Don't even start. Long week. Anyway...
Have y'ever noticed that American political party's "pet issues" are usually NOT things that are especially popular or "important" to voters (statistics-nuts please note use of the word "voters" and not the more all-inclusive "citizens" or "Americans")? Take the Democrats: currently tearing eachother apart over Universal Health Care even though voters tend to be ambivalent about it (I don't say that as a positive or negative, just as a fact.) Or, if you like, the Republicans - ALWAYS ready to go with the less-electable candidate in the name of pandering to the anti-abortion/anti-gay crowd even though neither of those positions constitute an overwhelming voter majority.
Political Parties, it seems to me, are primarily in the business of keeping and holding power (read: their jobs) for as long as possible, and that's more-or-less the explanation for this phenomenon: They both want things that can "shore-up" a go-to base of massive GARAUNTEED votes each time an election rolls around.
That's why Democrats have been obsessed with passing all-encompassing health insurance (again, this isn't about whether or not you think it's a good idea) for decades: A large group of (mostly) impoverished people getting (mostly) free health-care becomes a large group of people who you can scare into voting for you every cycle because "the other guys will take that away from you!" Sure, plenty of Democrats probably think it's the good/moral thing to do anyway (President Obama certainly seems to); but make no mistake: NO idea in politics has traction if it doesn't increase the staying-power of the party. Republicans are running the same exact game when it comes to abortion. They WANT an all-encompassing ban on the procedure so they can turn around and whip up the base every two years by telling them: "If you don't re-elect us, the OTHER GUYS will start KILLIN' BABIES again!"
Meanwhile, the economy is still crumbling, the ecosystem is destabilizing, an American soldier is still being held by The Taliban, and none of our leaders seem to think any of this is priority #1.