, 05.07.2022 11:57 AM

My latest: dog catches car

What happens when the dog catches the car?

You know what we mean: dogs sometimes chase after passing cars, but they never really catch them. The cars are faster than the dogs.

But what does the dog do when it actually catches the car?

In this little analogy, the dogs are conservatives — Republicans down South, social conservatives up here — and the car is abortion. And, this week, the dog finally caught up to the car.

Interestingly, the conservatives, like the dogs, aren’t sure what to do next. They, and we, weren’t expecting this. Arf.

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court of the United States of America slammed on the brakes, to extend the metaphor. They authored an opinion that was leaked, and the opinion wants to make abortion illegal again.

And now the conservative canines — the ones who have been barking about abortion since Roe v. Wade was handed down, a half-Century ago — don’t know what to do with themselves. It’s a problem.

For them.

That’s because legalized abortion has been a prodigious source of fundraising, recruitment and propagandizing for American conservatives for decades. It has fattened the coffers and the membership rolls of conservative think tanks, candidates and political parties. It has been manna from heaven, you might say.

And now, basically, it’s gone.

The leaked Supreme Court decision has flipped the table. What was once a cherished asset on the Right has become an unexpected asset on the Left. And conservatives are now left wondering about that old saying about politics.

You know: be careful what you wish for — because you just might get it.

For progressives in the United States — mostly card-carrying Democrats — the Supreme Court’s leaked decision to take away the constitutional right of women to control their own bodies has energized them like no other issue could. Instantly, too.

Within minutes of the bombshell report landing on the nation’s computer screens, protests were seen on the steps at the Supreme Court, and my inbox was filled with abortion-related emails from the Democratic Party, busily fundraising and organizing for November’s midterms. They’ve spoken about little else since the leak.

Oh, and by the by: for anyone hoping to suggest Politico broke the story to covertly help out the Democrats, let me remind you that Politico’s last three big controversies were: (i) offering pro-Trump branded content, (ii) publishing attacks on Bernie Sanders that smacked of anti-Semitism, and (iii) cheerfully providing a platform for pro-Republican pamphleteer Ben Shapiro.

My view is that a conservative judge or clerk leaked the ruling to precondition Americans for the final one. But they — like all judges everywhere, who don’t know jack about politics — didn’t anticipate the backlash, which has been historically huge. And negative.

For American women, the Supreme Court’s decision to expropriate their reproductive systems is an unmitigated disaster. It is terrible.

But for Democrats, it is a game-changer. Already, it has energized their troops and their candidates. And it has given President Joe Biden a crusade to lead into the midterms and beyond.

And not just down South.

Canada, the last time we checked, is not an American state. But Canadian progressives — Liberals and New Democrats alike — have seized on the Roe v. Wade draft decision as if it had been rendered by our own high court. They’ve been tweeting and commenting on it 24/7, too.

There’s a reason for that, as this space noted the night the Politico story broke: pro-choice sentiment crosses partisan lines. Conservative women are mostly pro-choice, too. And they will vote against their own party if they sense Pierre Poilievre or Leslyn Lewis — both of whom have been, or are, longtime anti-choice advocates — want to recriminalize abortion.

In the war rooms I have run over the years, I sometimes remind my youthful charges that getting no answer is sometimes better than getting one. Leaving an issue unresolved is often better than wrapping it up.

Abortion was like that. Conservatives have lost the one social issue that has benefitted them the most, for decades. And now progressives own it.

The dog, you might say, has caught the car.

And now the dog is going to get run over by it.


  1. Yup, we as a party are dead before the campaign starts if we don’t have an official party position under the new leader. If we have nothing, TeamTrudeau will define our position for us before and during the next election.

    So…we need to be pragmatic and voter-effective and adopting a pro-life stance will do none of that. Even Poilièvre has said that he will not legislate on abortion if he leads us and wins in the next campaign.

