It's a disturbing and increasingly frequent tactic of the Left. Rather than engaging in political debate on a contentious issue, they instead try to force or, when that is not possible, shame the opposition into silence. You aren't even allowed to discuss the issue, under the rules they'd like to set. Of course, this tactic is primarily used when they are losing the argument.
I noticed a classic variation of this in today's Star Tribune. Lori Sturdevant is supposedly the premiere political writer at the paper. She validates her position by commenting on the polarized nature of today's political environment and suggesting all sides should embrace the healing and unifying message of that well known voice of centrism and moderation ... Walter Mondale. Included is this doozy:
"I think we've got to be harder on our candidates and our public officeholders, and start insisting on more moderation, more balance and a commitment to civility," [Mondale] said. "Then we have to insist that they deal with things that really count" -- jobs, homes, education, a livable planet.
On that point, permit a tentative and probably premature hopeful note. The perennial sideshows of guns, gays and gynecology have been largely missing to date from the Minnesota governor's race -- despite the best efforts of the Catholic bishops and special-interest groups to rev up several of those tired tangential issues. Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton and Tom Horner have been talking seriously about the state budget and the state's future in ways that are, by contemporary standards, on point and quite civil.
There you have it. Second amendment Constitutional rights, the bedrock societal institution of marriage, and abortion -- off-limits for debate in the moderate, balanced, and civil political world dreamed of by Walter Mondale and Lori Sturdevant. Not just off-limits for the Catholic Church, but also for tangential stakeholders such as the Governor of the state. The people and their elected officials should just sit back, shut up, and let bureuacrats and appointed judges make the important decisions. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that those outcomes just happen to typically coincide with the worldview of people like Lori Sturdevant rather than a majority of the people.
Tom Emmer ought to be accepting this pat on the head from Star Tribune over his "on-point and civil" approach to selecting his issues as a slap in the face. And a wake up call that he's on the wrong track. I see a a correlation between being on the side of the Star Tribune on what issues should be discussed rather than on the side of the people, and trailing a lousy candidate, and future Star Tribune endorsee, like Mark Dayton in the polls.