DCCC Wants It Both Ways-- To Demonize Anti-Choice Republicans While Supporting Anti-Choice Blue Dogs
Misogynist freaks Akin (R) and Donnelly (D)
Democrats were in a feeding frenzy this week because Rep. Todd Akin's insane statements about legitimate rape not causing pregnancies, not so much about the deranged Akin himself as much as his partnering with Paul Ryan and other fanatic anti-Choice psychopaths on a bunch of really crazy measures. One gave eggs personhood. Another gave a rapist the right to go to court and sue his victim if she tried to get an abortion after he raped her. Republicans are normally fairly successful at keeping these insane positions out of the mainstream media, especially because the Senate always blocks them. Of course if lunatics from the House-- like Akin (R-MO), Rick Berg (R-ND), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Connie Mack (R-FL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN)...-- get into the Senate, those crackpot bill they keep passing will become law. And, oh yes, that last name had a "D" next to it. The Beltway Democrats orchestrated a retirement announcement so that virulently anti-Choice and reactionary Blue Dog Joe Donnelly would be able to claim the Democratic nomination without a primary battle. And, yes, he not only votes with the Republicans on these horribly misogynistic proposals of theirs, he co-sponsors them as well.
In fact, for all the hollerin' from the hypocritical Beltway Democrats about how Ryan and Akin cosponsored a bunch of demented War Against Women legislation, the granddaddy of 'em all is often referred to by Boehner, Cantor and Ryan as "bipartisan." They can do that because H.R. 3, their quintessential anti-Choice bill was co-sponsored by 11 Democrats. And while Steve Israel does virtually nothing but look for more Democrats like those 11 to support in congressional campaigns, the DCCC is spending immense amounts of money-- millions and millions of dollars fighting to reelect anti-Choice ConservaDems with positions as extreme and hateful as Akin's and Ryan's-- and Bachmann's, King's, Foxx's, Gohmert's, Hensarling's... the whole freakish menagerie. Of the 11 Democratic co-sponsors of H.R. 3, only one is running for the Senate (Donnelly). 5 were either defeated or decided to retire before they could be defeated and 5 are running for reelection. Of the 5 running for reelection 2, Mark Critz and Mike McIntyre, are on the top priority list for DCCC spending. The other 3, Lipinski, Jr., Collin Peterson and Nick Rahall, are judged to be in easy enough races as to not need any help.
And when the final vote came on H.R. 3, it wasn't only the Democratic cosponsors who backed it. Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dale Kildee (D-MI), and Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT) also voted for it. Matheson is also on major DCCC life-support. Monday, Jodi Jacobson did a good explanation of this bill every single Republican and these 16 reprehensible Democrats voted for.
On May 4th, 2011, an overwhelming majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives-- 235 members-- voted in favor of H.R. 3, which they called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," and we called the "Let Women Die Act," because one aspect of this wholly offensive bill allowed hospitals, clinics, and even doctors to refuse not only to provide an abortion even in cases where the woman would otherwise die, but also to allow them to refuse to refer her for emergency care. In plain language, let her die.
The original version of that bill also included language that would have redefined rape, including the term "forcible rape" as the yardstick for what constituted "real rape" according to the GOP and Tea Party. An outcry ensued, and the language was dropped... for a time. It was, however, brought in later through the backdoor and became part of the final bill. In effect, the GOP's premise is that the only "legitimate rape" is a "forcible rape," one that occurs when a virgin, "good Christian" mother or woman, or otherwise "innocent" woman is carried away by a stranger at knife or gunpoint. This definition by extension would have eliminated date rape, marital rape, intimate partner rape, the rape of a sex worker, the rape of a woman too inebriated to give consent, and other forms of rape as "legitimate" forms of rape. It dismisses the reality that most rapes of women are committed by people they know. It is also no coincidence that the right wing wants to deny women in the military who have been sexually assaulted assistance for abortion care in the case of rape, and that some in the right wing have outright blamed service-women for being raped in the first place.
H.R. 3 epitomized the effort to redefine rape in law. As Michelle Goldberg wrote in the Daily Beast:
Under H.R. 3, the only victims of “forcible rape" would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape-- say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man-- would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence-- say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity.
Akin's ineptitude in describing his position was a "political" mistake but not a mistake of substance. He was merely stating what the GOP writ large believes and has in effect been trying to pass into law... a redefinition of what constitutes rape to what the hard-line Christian right and extremist right-wing legislators see as "legitimate" rape. With Romney and Ryan in the White House and a Senate and House in the hands of the GOP, this law would easily pass, whether or not Akin is elected.
Unlike most Democrats freaking out over this, at least Jacobson mentions (albeit in passing) that the Republican anti-woman agenda is being aided and abetted by Blue Dogs. What no one ever mentions is that the Democratic Beltway Establishment is guilty as well, for rewarding these misogynistic fanatics with far more money than they give progressives-- and, in Steve Israel's case-- for recruiting more of them.