    As you so rightly argue, R. vs. W. only urgently informs us that we as a party can no longer go forward effectively without an explicit party position as laid out by the next leader. The new leader needs to hear the wise counsel of so many, most especially Michelle Rempel Garner.

  2. Bill Malcolm says:

    Who is this “we” and “us”, Mr O’Dowd? I read Kinsella on ProgBlog, and Cons and especially Socons are useless animals to me. I take it you are a committed Con. How an alert and informed individual can be one is beyond my ken. Literally.

    Right now, “we” and “us” have got Freeland doing the Maggie Thatcher neoliberal austerity tap dance for you for nothing. She’s supposed to be a Liberal. To her, Covid is over. On the ground, we’re knocking off more people than ever in my province, and not a soul is doing anything about it. A year ago, there’d have been a response — now we’re on our own to live with it. Good luck, aged peons of Canada! Go forth maskless and prosper.

    If undefined “Freedom” is the Con/Poilievre mantra to be an absolute fool to court uninformed truckers led by complete loons who demanded an elected Commons dissolve itself to be run by them and the Senate, along with “aid” from the other hairy armpit knuckle-draggers of social regression like Bernier, then Freedom of Choice should logically be a prime Con tenet. But Freedom SoCon-style seems to amount to nothing more than the freedom to tell everyone else how to behave according to some totally out-of-date social ethos. Particularly for women. Or to commit financial suicide with the Pepe bitcoin dodge to avoid taxes — if that man has a brain, it fell out a long time ago. Crazy as a loon.

    Screw all that. To me, all our Federal political parties are complete lemons at the moment, but the Cons and PPC suck the worst. A more useless lineup of dolts it would be hard to imagine. I voted for none of them last fall, on purpose. So I could snipe at any or all of them as I saw fit. I see fit now.

    • Mark says:

      Are you available for kids’ parties? Well written response.

      • Robert White says:

        Actually, Freeland is doing the Maggie Thatcher ‘milk snatcher’ neoliberal austerity tap dance if you want to nit pick about it.

        Margaret Thatcher milk snatcher was the prototype neoliberal. Freeland is a neoliberal with children so I doubt she would actually stoop to the gutter to steal milk money from school lunch programmes like ole Maggie did.


        • Pedant says:

          Robert, you actually believe it’s the government’s job to buy up the lactation of another species and feed it to school children, in order to make dairy farmers rich?

          I don’t agree with everything Thatcher did (who does? she was in power forever…), but getting rid of that silly little custom was a good thing.

          • Robert White says:

            I believe in fucking corporatists & neoliberals like two dollar whores because I’m a fucking Grumpy Marxist, Pedant. Screw Margaret Thatcher milk snatcher the Dickensian Neoliberal douchebag deluxe.

            And everyone like her too.


          • Pedant says:

            I’m with you in your hatred of neoliberalism.

            For the record, I define neoliberalism as a combination of capitalism (which is good) and corporatism aka socialism for the rich (which is bad, very bad).

            I just don’t think it’s the government’s role to serve milk to children in school every day. Blech. It’s not like people were starving in 1970s UK.

            As I’m sure you know, Thatcher was a fierce fighter of inflation. I think she would be appalled at current monetary policy which serves to inflate the assets of the wealthy while leaving the working class to deal with the fallout.

  3. Bill,

    Unlike COVID-19 denyers and anti-vax narcissists, I have a functional brain and it tells me for the good of Canadian humankind to get my 4th shot tomorrow and yes, to keep wearing masks. I as a CPC member can think beyond the end of my nose, as incredible as it may sound to you.

  4. Now if people want to live without adequate vaccine efficacy, then good luck to them, their families, colleagues and friends as odds go up that some of them get consigned to the morgue.

    Pray tell, which is more important, the unvaccinated under 5 or the vaccinated under 5? But let it be no news flash that if parents foolishly opt for option 1, they could quite conceivably live to regret it as in their child dying from COVID-19.

    HELLO! But hey, some will still feel “lucky” at the Russian Roulette table…stay close to God if you’re so inclined.

