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Both sides are setting up positions for the 2014 election campaign. One placement is clear: national office Republicans have overreached on abortion. Their problem: a majority of self-reported Republican voters want to keep abortion legal.

Extremism in defense of wack-job dogma ??? That could be expensive.

Typical GOPer Madness:

"In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out."
-- State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, Texas

That is an argument for having no exceptions for rape or incest.

"Ban Abortion! Ban Abortion !!! BAN ABORTION !!!" That has been a picket line chant for decades. Not this:

"The Base" has always agreed with the part about reducing unplanned pregnancies. We have always had a point of agreement. Seeing abortion as "a personal right" makes the difference.

The next two or three years will be critical: an emotional counterattack on the abortion issue can move a couple points from the GOP over to Solid Blue. When that happens the GOP will lose the better part of its influence from Florida to Georgia and up to Virginia, plus Kentucky and the mid-latitude Midwest. Texas becomes "Leans Red" but Democrats don't need it.

For delicious quotes and more, follow below the orange muffin:

Assuming that Dems hit the GOP with a strong counterattack on abortion, the damage will be deserved.

Republicans bumbled on for 40 years giving the Religious Right nothing. Presidents from Nixon to Reagan to Bush43 spoke out against abortion and did nothing. No new laws, no Executive Orders. [Oops. Bush43 issued a "gag rule" on international NGOs to ban abortion advice. See comments.] They got to vote for Republicans and nothing came back.

Then in the 2010 and then the 2012 elections some 140 of 232 Republican House Districts went to John Birch Society extremists, renamed as the Tea Party. Legislatures in Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota, and Wisconsin went wild and passed laws that apply various tricks to undermine legal abortion.

Nobody asked Republican voters.

National Republicans got on board with the craziness. Now it's middle of a race to prove their chops to the smallest fraction of "The Base" that wants to ban abortion. Unfortunately for these Worthies, the Fundie voters constituted no more than 12% to 15% of the voting population. That is a minority of their own party.

Republican statements could have come from clones of Michele Bachmann:

"It's Jessica who's having to have her body live with the ravages of this vaccine."
—Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota. Inventing dangers for the HPV vaccine

"Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and... if they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. ...they feel pleasure....”
— Representative Michael Burgess

"But on the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?"
— John Koster, Washington State

"As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."
— Clayton Williams, Texas. He did say that with a microphone in front of him.

"One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
—Rick Santorum, then a Senator from Pennsylvania

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen."
—Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

"I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape."
—Chuck Winder, Idaho state senator

"These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness...We are not going to have our men become subservient."
— Representative Allen West, Florida

"Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of forcible rape."
—Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, as part of an extended rejection of rape as a reason for abortion

"The method of conception doesn't change the idea of life."
—Paul Ryan, vice-presidential nominee, rejecting rape as a reason for abortion

Abortions make up "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."
—Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona. Off by 87% of their budget.

“The executive director of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois.”
-- Representative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota

"Put yourself in the father's [rapist's] situation."
—Tom Smith, Pennsylvania

"The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work and they don't get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever."
—Representative Henry Aldridge, North Carolina

Who couldn't beat this?

It's time for a counterattack.

One more Bachmannism: "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."

You know how it goes. And nonetheless, most Republicans who show up to vote in November are business people or else farmers or some such. They are embarrassed by this swill.

Even with White Fundies, not everybody wants to outlaw abortion. There's a Thinking Bigots segment to the crowd. These folks are happy to see Blacks and Hispanics avail themselves of abortion while "strategic" Whites go on having babies apace.


National Republicans, especially, are vulnerable to a simple emotional counterattack.

-- Make sure that Democrats support Legal Abortion as a "personal right." That fits with opposing Big Government.

-- Match it up with a drive to reduce Unplanned Pregnancy as the key to reducing abortion.

Simple enough concepts. Easy to sell. Easy to remember. And there are no practical responses for today's Republicans, other than to repeat their usual swill.

Going into 2014 election season we have Obama virtually winning the War on Terror with 7 deaths in 5 years, a recovering economy, Chris Christie in the stocks, and the possibility of vaporizing abortion as a vote-generator.

One more statement that gets majority agreement from voting Republicans:

“The dismaying truth is that Birtherism is part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality that has taken hold of intimidating segments of one of the two political parties that alternate in power in our governing institutions. It is akin to the view that global warming is a hoax, or that the budget can be balanced through spending cuts alone, or that contraception causes abortion, or that evolution is just another theory, on a par with the theory that the earth is six thousand years old.”

― Hendrik Hertzberg

Education makes wack-job dogma impossible. That is where the GOP candidates have put themselves for 2014.

Now... make it happen.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the term (10+ / 0-)
    reproductive freedom
    as political messaging or branding. I think it can appeal to Republicans since they do love their freedumz. It also puts the people opposed to abortion as being opposed to freedom. Which is of course what they are.

