Thursday, 21 April 2005

Abort this

Apropos the previous two posts, I noticed something odd in the comments on this sidebar post at the Jackson’s Next Mayor blog: two people debating incumbent mayor Harvey Johnson’s position on the abortion issue.

I’m at a loss to figure out what exactly a city mayor’s authority over abortion would be; indeed, the only elected officials I can see whose positions on abortion would be worth knowing (at least, given the current situation where the Supreme Court decides what public policy is acceptable on abortion) would be presidential candidates and U.S. senators, who are responsible for nominating and confirming appointments to the Supreme Court. Even if that weren’t the case, I don’t really know what the mayor could do for or against abortions, or—for that matter—what another candidate would do differently on abortion.

The only thing I can figure is that candidates’ positions on abortion are seen as proxies for general ideology by at least some voters, which I suppose makes sense (given that abortion is a fairly “easy” issue in Carmines and Stimson’s typology), but it’s not all that great of a shortcut.