I'm baffled. This is a very smart woman surrounded by a very smart campaign staff. Everyone had to remember the resounding thud (and even uncomfortable laughter) from the first debate when she tried to justify her taste for maintaining the status quo of Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that concocted an artificial federal right to terminate pregnancy.
Yet there she was again Friday, offering up the absurd notion that pro-lifers actually should embrace Roe as a guard against far grislier abortion laws that states might pass if given the chance, as the Constitution requires.
This is horribly wrong on two levels. First, most states probably would leave their abortion laws roughly where they are. Some surely would pass greater restrictions.
Polls show decades of growing discomfort with the wide window of "choice" currently afforded women who decide they no longer wish to be pregnant. Abortions at or near viability, once the subject of national ambivalence, are now opposed by large majorities. The notion that there are states just itching to throw open the doors to multiple late-term abortion clinics is simply without basis.
But, more fundamentally, sticking up for Roe is an offense against states' rights. I do not seek its reversal because I am pro-life; I seek it because it is unconstitutional. I know full well that from abortion to gay marriage to drug laws, many states where I do not live, enjoying the rights defined by our founders, will pass laws that I do not like. It is simply none of my business, and it surely is none of Washington's business.
I have defended Hutchison for years against charges that she is pro-choice. She has excelled in so many other areas that Republican voters have chosen to sidestep her Roe stance to focus on her support for many abortion restrictions, amounting to a generally pro-life record.
But her run for governor has sparked a re-examination of her full plate of views. That should be good news for someone of her vast accomplishments.
Hutchison conveys a Girl Scout aura of good intentions, a sense that she wants to govern well. But a lot of political consultants say her campaign has run away from her strengths and that she's played clumsily into Gov. Rick Perry's efforts to tag her as a creature of Washington.
She's also gained very little traction on issues you'd expect to be in her wheelhouse.