Mission elapsed time: T + 49 and counting*
Naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern. – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
I had to spend most of the day tracking down hurricane lamps, unfortunately, so this Friday posting, as seems to be a pattern, will be abbreviated. I thought I’d take a quick look at the latest skirmish in the “War on Women”: L’affaire Richard Mourdock. (Mourdock is running for Senate against Democrat Joe Donnelly, and the excitement began with some ill-considered musings on theodicy by Mourdock in debate.)
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Here is a more or less random collection of Mourdock-related twitterage from today and yesterday:
ABC News: Biden Scolds GOP Ticket For Not Having ‘Moral Courage’ To Condemn Mourdock, Akin
TruthTeam2012: Tell Mitt Romney to stand up to extremism in his own party and take down his ad endorsing Richard Mourdock.
BarackObama: Romney’s endorsement of Mourdock is just the latest example of the severely conservative candidates he supports.
Jed Lewison: The president did at least 7 local TV interviews today. Mitt Romney was silent. I guess Richard Mourdock gave him a gag order.
Steve Weinstein: Ladies in all states: Mitt = Mourdock & Akin. He will kill Roe v. Wade. Kill Planned Parenthood. Ultimately kill women. Vote.
Sarah Reese Jones: Biden Slams Romney For Not Having the ‘Gumption’ to Condemn Mourdock’s Statements
Ed Schulz: The silence from Romney on Mourdock and Sununu is simply deafening
Slate: Richard Mourdock or Abu Hamza? Were these quotes from Islamic fundamentalists or social conservatives?
Donna Brazile: Romney Refuses to Answer Questions about His Support for Mourdock Mr. Romney, where is your leadership?
Greg Sargent: Is Romney refusing to pull support for Mourdock b/c he worries about alienating evangelicals?
DailyKos: Romney campaign so desperate to change subject from Mourdock that they accuse Colin Powell of racism
Rachel Maddow: Akin and Mourdock aren’t outliers. Banning abortion for rape victims is the new Republican mainstream.
(These are in no particular order. I didn’t link to any civilians; from the twitter feed, most of the work by professionals was done yesterday, although partisan outrage continues to spread.)
Thing is, Donnelly has a record, too. Here it is (hat tip BDBlue). Take one example, “HR 3803 – District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” HR 3803 was co-sponsored by none other than Todd Akin (R-MO), the not undeserving target of a previous Democratic feeding frenzy when he became the Republican candidate for Senate after Democrats helped him to the win with $1.5 million. Here’s what analysts had to say about HR 3803 at the time. The Hill:
H.R. 3803 would criminalize abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Republicans say some research suggests fetuses feel pain at that point, though the science is inconclusive. D.C. physicians who disobey the law would be fined or imprisoned for up to two years. The bill also contains new reporting requirements and, under certain circumstances, civil remedies for partners and parents of women who have abortions. It would not provide an exemption for victims of rape or incest or women whose pregnancies threaten their health.
And here’s a letter from Bria Murray at RH Reality Check to the sponsor of HR 3803, Trent Franks:
In case you are wondering, Representative Franks, this is what caring for women and babies looks like. Caring for women and babies is presenting them with true, unbiased facts as part of comprehensive program that supports a person no matter the choice they make.
Caring for women and babies is not forcing poor women (as 42 percent of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, and 27 percent have incomes between 100–199 percent of the federal poverty level) to have babies, and then providing them with no assistance feeding those babies, or making sure those babies are born and stay healthy.
I agree with Bria Murray. And I’d like to think that Maddow, Kos, Sargent, Brazile, Schulz, Jones, Weinstein, Lewison, and the operatives at BarackObama and TruthTeam2012 do also. But apparently Joe Donnelly doesn’t, because, along with Todd Akin, he voted for HR 3083. And if banning abortion for rape victims is one of your litmus tests for a candidate — and even if it is Maddow’s, it’s certainly not a bad one — Joe Donnelly doesn’t pass it. Donnelly too — based on his support for banning abortion for rape victims — is “extremist,” “severely conservative,” would “ultimately kill women,” and might as well be an “Islamic fundamentalist.” Making it unfortunate that the “silent” Maddow, Kos, Sargent, Brazile, Schulz, Jones, Weinstein, and Lewison lack the “moral courage,” “gumption,” and “leadership” to condemn him.* Ah well, the way of the world.
While we’re at it, here are some of Joe Donnelly’s other votes: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act: No; Prohibiting Federal Funds for Use by Planned Parenthood: Yes; Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding for Abortion: Yea; Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012: Yes; Amends Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to Prohibit Abortion Coverage: Yes. Presumably Maddow, Kos, Sargent, Brazile, Schulz, Jones, Weinstein, Lewison, and the operatives of BarackObama and TruthTeam2012 agree with all of those votes as well? Yes? No? As Digby remarks:
These people see women as an abstraction and blastocysts and fetuses as real, which makes it quite clear that they do devalue women and seek to control them.
How true, how very true, at least so far as treating women as abstract and devalued counters in the two party shell game. And for some definition of “these people.” See for example Executive Order 13535.
* * *
The dogs bark, and the caravan moves on. No doubt some new feeding frenzy has emerged by now; the exercise in deeply held principle described here is, after all, over two news cycles old. As far as the discourse goes, what annoys me is not so much the “any stick to beat a dog” tactics used by Democrats; nor the Jesuitical contortions required to figure out which evil really is the lesser, if any; nor even the strategic hate management that, faced with two candidates who would ban abortion for rape victims, holds one up as the scum of the earth, and the other as a moral exemplar. No, what truly frosts me is that the Democrat operatives who ran this little campaign assumed that nobody would check the record.