Pro-abortion rights activists, rally face-to-face against anti-abortion demonstrators as both march in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2013.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Graham eyes culture war, 2014 midterms

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), no doubt mindful of his national ambitions, has passed a baton to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’ll take the lead in the Senate pushing a 20-week abortion ban, which was formally introduced this morning.
The South Carolina Republican talked about his new bill this morning with Robert Costa (who’ll soon be making the transition from National Review to the Washington Post).
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is ramping up his pro-life efforts, and today unveiled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. […]
Graham, who is up for reelection next year, says it’s important to bring social issues back into the fold as the midterms approach. “The goal is to have a vote in 2014, to make sure we vote on it,” he says. “It’s worth having this debate. The more people understand what we’re trying to do, the more public support will grow over time.
Let’s note for the record that the proposal is a terrible, dangerous idea, condemned by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For that matter, the assertion that a 20-week fetus is “pain capable” is wholly unsupported by science.
What’s more, this bill won’t pass, won’t get the president’s signature, and probably couldn’t withstand a court challenge anyway.
But what I’m especially struck by is the notion that “it’s important to bring social issues back into the fold as the midterms approach.” Important to whom?
If memory serves, Republicans went into the 2012 elections working on restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; requiring medically-unnecessary ultrasounds; fighting equal-pay laws; and making some deeply unfortunate comments about rape. Graham and his allies apparently believe Republicans can go into the 2014 elections saying, “We learned a valuable lesson losing the last round of elections, so we’ve decided to do more of the same.”
Indeed, this will be all the more pronounced when GOP lawmakers have no other legislative accomplishments about which they can boast. I can hear the speeches now, “Sure, we failed to pass any meaningful bills, but don’t worry – when we weren’t shutting down the governing, we spent some time on culture-war legislation we knew in advance wouldn’t pass.”