  5. R. Marut says:

    Latest yank culture war hand-to-hand spills over to the GWN?
    Har. Wishful thinking. Alea non iacta est.
    Or as Lincoln said, that plow won’t scour. Or as Wayne and Schuster might have, Julie, don’t go there.
    Message to PP: Upon the dimwit lib regime-loving stenographers of the legacy media, “Status quo, full stop, that is all. Bye.”
    And to the True Blues — “Let’s just get to the mountaintop, kapeesh?”
    This is an ideological struggle, not a political debate. There is no “abortion debate,” FFS. You don’t negotiate the non-negotiable, duh. The Big Win is in the slow, glacial drift of retraditionalization, the inevitable debt-induced heat death of redistributionist Wokistan. Thither cometh the final annihilation of the error that is liberalism. Time is on the side of the Good Guys.
    Ab aeterno veritas redit.

  6. Robert White says:

    Characterizing Poilievre as a dog that chases car exhaust fumes is a great analogy. Dogs are weird that way and they bark at the moon too.

    Frankly, aside from O’Dowd the Cons are rudderless ideologues with zero capability to be leadership. If they were opening a popcorn stand they wouldn’t be able to work together to make sales.

    Conservatives are dogs with fleas and they don’t know why they bark at the moon en masse. Pack animals are like that. Behaviourally they merely follow each other around in circles much the same way a dog chases its tail. Bottom line is that they lack capacity to understand their own behaviour. They react, but they don’t actually think.



    • Robert,

      Thanks. I think. LOL.

    • R. Marut says:

      Cons are dogs with fleas? Dr. Goebbels said Jews were rats.
      Down with the taking-up-spacers, eh, Kamerad? Wohlt ihr den totalen Liberalismus?
      What comes after convoys when a redress of grievances is denied?
      Polite requests? or militias?
      Galatians 6: 7

  7. Pedant says:

    New Research Co. poll shows the following:

    ‘Abortions Should Be…’

    Legal Under Any Circumstance: 44%
    Legal Under Certain Circumstances: 37%
    Illegal In All Circumstances: 10%

    This is a nuanced issue, the Liberal absolutist view is a minority one, and anyway Poilièvre already reaffirmed that he will not reopen the abortion debate. If anything, this flare-up in the US might have helped him by forcing him to address the issue (again) and getting it out of the way. Are the Liberals really going to spend the next three years shrieking about abortion? That might have been a winning strategy during in good, stable times, but these are not good times. The housing bubble and cost of living crisis are making the young and the working class miserable.

    • Pedant,

      You bet, abortion is nuanced all right where Pierre is concerned: yes, he won’t reopen the abortion debate but will allow individual CPC MPs to bring forth private members’ bills on the issue???

      That’s called a cognitive dissonance win of the year! So…what he gains with the left hand, he loses with the right.

    • Pedant,

      I find it somewhat amusing how on the one hand Pierre says he will not reopen the abortion debate while at the same time indicating that his government would allow Conservative and other MPs to bring forward private members’ bills on that very same subject. Have I got that right? Because if I do, it’s much more than a nuanced position on abortion. In fact, it’s the ultimate expression of cognitive dissonance galore on the issue. Put another way, what he gains with the left hand, he quickly throws away with the right. Not very strategic.

      • The Doctor says:

        I believe that Brian Mulroney’s government permitted and held a free vote in Parliament on abortion.

  8. Derek Pearce says:

    Well with the Senate Republicans playing to type today they sure are giving Biden an excellent weapon to bludgeon them with in the mid-terms. My hunch is enough women will say “inflation/economy be damned my right to choose is not being given up” that it will make a real difference in helping the Democrats.

    • Derek,

      My read is like yours. Normally, inflation should be a Republican winner even in spite of Trump having made the incompetent Powell chair but damned gee whiz, abortion is the election sleeper and it could absolutely decimate the TrumpDumbDumbsTM both in the Senate and House. No question about it.

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