2013 was not a great year for women's political issues in America. It's been a tough couple of years, actually.
Between states ratifying new and more restrictive access, they also spent time lowering access to any facilities by cutting funding and changing the rules as they went.
Through the summer and on, we've seen a war on the very concept of birth control, of women who faced shaming, outting and bullies over reporting rape. So, I guess this story shouldn't come as a surprise.
Erick Bennett, a Republican candidate for Senate in the great state of Maine - decided to run for office he faced a serious hurdle: He's been arrested and convicted of domestic violence.
But rather than run from his past, he's embracing it.
s the trend of Republican politicians living in fear of hard right primary challengers finally petering out, collapsing under the collective weight of those challengers' nuttiness? Early 2014 indicators suggest yes, and not just because Sen. John Cornyn's Texas challenger, Steve Stockman, has campaign stickers that imagine fetuses holding women's uteruses hostage at gunpoint. Now we also have the excitingly unhinged Erick Bennett, who is trying to primary-challenge Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Bennett was convicted of domestic violence in 2003 after attacking his wife, who has since divorced him. While this sort of thing traditionally turns voters off, Bennett is employing an unusual strategy by wielding his conviction as evidence that you should vote for him in Maine's Republican primary.Let's be honest, he's a joke candidate. He may not get very far. But that isn't the real point. The point is thatas long as the current campaign against women continues, you have to understand the subtext tells people like Bennett that maybe they -aren't- wrong. Maybe there are enough people out there who agree with them. In Texas, as noted above, Steve Stockman is taking great lengths to point this out. Here in Kansas, we are expecting one, and likely two primary challengers who will battle Republicans from the cheap seat right, in races they would have never contemplated a decade ago.
"The fact that I have been jailed repeatedly for not agreeing to admit to something I didn’t do should speak to the fact of how much guts and integrity I have," he exclaimed to the press, trying to convince them that his lying ex-wife set him up for reasons unknown. "If I go to D.C., I’m going to have that same integrity in doing what I say, and saying what I do, when it comes to protecting people’s rights, as well as their pocketbooks."
Why? Because the more the war on women is waged with legislative victories at the state level, the more power and rationale we give to these kind of lunatics to believe there is a voice that will respect and potentially elect their lunacy.
2014 May be an off year election. But it's worth remembering how far the right will tilt to keep these nuts in line. Because they may not win primaries, but I haven't seen an open effort by any mainstream Republican to start openly denouncing all of these anti-women views and to mount campaigns on behalf of women's rights and protection.
But maybe that's me.