What a Surprise? Even Hillary’s Commitment to Reproductive Rights is Politically Negotiable


Hillary Clinton is supposedly rock solid in her commitment to women’s rights, with reproductive rights at the top of the list. Unlike in other areas, such as trade, military adventurism, energy policy, and LGBT rights, to name a few, she hasn’t wavered when it comes to reproductive choice.

That commitment has given her a huge boost in this election cycle. Planned Parenthood departed from past practice and endorsed her over Bernie Sanders, also a staunch advocate for reproductive choice. More significantly, she’s energized millions of women to support her campaign with everything they have to give. They’ve opened their wallets (including some very big wallets) and have flooded social media with supportive posts. They’ve even broken friendships with those who see things differently.

They are really, really Ready for Hillary.

They know she is committed to their cause in a way that Bernie Sanders could never be.

But you can tell a lot about a person by the company she keeps.

Or, in Hillary Clinton’s case, the company she is considering keeping.

It’s no secret that Hillary’s short list for VP consists of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. 

These are the three people she’s considering placing a heartbeat away from the Presidency and, equally important, giving the inside track to the 2020 or 2024 nomination for President. Mondale, Gore and George HW Bush all used the Vice-Presidency as a springboard to the nomination.

So, why oh why is Tim Kaine being considered by a Presidential candidate so supposedly committed to reproductive rights of women? Kaine’s history on abortion is not exactly a secret. Here’s a summary from Michael Corcoran at Truthout in Hillary Clinton’s VP Short List Is Short on Progressives:

One aspect of Tim Kaine’s record that will no doubt generate controversy is his waffling on reproductive rights. Kaine, a vocal Catholic, was once described by the anti-choice group Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) as a “friend” of the organization and a longtime “pro-life Democrat.” The group’s executive director Kristen Day stated in October 2012, “We support [then DNC] Chairman Kaine because of his record and work with DFLA. While Chair of the DNC, he supported pro-life Democrats and his policies help elect pro-life elected officials.”

Day also praised Kaine, then the governor of Virginia, for signing into law a bill that enabled pro-life license plates to be issued (though not with public funds). Abortion rights activists said the act “runs afoul of his obligations as [DNC] chairman,” according to The Washington Post.

Kaine changed the language on his website in 2012 to say he personally opposed abortion, but would support pro-choice policies as a matter of public policy. Groups like the DFLA promptly rescinded their endorsements. Still, Kaine’s personal position and reputation as a “pro-life Democrat” remains a major political concern for many Democrats. As recently as 2014 ThinkProgress reported that Kaine was urging President Obama to appoint a “pro-life, pro-gun” judge for a lifetime term to the federal bench, to the anger of many liberals and progressives.

Clinton is making reproductive rights a major emphasis of her presidential campaign and, as a Vox article observes, “picking Kaine would result in a very mixed message about the ticket’s commitment to reproductive rights.” Clinton has already been attacking the GOP nominee, rightly, for his “horrific” comment about punishing women who have abortions. Donald Trump has also changed his position on the issue to suit his political needs. Clinton’s attacks on Trump concerning issues of reproductive rights may seem less credible if her running mate is not strong or consistent on these issues.

This speaks volumes, whether or not Clinton ultimately chooses Kaine. It says that despite all she’s said (and she has said some really good things about reproductive rights) she would consider naming as the person most likely to succeed her as President someone who at best is agnostic on and may still secretly oppose the principles her most devoted supporters hold so dear.


And make no mistake: Hillary is well aware why those millions of supporters have given so much to help her get past the finish line. It’s not because of her great experience at statecraft or because she’ll manage the economy so well. Heck, many of them might even prefer Sanders on that front. It’s because they believe, deeply, that as President she will stand for principles so important to women that too many men have been unwilling to make a priority.

Yet, she’s still willing to jeopardize the future advancement of those principles by naming Tim Kaine?

Unless those principles are less important to Hillary than they are to her supporters.

The good thing, I suppose, is those supporters will not be shattered by this revelation, or anything close. They will find a rationalization for this, and accept it. They’ll channel the person whose spouse comes home four hours late from work on Christmas Eve. It’s easy to believe an almost certain lie if the alternative is knowing your spouse is cheating on you.


  1. looks like the clinton’s strike again john as he found dead just before he was to go on trial.

  2. I really could not be more sick and tired of the ad hominem and propagandist attacks being made against Bernie Sanders, a totally decent person, who has apparently committed some kind of cardinal sin by challenging Hillary or Hillary’s uterus or whatever in the blazing hell these people are talking about.

