007 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...


I believe in a constitutional amendment defining abortion, ergo, it would be constitutional.

At Monday, February 26, 2007 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

You can view my full position here.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Yes, but as pointed out, since there is no such amendment and since abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, it should rightfully be left up to the States, a position you do not identify with...hence, you do not believe in the Constitutional principle that what is not mentioned in the Constitution is to be left to the States respectively, or to the people (See the Bill of Rights, Article X)

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 2:47:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Well David,

Let's back up here for a second.

To my knowledge, the only Federal laws pertaining to abortion have been passed by Conservative Republicans seeking to restict abortion (ie, Partial Birth Abortion Ban). I do not support those laws.

Now, the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade finds that the Constitutional Right to Privacy, as found in Connecticutt V. Griswold, pertains to abortion as well as contraceptives. Now, the 14th Amendment essentially says that all rights guaranteed in the Constitution are both guaranteed at the Federal level and the State level.

Obviously you don't think Roe v. Wade was correctly decided, and personally I think it's foundations are rather shaky, regardless, it is there.

So if you view abortion as a Constitutional "right" then the states can not infringe upon said right because of the 14th amendment.

If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, then I do think the decision would get kicked back to the states, as it should be. I would not support a Federal law restricting the states from passing abortion laws. However, I would support a Federal Constitutional amendment to protect a woman's right to chose in the first trimester, as I stated previously. I just think we shouldn't wait to see if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and we should pass that amendment now.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 3:27:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

The issue, though, is that the Court's finding in Roe is simply not correct. There is no constitutional right to abortion-that is precisely what I meant when I said that certain judges simply create law that doesn't exist in the Constitution in order to suit the political climate that they think ought to exist.

The fundamental legal principle of Roe is that somehow a right to abortion is to be found in the 14th Amendment-this is utterly false.

There is a reason why you think the legal foundation of Roe is shaky-because it has no legal foundation. It is based on created law, not on any principles of the Constitution-a careful reading of Blackmun's opinion by anyone who has an understanding of the Constitution will cause the reasoned mind to come to that conclusion.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:02:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

You can disagree with Roe v Wade all you like, but the decision stands as legal precedent, and because of it, there currently exists a right to privacy when it comes to abortion.

I accept this reality, and though I may not agree with it, I choose to work within it; you apparently don't.

Like you I oppose efforts by Conservative Republicans to write abortion restrictions into federal law, but so long as Roe v Wade stands, states are restricted in what laws they can pass.

That is why I support a constitutional amendment defining the issue.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 5:37:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

This is where the "pro-life" side of the argument (where I am concerned, since I am pro-life) now comes into play. I oppose any Constitutional amendment which would guarantee a right to abortion because it would do just that.

The "pro-choice" side opposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to life because they know what that would mean in terms of restricting abortion. This is not the reason that I am opposed to it, and were such an amendment to actually approach passage, I wouldn't exactly be nailing myself to the well of the House to prevent it, either.

I believe that the issue is the perview of the States alone, because it is not mentioned in the Constitution, so it should be up to the States to decide how abortion is to be dealt with. The other side does not like that option because it would mean that abortion would be restricted or outlawed in most States and the pro-life movement would be left with the upper hand elsewhere.

As to this statement: "You can disagree with Roe v Wade all you like, but the decision stands as legal precedent, and because of it, there currently exists a right to privacy when it comes to abortion.

I accept this reality, and though I may not agree with it, I choose to work within it; you apparently don't."

You are an intelligent young man, Sean, and so I am quite surprised that you do not see the extreme flaw in this argument. By this standard, Plessy v. Ferguson should merely have been accepted and worked within because it was accepted legal precedent.

Merely because something is established as precedent does not make it either settled law or morally acceptable.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

By accept it, I simply mean that you need to accept that currently states are restricted in the abortion laws they can write, so we need to work in that framework. If I were alive at the time, I would have taken the same approach with Plessy. I would not have accepted the logic behind the decision, but I would have done everything in my power to see that ruling overturned by a constitutional amendment. Thankfully, a later Supreme Court overturned that decision, perhaps a court will do the same with Roe, but I wouldn't have waited around for that to happen with Plessy.

I wasn't arguing it in the sense of a "stare decisis", rather, I was arguing that we should pass laws that can actually affect abortion in the US.


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