Monday, January 03, 2005

I missed the article in last Thursday's Washington Post that analyzed strategies the GOP used successfully in the 2004 election. I caught up with it today, via The Seattle Times. I couldn't help noticing this:

Republican firms, including TargetPoint Consultants and National Media, delved into commercial databases that pinpointed consumer-buying patterns and television-watching habits....

Surveys of people on these consumer-data lists were used to determine "anger points" (late-term abortion, trial-lawyer fees, estate taxes) that coincided with the Bush agenda for as many as 32 categories of voters....

"You used to get a tape-recorded voice of Ronald Reagan telling you how important it was to vote," said Alex Gage of TargetPoint. "You didn't get a call saying that if you don't come out and vote, the number of abortions next year is going to go up, something that is a sharp, motivating message."

Yeah, it is a sharp, motivating message. It's also an utter distortion of reality, as the pro-life ethicist Glen Harold Stassen pointed out a couple of months ago in a Houston Chronicle op-ed:

When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4 percent decline during the 1990s. This was a steady decrease averaging 1.7 percent per year. (The data come from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies.)

Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened.

We found four states that have posted 3-year statistics: Kentucky's increased by 3.2% from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3% from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9% from 1999 to 2002. Colorado's rates skyrocketed 111%. We found 12 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and four saw a decrease (4.3% average).

Under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.

I guess, for Bush voters, it's like everything else to do with Saint George -- he's clearly such a good man that nothing they disapprove of could possibly take place on his watch.

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