Roe vs. Good Politics

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

I used to be a Catholic. In fact, John Roberts and I both attended St Theresa Of The Child Jesus Elementary School in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. Now that I’m a Confucian-Druid-Nietzchean-Pan-worshipper my Sunday mornings are pretty much my own, so maybe I’m the last person who’d be capable of recognizing what is or isn’t good politics when it comes to abortion. But… are Democrats?

The Republican position, of course, has always been demented and counterfactual: The men who wrote the Constitution accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior and wept at the thought of consequence free pleasure.

The truth is, quite a few Founding Fathers were Deists and most, be it with wives or mistresses or slaves, loved to fornicate. And as anyone who has read that semi-enlightened document knows, while its authors were voluminous in articulating their passions for property, they were as opinion-free on Mifepristone and Misoprostol as a certain reforming Jewish rabbi was regarding fellatio and anal sex.

But where Republicans see good politics as doing whatever it takes to achieve their ends, Democrats see good politics as doing whatever it takes to avoid having any.

The overturning of Roe did not begin with the malignantly indignant Samuel Alito leafing through back issues of Woman’s Home Companion for justifications to criminalize vaginal rings. In a larger sense it began with accepting as good politics the premise of Judeo-Christian creation doctrine. Namely, that a deity, both omnipotent yet apparently possessed with as much foresight as the designer of a faulty hookup app, created the universe for Adam, then needed to take his rib to upgrade his world with a subservient f**k buddy.

In paying lip service to that male-authored fable for the last 49 years with the sniveling apologetic “while I am personally opposed to abortion,” Democrats’ good politics helped insure that the right of a woman to control her body fell several Catholics short of a SCOTUS majority. Every time Democrats saw good politics in backing a venal nonentity like Henry Cuellar for Congress or nominating an amiable cretin like Tim Kaine for vice president they were in essence issuing a concurring opinion with Dobbs v. Jackson.

There is supposed to be a wall between church and state, not a shower curtain. On the side of the wall occupied by a functioning democracy absolutely no one would care what happens to a clump of blastocysts formed through incestual rape. Any fixation on baby parts would be focused on those created by our drones on Middle Eastern wedding attendees and our bullets on elementary school cherubs. But, with apologies to Dick “it is reprehensible to protest in front of Kavanaugh’s house because the answer is in November” Durbin, a functioning democracy requires functioning political parties.

Few pieces of legislation were more intrinsically racist, classist, and evil than the amendment which bears the name of Joe Biden’s great friend, the troglodyte Henry Hyde. Democrats thought it good politics to sustain it.

While The Federalist Society was compiling a list of bright eyed reactionaries to avoid the unintended decency of Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens and Souter, Democrats thought it good politics to let Ruth Ginsburg clutch her seat like the skeleton in “Creepshow”.

When, in the first years of his presidency, the Great Sayer of Words had the votes to make Roe federal law he thought it good politics to foam runways for bankers and maintain profit margins for insurance executives instead.

I expect the leaders of the Democratic Party to think it good politics when they pretend procedural votes codify a procedure but is it too much to ask that they see irony?! The Bill Kristols and Steve Schmidts and Jennifer Rubins of the land personally shivved Harriet Miers to hand Alito his quill pen and are directly responsible for women being subjected to infringements on their liberty and indignities to their person. Yet for that species of anti-Tump bloviator the path to the hors d’oeuvre tray in the MSNBC Green Room remains unimpeded.

And more importantly can anyone who watched the performance of Biden and the Democrats on the debt ceiling know with certainty what will not be considered good politics next? Suppose Lindsey Graham, noted expert on every need and nuance of the female form, was to get legislation through a joint committee chipping away at Griswold v. Connecticut, which granted married couples the right to contraception, by formally denying use of taxpayer dollars for birth control under an Ejaculatory Freedom Act?

If the past is indeed prologue, Josh Gottheimer and the Problem Solvers Caucus’ good politics will be phased in mandatory penis withdrawals for households with adjusted annual income under $54,000. Joe Manchin’s good politics will favor a cap on cervical caps after attaching work requirements. Chris Coons’ good politics will be finding common ground with Susan Collins on expanding access to IUDs in exchange for Medicare privatization. And James Clyburn’s good politics will consist of shrieking at voters that an anti-condom Republican is much worse than a pro-rhythm Democrat.

Fortunately, should Haley/Ramaswamy defeat Biden/Harris on election night in ‘24, Bill Kristol will be on set to explain to furrow-browed Rachel Maddow how Cornel West screwed all the good politics up.

Jerry Long is a writer, actor, podcaster and political satirist who, with his brother Joe, has worked with Adam McKay on numerous projects. He can also be reached at