Speaking of Harry Reid
[Ross] Rick Perlstein, the author of one of the best political histories I've ever read (which is unaccountably out of print), has started his own blog, which promises to be interesting and irritating in equal measure. Here's a case where it's the latter:
Last year I attended a major conference of conservative intellectuals and activists at Princeton University as the token liberal. There I heard Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention say that the Democratic Party ostracizes all pro-life Democrats. Reflecting on the pro-life Democrat who happened to hold the obscure position of Senate minority leader, I finally realized I'd met, socialized with, interviewed, and debated enough conservative Republicans to come to a firm conclusion: They could be divided into two groups--those who had lied or stonewalled to my face, and those who hadn't...yet.
The ostracization of pro-life Dems is sometimes overblown by conservatives, I agree. However, so is the notion that Harry Reid is pro-life in any politically meaningful sense. And Perlstein might have picked a better time to cite the Senate Majority Leader as an example of the supposed Democratic big tent than a week in which Reid appeared to acknowledge that he only voted for the partial-birth abortion ban because he expected Sandra Day O'Connor to be there to overturn it. True, he has since backpedaled and claimed he didn't mean it, but I think the fact that he felt the need to say what he said (that the abortion decision made him wish O'Connor were on the Court) tells you everything you need to know about how well pro-lifers fit into the contemporary Democratic Party.