For a lot of reasons, I believe that electoral support with no lobbying arm is a flawed advocacy model. But there’s no denying that Ellen Malcolm was a superb fundraiser who built Emily’s List into a powerful support network for pro-choice female candidates.
So, I’m not too surprised that Malcolm is stepping down as the head of the organization:
“We’ve set the stage for making history,” said Malcolm, 62, describing how in its 25 years Emily’s List helped more than 100 female candidates win election to federal and state offices. “We’ve had astonishing victories. The U.S. House is a very different place today than it was when we began. The world has changed.”
“The US House is a very different place today than it was when we began.” Here, let me translate for you:
Every single person we elected is determined to vote for the biggest setback to abortion rights in my lifetime, and I don’t want to be here and eat shit for it from big donors when it happens.
They’re not alone — every single member of the pro-choice caucus in the House, in addition to all of those who signed Diana DeGette’s letter pledging they would never do so, are all planning to line up behind Rosa DeLauro and say “no big” about sending women’s reproductive rights into the shitter so Joe Lieberman can pass Obama’s Aetna/PhRMA bailout. Because lord knows, those Blue Dogs are gonna need to be able to make the argument to their constituents in Republican-leaning districts that they got something out of this.
LGBT and abortion rights are two of the biggest cash cows of the Democratic Party, and social issues in general tend to attract a bunch of cheap hustlers who are totally willing to demagogue highly emotional issues for fun and profit on both sides of the aisle. Abortion rights are well on their way to becoming the new “hand gun control,” because it should be apparent from all those applauding this health care bill as “progressive” or “something to build on” that nobody is giving choice a second thought any more.
I don’t think Ellen Malcolm is one of those people. Despite mistakes Emily’s List has made in the past, I think she truly was committed to abortion rights. It’s sad to see her walking away from the rubble before the Democratic Party presses the detonator, but totally understandable.