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."Who couldn't beat this?
—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
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.”Education makes wack-job dogma impossible. That is where the GOP candidates have put themselves for 2014.
― Hendrik Hertzberg
Now... make it happen.