    "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    by shaggies2009 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:01:47 PM PST

    •  Going after Republican voters (5+ / 0-)

      means going after who they are, demographically. Older, White, church goers,  even Fox viewers.

      The problem here is to tie "Legal Abortion" to an acceptable appeal to constitutional guarantees. "A Personal Right" does that job.

      You need to create a Single Moment experience where the target generates an enduring belief.

      Doing an ad campaign related to abortion, avoid anything that connects to sexual revolution, sexual freedom, The Sixties, liberties, "Choice," or medical language.  

      You win with emotions or you lose.

      "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

      by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:28:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think this diary (4+ / 0-)

    provides a path forward for reproductive rights forces.

    •  Emphasize "Unplanned Pregnancies" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and that abortions come from 40% of those pregnancies.

      We agree to work hard on unplanned pregnancies; they agree to support the constitutional protections for legal abortion. Democrats and a majority of today's Republican voters want both.

      Then there's getting state legislatures elected with similar agreements in place. Gerrymandering makes that a tougher problem.

      "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

      by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:41:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This sounds a bit too rational. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to appeal to the irrational voters who brought us these Tealiban politicians in the first place.  If we guesstimate that 30% of Republican voters will never vote for a pro-choice candidate no matter what, are the remaining 15 - 20% going to vote on a pro-choice 'personal  rights' platform when it comes to abortion?  Is abortion even a major issue for those voters, or are they choosing whom to vote for based on other issues?

    With that said, in terms of campaigning, I think we need pro-choice commercials.  Instead of hiding the issue, not talking about it openly the way politicians campaign openly about social safety nets, about income inequality, about any number of other progressive issues, we need commercials that actually forward these common sense 'personal rights' notions that you discuss in this diary.  

    Talk about abortion as we would any other medical procedure.  I don't hear politicians doing that - it's as if it really is a shameful thing.  Yes, we should avoid abortion by supporting contraception, but sometimes even when contraception is used, women will need to make a choice - and that choice needs to be discussed openly the way we talk about any other medical choice, like using blood pressure medicine, or insulin for diabetes, or an appendectomy.  Bring abortion out of the closet.

    “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” ― Winston Churchill

    by emsquared on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:29:39 PM PST

    •  We do need a positive message. Ads, fliers, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      web site messages, text & email -- all of it is good. And there's no such thing as "too rational" -- that's either not enough information or bad thinking.

      -- The phrase "Pro-Choice" isn't going to win votes. It is old, worn out. It never had much of a natural following outside of New York.

      -- Medical terminology also loses. You win with emotions or you lose.

      The first point of this design is to minimize the number of Single Issue Anti-Abortion Voters.
      Don't argue about "choice." Don't talk "fetus" and "partial term." Frame the emotions of the issue: Legal Abortion exists as a constitutionally protected right.

      Second point is to embarrass Republican candidates who adopt wingnut positions. That's all Big Government, intrusive, authoritarian craziness.

      Between the two, that's a rational opportunity to poach votes. Instead of complaining about "the irrational voters who brought us these Tealiban politicians," hone a solid strategy and get votes.

      The Tea Party sells lies. Not much but lies. Blame the sellers, not the people who get scammed.

      "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

      by waterstreet2013 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:56:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it is different from other medical procedures (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am wholeheartedly, staunchly, unwaveringly pro-choice and have been for almost fifty years since I had to help the sister of a friend get an illegal abortion. It was an eye opening experience and left me with a permanent Never Again stance. Abortion must be legal, available, and as safe as we can make it, and only the woman and her own trusted allies have any right to participate in the decision. But I don't think it's productive to base our appeal to voters on the idea that it is just like any other medical procedure.

      I have known many women who believed they could feel the presence of the potential baby very very early, earlier than the old six-weeks pregnancy tests could detect anything. I did myself. For anyone who feels or believes that there may already be another potential person in the situation, us talking as if abortion is like having your appendix out just makes us seem untrustworthy and irrelevant.

      I agree that we need to bring abortion out of the closet. It is not shameful. It is sometimes the most honorable choice.
      We need to support it without needing to claim that it's just like any other medical procedure.

  •  "No executive orders" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, waterstreet2013

    Bush signed the gag rule

    (reversed by Obama on day 3)

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:51:30 PM PST

  •  Abortion is a Private Property Issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you're not allowed to own your own body, you're not a person.

  •  it's time to go on offense n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sometimes the dragon wins

    by kathy in ga on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:39:39 PM PST

  •  Keep government (0+ / 0-)

    out of my home and
    out of my health care.
    4th Amendment.
    Freedom from search and seizures.

    From Wiki

    Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, prohibiting unreasonable searches, seizures, and recognizing Americans' natural right of privacy.
    Full text:
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

    by samddobermann on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:05:22 AM PST

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