It seems that the Democrats have figured out the unprotected exhaust port to the Republican Death Star of money this fall, and it is the absolute insanity surrounding women’s health. The GOP could very well lose an otherwise very winnable election because of the issue of birth control, and I for one am legitimately confused as to why they are pursuing this strategy. The Republican Party that I know might take abjectly horrible positions on policy issues, but they always do so with the knowledge of how to maximize their electoral superiority. Attacking birth control in 2012 by comparsion seems like a major miscalculation.
If this is a play to garner support amongst Catholics, someone better tell the GOP leadership about how much respect Catholic lay people have for the opinions of the clergy on this particular issue. Close to 98% of Catholic women in this country use contraception of some form, defying the sexist authority of the supposedly chaste men who wish to control the bodies of their female congregants via some nonsensical medieval interpretation of the Bible. Even if the GOP wanted to forge this alliance on the shaky premise of “religious freedom” the Catholic Church is probably the last organization that most people would associate as one suffering from too much government intervention.
The GOP used to be able to effectively identify “wedge” issues, or those legislative quandaries that would force the opposing side to have to take an electorally difficult stance. Think about the death penalty debate in this country around the time of the early 1980’s; philosophically Democrats who defended life without parole in lieu of death were probably right, but nevertheless a country that was experiencing record high crime rates was not willing to feel sympathy for the human rights criminals. The issue of birth control on the other hand appears to be an unforced error on the part of the GOP. Democrats never forced (or even expected) Republicans to take a stand regarding the legality or coverage of contraception as BC has been legal in all parts of this country for 50 years and most states already require insurance companies to cover it. Instead the GOP decided to appease the radicals in their party by embracing the “personhood” stance that Mississippi even rejected.
Lastly, I for the life of me cannot see how the Republicans would allow for the treatment of Sandra Fluke to continue unabated by the activists in their party. When Fluke testified before congress she did so as a third year law student at one of the country’s best law schools, and performed with the intelligence and grace that would bring unmatched pride to virtually any parent watching the proceedings. Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, but Limbaugh acting like the worlds most despicable human being for no reason is pretty much as dependable as the sunrise at this point. The astounding lack of respect for Fluke from national Republicans however, is actually pretty surprising. Establishment members of the GOP have nothing to gain by refusing to condemn conservative activists for continuing these unforgivable personal attacks against someone like Fluke. In fact this negligence on the part of the GOP has only fueled Fluke’s national persona- which is probably the Obama campaign is using her presence at campaign events now.
In the end this eventual failure on the issues of women’s health is entirely the fault of the right wing. The leaders of the GOP could have ignored the activists in the forced birth crowd and instead focused on the winning issue of government spending (“winning” meaning electorally popular rather than actually decent policy). However they instead decided to focus on attacking something that is almost universally accepted as a part of life for everyone of a certain age. To make matter worse, the leaders of the GOP allowed activists to personally attack the mildest and most sympathetic advocate of women’s health possible. Now American voters have a choice between someone who looks like the person they want their daughters to become, or malignant “mean girl” assholes like Dana Loesch:
Yeah good luck with that strategy.