Pop Quiz

Listen up, class!

In the last 48 hours:

1)  Rick Santorum has compared Barack Obama to Hitler while comparing prenatal testing to eugenics;

2)  Mitt Romney has warned that cutting government spending could hurt the economy.


Two questions, class:

Which one will be a more controversial statement within the Republican Party?

Which candidate will reverse his statement within the next week?

You have five minutes.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

16 thoughts on “Pop Quiz”

  1. Romney doesn’t like the trees in my state–they are the wrong height for him! He had better walk that back or else. Also we have the wrong kind of lake. I am offended.

    As Thomas Dewey, the last presidential candidate who looked like the little man on the wedding cake once said, “Our streams abound with fish.” He meant all streams, in every state, regardless of their race, color, creed, or national origin.

  2. When I was a kid growing up in Upstate NY, we were represented by TWO liberal Republican U.S. Senators – Jake Javits and Charles Goodell. What the hell happened to that party?

    1. Hey, when I was a kid we were governed by a moderate Republican President — Eisenhower. He ended the war, balanced the budget, and sent in the troops to enforce the Supreme Court’s desegregation ruling.

      Same question.

    1. No; he just said that he loved Michigan and its trees which were just the right height. Also that its lakes were wonderful, not only the Great Lakes but the inland ones as well.

      Also, when stratplayer was living in NY, Republican Senator Kenneth Keating refused to endorse Goldwater in 1694, and in responses to insinuations that he was a conservative, insisted that he was just as liberal as his challenger, Robert Kennedy, to whom he lost in November.

  3. R-money retracts, and not withing a week, either. Within this week.

    As to what happened to the Republican Party, its left wing was formed of the late 19th and early 20th Century Progressives, (e.g., Theodore Roosevelt). It began amputating that wing around 1912. The amputation was complete by about 1992.

  4. Look, I’m not against prenatal tests, but are we really going to pretend people don’t use the information?

    Seriously, that is just pure denial. I’m totally pro-choice, btw.

    1. Other threads about this topic have pointed out that there are a number of uses one can make of the results of an ultrasound besides aborting the fetus at that stage. Sometime prenatal care can make a huge improvement or allow survival.

      And Mr Santorum is talking about who gets health insurance for ultrasounds. Those who can pay out of their own pockets can continue to make their pre-natal decisions, whether to abort or otherwise. So the moral issue for him seems to be whether to be poor or not.

      1. My intention was not in any way to defend Santorum. Just for the record.

        However, if the ACA ends up meaning that only rich people get prenatal testing, I’ll be very surprised. I guess it’s an empirical question which tests will be covered. I’m just saying that one of the likely results of prenatal testing is in fact a form of eugenics. (Of course that doesn’t mean people should be calling the president names.) I’m not sure it’s wrong, and I’m not even sure what I would do, if I got a bad result. But it is what it is. And it doesn’t mean I don’t like disabled people, either.

    2. Of course people use the information. But they don’t always use it in the way you suggest. I know couples (yes, plural) who opted for prenatal testing, found chromosomal abnormalities and decided to carry to term anyway.

      Uncertainty is difficult to deal with, and some people prefer to know earlier rather than later.

      Besides which, what business is it of anyone’s but the parents? Is Santorum offering to adopt these infants?

      1. Again, I am pro-choice and I did not say that people “always” do anything in particular. I just don’t like the denial here about what some, or even many, or maybe just a few, may do with certain kinds of information. Nor did I express an opinion on what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

        Heck, people practice eugenics starting from the time when they’re deciding whether or not to ask someone out on a date.

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