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Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's because Tweety and Susan Molinari and Joe Scarborough keep telling them he's a maverick
Posted by Jill | 5:49 AM
You'd think that when it came to an issue as important as the right to control your own body -- whether it's carrying a fetus to term or even preventing an unwanted pregnancy, women would pay more attention not even to the personal views of candidates, but to the policies they hope to enact and the people they plan to hire to enact them.

So it's astonishing that so many women have fallen for the "maverick" meme when it comes to John McCain, who has always been a staunch doctrinaire conservative, including on women's issues. In the past, McCain was able to get away with it simply by virtue of not sounding utterly batshit crazy in thrall to the Christofascist Zombie Brigade, but even that has fallen by the wayside this year.

Sorry, ladies, but it makes us women look like idiots when you're this ill-informed about something this important to your life. As the NARAL study referenced in this Amy Sullivan column notes, we've got our work cut out for us:

The NARAL survey found that when pro-choice women are told that McCain believes the Roe v. Wade decision should be overturned, their support for him drops substantially. Among pro-choice independent women, who are already more inclined to back Obama, information about the two candidates' abortion positions improves Obama's edge from 53-35 to 66-26, for a net gain of 22 percentage points. Even pro-choice Republican women shift their support after hearing about McCain's opposition to Roe: 76% initially say they will vote for McCain in November, but that number drops to 63%.

The problem for Democrats is that most voters don't sit through phone calls with pollsters walking them through the respective positions of the two nominees. That sets up a messaging battle, and it's one Republicans enter from a position of strength. In the 35 years since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, abortion has reigned as the single most controversial issue in American politics. Nevertheless, GOP presidential candidates have demonstrated a remarkable ability to strike a politically successful balance, quietly reassuring their conservative base of their anti-abortion commitment while publicly hewing to language that appeals to the pro-choice majority.

While every Republican party platform since 1976 has called for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all cases, the men who have run on those platforms have been careful to use more measured language. George W. Bush's frequent references to "the culture of life" fit that mold, borrowing a phrase made famous by Pope John Paul II that resonated with social conservatives but sounded innocuous to most pro-choice voters. When pressed in presidential debates, Bush even refused to say whether he wanted to see Roe overturned, choosing instead to talk about the importance of "changing hearts" about abortion.

On that score, McCain has gone further than Bush. Although McCain has a solid record of supporting abortion restrictions in the Senate, he has felt pressure to articulate that position - and prove his conservative bona fides - because of his strained relationship with religious conservatives. Under questioning from ABC's George Stephanopoulos, McCain said that he supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and that he believed Roe should be overturned, a position he opposed in 2000 when he came under attack from pro-life activists during the GOP primaries. And not long after he clinched the nomination in the spring of 2008, McCain gave a speech on judicial philosophy that was meant to put to rest doubts on the right about whether he would appoint pro-life judges.

But McCain's more traditional abortion rhetoric is leavened by his carefully maintained political brand as a "maverick" politician. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, believes that has led many voters to make incorrect assumptions about McCain's views on abortion and is one reason he is now courting pro-choice women, particularly Hillary Clinton's supporters. "People think that he's a maverick and that must mean that he's a moderate," Keenan says. "And they come to the conclusion that if you're a moderate, you must be pro-choice."

So here at B@B, we're going to do our part to expose John McCain's record on women's right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term:

  1. Voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
  2. Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
  3. Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions (sic) except for maternal life. (Mar 2003) (I guess that not condemning women to die constitutes a pro-choice record to some people)
  4. Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000) (I guess denying women who serve their country basic medical care is considered pro-choice to some people.)
  5. Voted YES on banning partial birth (sic) abortions. (Oct 1999) (I guess having politicians overruling women and their doctors is considered pro-choice to some people.)

Here's John McCain promising to appoint Supreme Court Justices that WILL overturn Roe v. Wade, thus ensuring that women in the Bible Belt, regardless of their personal religious beliefs, will be subject to the James Dobson/John Hagee view of abortion as part of their health care options:

The only area in which McCain parts company from the Christofascist Zombie Brigade is in the area of embryonic stem-cell research -- which means that he not only thinks the government has the right to control women's bodies on the grounds that a fetus is a human being,but he's also a fucking hypocrite about it.

His record on contraception is no better. In 2005, he voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives, and this is his embarrassing exchange with a reporter in March 2007 about the use of condoms to stop HIV transmission, in which he invokes the lunatic Tom Coburn as his go-to guy on such issues:

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”
Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

He should be embarrassed -- and ashamed of himself.

In 2004, McCain voted NO on legislation to improve the availability of contraceptives for women and to require insurance coverage of prescription birth control. Most insurance plans already cover Viagra, so I'm not sure who all these men are supposed to be fucking, unless it's about spreading their seed far and wide and knocking up as many women as possible.

McCain has dog-whistled to the right even on Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that declared that banning the use of contraception by married couples was unconstitutional and which is the next target of the Christofascists.

Annie Newman at RH Reality Check notes:

According to Medical News Today, McCain, assuaging the conservative crowd in attendance said that he would appoint conservative justices to the bench and "criticized justices for using the words ‘penumbras' and ‘emanations'." Those just happen to be two words used in the famous Griswold decision to reason that marriage fell within a zone of privacy (specifically that marriage fell under a "penumbra" of privacy and therefore married couples decision to use contraception was a private matter, not to be regulated by the government).

McCain's coded language around reproductive rights needs to be called out. With the anti-choice advocacy community renewing their focus on contraception as murder and state ballot campaigns that seek to define a fertilized human egg as a person, birth control is under very real attack.

And just for good measure, he's an asshole on pay equity as well. In April he skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay act, saying that the problem with pay inequity is simply that women need more "education and training."

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know what McCain's voting record is; it's all right out there for anyone to see. So perhaps those women still deluding themselves that John McCain is a moderate ought to stop listening to talking heads on TV invoking "Maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick maverick" over and over and over again and look at whom they're supporting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
How do we know The Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang isn't secretly worshipping one Nicolae Ceaucescu's memory for his "pro-life" policies, passing over the fact that Ceaucescu was a Communist, and a "basket case" among Communists @ that?

As in:

*Requiring married couples to have no less than five children as one with "Greater Socialist Glory."

*Requiring all pregnant women to undergo not only monthly gynecological examimations, but also harangues about their "doing their part for the Greater Glory of Socialism" and encouraging same unwilling to care for their offspring to leave them with State-run orphanages.

*Giving preference to larger families keeping their children when it came to apartments, ration allowances, job assignments, etc.

*Banning not only abortion and contraception, but also sex education and pornography (as "tending to promote decdent bougeois values***incompatible with the development of Socialism").

And for what?

All to "hasten the final onset of Pure Socialism" as per Marxist/Leninist models, unaware all along that such policies would only create a surplus of available workers to job vacancies within the parameters of a centrally-planned, State-controlled economy based heavily on Five-Year Plans--anathema to a system which regarded mass unemployment as among the failings of capitalism.

Especially considering where such models of socioeconomic mismanagement sought a Luddite mindset, keeping unskilled industry all the more labour-intensive just to score propaganda points by way of "make-work" positions designed to create an aura of nil-rate unemployment.

Come to think of it:

How would a nil-rate unemployment scenario be possible within the parameters of a free-market capitalist socioeconomic paradigm?