    From last November…

    “Why Bernie Sanders Cares More About Women’s Issues Than Hillary Clinton

    The Clinton Foundation accepts donations from countries with horrid records on women’s rights and gender inequality

    By Michael Sainato • 11/06/15 10:22am

    Mr. Sanders is staunchly pro-choice, voted for the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act in 2013, has always been a proponent for same-sex marriage (unlike Mrs. Clinton) and is a strong advocate for pay equality. Mr. Sanders’ record on women’s rights is well-documented and unequivocally positive.

    During Ms. Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, she received large donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries with horrid records of women’s rights violations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates. Ms. Clinton’s supposed penchant for women’s rights wasn’t taken into account when it came to taking money from countries that exhibit some of the worst examples of gender inequality in the world. These donations beg the question of whether Ms. Clinton’s efforts on the behalf of women were more for show than genuinely wanting to make an impact for women today.

    Mr. Sanders’ platform is enriched with stances that will improve the lives of every woman in America. His family values agenda which incorporates extended and paid maternity leave is unprecedented in a viable presidential campaign. He has called on men to join women in fighting for closing the gender wage gap, and his plans to tackle income inequality outpace that of Ms. Clinton’s, who only supports a $12 national minimum wage, and is better known for courting wall street—which has made her a multi-millionaire—than holding them accountable for their greed.”


    • Let’s ignore the Clinton Foundation, for example, because we should have no absolutely no interest in scrutinizing a person who wants to be POTUS. And, of course, why connect dots that really should be left to float in space WHEN the one and only thing we should be talking about is the EVIL LURKING out there known as DONALD TRUMP? That is fear mongering and not the greatest campaign strategy.

      And, for all of those uh, what shall I call them, commenters who think that attacking other commenters by referring to them as Trump supporters, here’s a little something for you to think about. Trump’s nomination is basically an up/down vote on white supremacy. If you don’t agree, then how would you define it? Give that some thought the next time you decide you want to hammer someone over the head with being a “Trump supporter” when that person clearly is not. It is lazy, it is disingenuous, it is cruel, and it is stupid. Equally stupid is attacking Bernie Sanders. So just stop it, you aren’t winning hearts and minds, to say the least.

      • Yeah, probably. No one, not even a woman, is allowed to say that the empress is wearing no clothes.

    • You are the most outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders on this blog. Today you again mention that Hillary Clinton is a multi-millionaire and you think that Wall Street is the source of her wealth (though probably most who read this blog have mutual fund or stock investments). In addition to the source of her wealth that you point to, are you also bothered that she is a multi-millionaire? Your candidate is bound to get a major book advance in the not too distant future, and it could be a million dollar advance. Would you be disillusioned if Bernie Sanders took such an advance? When all is said and done, Bernie Sanders may well be a multi-millionaire in the future, from book royalties, speaking appearances, etc. Of course, we won’t know his net worth for sure, because he has released only one year of his taxes.

      • Debbie, tax returns don’t reveal one’s net worth. They really don’t. I know Chris Matthews speaks as if they do, but they don’t.

        The tax return Sanders did release was rather boring. If he was motivated by money and in a job that quite clearly can be leveraged into wealth, don’t you think he would have done so by now? He is in his mid-70s, you know? Yet the tax return showed virtually no income derived from wealth.

        Despite that, you speculate on how much he might make on a book deal when he’s approaching his 80th birthday or so, in order to create some false equivalency between Sanders and Clinton. That smacks of desperation, don’tchathink? What point is it exactly that you’re trying to make?

        • Sorry Bob, I was asking my questions of Liza who is Bernie Sanders’ most outspoken supporter on this blog. You answer the question about tax returns in your second paragraph. If tax returns don’t reveal much, and if Bernie Sanders has boring returns, why hasn’t he released them? I was not saying that wealth made from Wall Street investments or speeches are equivalent to book royalties. I was trying to understand if Liza has a problem with anyone being a multi-millionaire.

          • Debbie Collazo, maybe you should ask Michael Sainato of observer.com if he “has a problem with anyone being a multi-millionaire” since he wrote the article I was clearly quoting. He would probably respond that you have missed his point by a few hundred miles. And I’m sure he doesn’t expect 100% of his readers to understand his articles, or assuming they understand the article, to agree with him.

            Drops mic…

  3. The likelihood of a two-woman ticket is slim to none.

    Tim Kaine has no name recognition.

    People have been talking about Castro forever.

