Life came at Tom Perez fast last week. In less than 24 hours, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee went from welcoming a diversity of opinions on abortion to demanding absolute ideological purity on the issue for any candidate running as a Democrat.
"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," Perez said in a statement. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."
By "a woman's right to make her own choices about her body," Perez, of course, just means abortion.
And with that flip-flop, Perez squashed any hope that Democrats might reopen their ranks to voters who finds the practice objectionable. From now on, any candidate who wants Democratic money must peddle the party's abortion orthodoxy. No exceptions.
This represents Perez growing in office, it seems. Last week Perez stood on stage next to Sen. Bernie Sanders and endorsed Heath Mello a Democrat running for mayor in Omaha, Neb., who had supported a compromise measure requiring abortionists to offer an ultrasound to expectant mothers.
Perez had said Democrats cannot demand "fealty on every single issue" as an impossible standard. But it seems, on one specific issue, there's no room for disagreement.
So what happened? How could Perez draw such an illiberal red line on the issue?
When Perez opened up to candidates with other opinions, NARAL Pro-Choice America pounced. The group's president, Ilyse Hogue, called Perez's endorsement of Mello as "not only disappointing" but as "politically stupid."
Read between the lines though and that statement's little more than thinly veiled threat. "Well, hello there, Mr. Perez. You've got a nice little chairmanship here," one imagines the abortion lobby saying behind closed doors. "It'd be a shame if something happened to it."
With plenty of political muscle, millions on hand, and a near chokehold on the party's fundraising apparatus, NARAL and its allies like Planned Parenthood are not groups to mess with. Perez cracked becoming the first DNC chair in history to ban dissent on abortion.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.