Particularly since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve observed that for many on the left cultural issues account for their political leanings. So focused are they on such issues as abortion and gay marriage that they assume these are the defining issues for the two major political parties in the United States. In reality, they are the defining issues only for them.
Even as they express frustration at the burdens of federal regulation (see, e.g., this example of the regulatory state run amok*) and appreciation for the merits of the free market system, they refuse to back a political party that supports restrictions on abortion, even if they recognize the merits of its economic policies. And as they fault their party for being beholden to such special interests as public employee unions and environmental extremists.
Many of us saw this last week on Facebook when some of our liberal friends went apoplectic when the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer charity, announced it was temporarily suspending its funding of Planned Parenthood. And although the foundation may have been trying, as James Taranto put it, “to extricate itself from the divisive national battle over abortion by severing its connection with a leading combatant,” some saw the action to kowtowing to pro-lifers.
Before the foundation backed down, its leaders weren’t taking sides, merely attempting to “back out of” the battle.
“The implication here,” writes Timothy P. Carney in the Washington Examiner, “is that giving money to the abortion lobby has nothing to do with the culture wars, but not giving them money somehow does.”
UPDATE: Apparently, George Will believes abortion is the defining issue of the American left:
This is not about women’s health. This is about providing 300,000 abortions a year. Planned Parenthood cleverly cast this saying, ‘We are in the mammogram business.’ They’re not in the mammogram business — they are in the referral of mammograms. This showed two extraordinary things, George. First, the American left cares about ending wars and they care about poverty and they care about the environment, but they really care about — when they’re not perfunctory — is when you touch abortions. And historians will marvel that American liberalism in the first part of the 21st century is defined as defense of abortion.”
Read the whole thing.