  4. What a “surprise” that a man would once again, try to undermine and misrepresent the positions of a woman. I’m shocked. I must say, that we are all free to voice our thoughts and opinions, but you seem to want to beat this dead horse. To my female ears, this is bordering on misogyny…and I expected more from you, to be honest.
    Please disregard the voting record, the endorsements from NARAL and PP… and all the other pro choice groups, they have no idea what they’re talking about. Now we men, WE KNOW how that stuff is, and Bernie…you know, the guy that’s not a Dem and doesn’t have a uterus, HE KNOWS!
    Do you even hear yourself anymore, or are you just left to make shit up and piss in the wind. We already have a certifiable, dangerous, and crazy candidate on the Republican side….rather than provoke cynical thoughts, why don’t you figure out how we can come together and defeat the evil that awaits if we continue down the road you seem to want to be on. It’s harder, but well worth the effort.

    • “Now we men, WE KNOW how that stuff is, and Bernie…you know, the guy that’s not a Dem and doesn’t have a uterus, HE KNOWS!”

      Right on, Cheri! I videotaped 90 minutes of Bernie in Tucson last summer. In that time, he spent 2 minutes on women’s issues. A real champion, there.

      There’s a guy on my campaign Facebook page who’s all over this abortion rights issue. Pretty much, he thinks there shouldn’t be any “abortion rights.” Hmmm… I wonder how many times the mansplainers have had unprotected sex?

      • I’m over these men talking about this. Done. I suggest you read the Medium link I posted. Excellent. Grab a cocktail…it’s a long, sourced read. Worth it. Thanks for the comment. THEY don’t, can’t, and won’t ever, “get it”

  5. Like Hillary I too have friends who are Catholic and are against abortion. Many of them are truly decent human beings. We disagree on this issue. They allow me my personal opinion, and I allow them theirs. It doesn’t make them any less competent or trustworthy and it doesn’t make me any less competent or trustworthy. I don’t see why Hillary can’t be allowed to have friends too.

    You know sometimes, Bob, I can’t help but feel like you are actively working for the Trump campaign.

    • TS, I think your comment and the incredibly specious logic underlying it prove the point I was trying to make in the last paragraph of my post. Thanks!

      • Your reply is supercilious and you don’t bother to be civil. You are gleeful about catching language that doesn’t measure up to your legal training, even when you could instead respond to the point being made. You will need your sense of glee if Donald Trump is elected president.

        • But Debbie, the logic was insanely specious, right? Implicitly, TS equated choosing someone as a “friend” with elevating someone to the position of Vice-President. It makes no sense. I have a bunch of anti-choice friends, but I wouldn’t place any of them in the Vice-Presidency.

          So, was TS employing that logic to persuade me, or to persuade himself/herself? I think it was the latter, which is why I said TS made the point I was trying to make in the last paragraph of my post.

          • To make headway here, I heard Tim Kaine on Meet the Press last weekend. I was not familiar with him or his politics. Chuck Todd asked him about his former pro-life stance. Tim Kaine said that he is a Roman Catholic, and in his own life, he is against abortion. He said that for Americans, it should be a personal choice. If he is under consideration for the ticket, he would be expected to bring some strengths to it. I was impressed with the Hillary Clinton/Elizabeth Warren rally in Cincinnati last week. Whether Hillary Clinton selects Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro or another running mate, there will be serious research and reasons for the choice. You have written that you will not be voting for Hillary Clinton. You may be following Jill Stein’s veepstakes.

  6. Yeah, well, I would advise Hillary voters not to become too attached to Hillary’s election promises, newly minted progressive positions, or whatever. The folks who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 because he promised universal healthcare are still waiting for it. Actually, there are probably quite a few of them waiting in their graves.

  7. Any and all issues, for Hillary, seem negotiable.

    She’s not necessarily a champion of women’s rights on an international scale when the primary victims of her military adventurism are women and children.

    Cold political calculation seems to be what she’s ALL about.

    • That’s a good point.

      When there comes that day when Hillary decides to swing her phantom you-know-what out there in the world to show how tough she is (and that day WILL come) then it doesn’t much matter if you are a woman or a child or an adorable puppy. Bombs don’t give a damn who you are.

      We’ll see if she loves Palestinian children as much as she loves Nett’n-Yahoo’s approval.

      Her so called progressive supporters will be as silent as the dead. Wait and see.

  8. OF course she is willing to jeopardize the future advancement of those principles, if he delivers VA and if she can win. That is all she cares about WINNING, and will worry about the rest later.
    Is that who the democrats want to be in charge for the next 4 years?
    Not this democrat!

      • Disingenuous. Hillary can and will win with Republican votes. She does need or want progressive voters. And like others, I think she is more concerned about being the first woman president and cementing her place in history, than a genuine, heartfelt desire to help people. On policy, she’s a chameleon. Tell me how a person who takes money from Wall St., will regulate Wall St? How does a person who takes PAC money to get elected, run on a platform of campaign finance reform? Her judgement is faulty and her husband acts like an entitled ass. Democrats lost their last, best chance to change the direction of the Party. Too bad. #ImNotWithHer

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