Monday, March 19, 2012

The GOP War On Women Continues

Why would a political party go out of its way to alienate the key bloc of voters -- in this case independent women -- in a presidential election year? In other words, why would Republicans oppose contraception and preventive health care, favor laws prohibiting abortions for even the victims of rape and incest, and now in essence come out in support of violence against women?

The answer is that some Republican politicians are so beholden to the right-wing and evangelical base that has taken over the party that they'd rather forsake votes that might help them recapture the White House, or end up with a loon like Rick Santorum as their nominee who couldn't capture the White House with a Christo-sized net.

This helps explain why many Republicans oppose renewing and strengthening the once broadly bipartisan 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which the reliably sick Phyllis Schlafly asserts is a slush fund "used to fill feminist coffers" in demanding that Republicans stand up against legislation that promotes "divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men."

Janice Shaw Crouse, a senior fellow at the conservative Concerned Women for America, says her group had been pressing senators hard to oppose reauthorization of legislation she called "a boondoggle" that vastly expands government and "creates an ideology that all men are guilty and all women are victims."

Not all Republicans oppose renewing the act.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who got her wrist slapped by some of her woman constituents after she voted against contraception legislation, warned her colleagues that the GOP is at risk of being successfully painted as against women with potentially grievous political consequences.

Some conservatives are feeling trapped.

"I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition," whined Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who joined his Republican peers last month on the Judiciary Committee in unanimously opposing the latest version. "You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?"

Sessions did not specify what those "things" are, but other Republicans have said they are opposed to provisions to allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas and that would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

"Obviously, you want to be for the title," said Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, of the act. "If Republicans can't be for it, we need to have a very convincing alternative."

Thus far no alternative has been offered.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has taken up arms in the War on Women and is desperately trying to out-Santorum Santorum. Having supported Planned Parenthood as Massachusetts governor and contributed personally to the group, he now says that he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood

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