NARAL-Pro-Choice America has pulled the scurrilous ad mentioned earlier on this blog. The Washington Times led with the story; the Washington Post put it on A3. This is a major victory for the Bush administration and a major defeat for the left-wing groups that exist to prevent confirmation of Bush judicial nominees. The Post contributes a fine editorial headlined "Abortion Smear," and liberal columnist E. J. Dionne weighs in with a negative column on the ad.
Even so, one wonders whether the NARAL ad would have been shot down so soon without the blogosphere-speed postings of the Committee for Justice and the determination of Senate Republicans to see that Roberts and other Bush nominees are treated civilly. A key role was played by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who wrote a letter to NARAL yesterday condemning the ad and demanding that it be taken down. Specter made the fair point that the ad hurts the pro-choice movement.
Specter was surely aware that other Republican senators' eyes were on him. In November Majority Leader Bill Frist left him hanging for days as some conservatives called for him to be denied the Judiciary chairmanship. He promised to expedite judicial nominations and to see that nominees are treated fairly, and he seems to be keeping his promise.
In the days before the blogosphere, and before Republicans got organized to defend their presidents' judicial nominees, the NARAL ad might well have gone unchallenged. The mainstream media and the left would have monopolized the dialogue, and the tendency of the MSM to distort it in the left's favor is evident even today from Powerline's posting on corrections in the New York Times. But those days are gone.
Is my headline on this posting too abusive? Maybe. I invite readers to check out the NARAL ad and decide for themselves.