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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paul Ryan wants all the female icky to STFU

by digby


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan insisted Tuesday that while the media and the Democratic Party were trying to sidetrack Republicans with social issues, the GOP is dedicated to tackling economic issues.

“It’s not troubling for me” that there is conversation about social issues, the Wisconsin Republican said on CBS’s “This Morning.” “I think that’s more about the media, and maybe the Democrats who are trying to move it in that direction.”

“I don’t think we’re going to have a sidetrack into social issues,” Ryan asserted.The Wisconsin Republican said that Republican presidential candidates were mostly talking about economic issues.

I guess these guys were all testifying about the capital gains tax:

More than a thousand anti-choice and restrictive reproductive bills have been pushed by Republicans around the nation just since 2010. They can pretend all they want that the Tea Party takeover was strictly economic, but it won't make it true. Reap what you sow, Paul Ryan.

On the other hand, many Republicans aren't as concerned as Ryan (who fears his star will wane, I'm guessing, as social issues are revealed once again as the primary concern of GOP base voters.) Nancy Scola observes:

[S]ome Republicans are seeing an upside in the raging debate: It’s a chance, they argue, to prove to Americans that Barack Obama truly does want to weasel his way into every aspect of American life. And they’re counting on voters to recognize that fact come fall.

“It’s not really about whether contraception would be included in insurance coverage,” says Tim LeFever, talking about the approach to including birth control in the plans of religious employers that the Obama administration is selling as a compromise with the Catholic Church. LeFever runs the Capitol Resource Institute, a Focus-on-the-Family-type group, and is a California real estate lawyer. Access to contraception is settled law, he points out, some 50 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Griswold v. Connecticut. “It’s that with our country’s tradition of religious liberty, Obama would step in like he did. Very few people consider the compromise anything more than a wink and a nod. Most of us say, ‘Of course we’re still paying for it. You’re still going to war against our conscience.’ ”

And that, argue Republicans, is what this debate is all about. It’s not birth control. “The argument has been made that 98 percent of Catholic women have used contraception,” says LeFever. “But then the counterargument is that 98 percent of Catholic women have found a way to get contraception.”

I guess we're going to see if that's right. Frankly, I'm mostly afraid that men will start to agitate for a Grand Bargain common ground solution in order to end a debate about something they don't want to talk about. (I suspect Ryan represents a fair number from both parties.)In my view it's important to fight this out and see where we stand as a nation.

Interestingly, Scola quotes a Republican pollster and strategist who breaks down that battle in some very familiar ways --- not based on gender, but rather our other tribal fault lines:

What sort of political legs does the “war on women” slogan have, I asked Goeas. He let out a hearty laugh. “It fits into the category of ‘nice try.’”

Goeas puts some numbers behind that take. “Many of the women that react that way” – as in, who come away from the present debate over contraception with the idea that Republicans are eager to whittle down their right to conceive and bear children as they see fit – “aren’t Republican voters to begin with.” According to a new poll of 1,000 likely voters to be released next week, says Goeas, Republicans and Democrats do equally well on the question of which party best shares their values, tied at 46 percent. There’s only a tiny gender gap. Men lean 48 to 45 percent Republican, while women lean towards Democrats at a rate of 47 to 43 percent.

“If you’re looking at whether in fact Republicans are losing women, you can’t just look at young women, or young single women, or African-American women, or Hispanic women – you have to look at the demographics where Republicans have been strong – white women, for example, or senior women.” Slippage among those groups would be cause to worry, says Goeas. “And I’m seeing no sign of that.”

David's piece below discusses the "demographics are destiny" theme that Democrats have been leaning on for quite a while now. There's more to be said on that another time, but let's just say that until we achieve our demographically certain majority for all time, the socially conservative white Republican majority can do a lot of damage. I wouldn't wait for the numbers to magically change.

Update: You have to love this. The Alabama crusader who put the state rape requirement in his bill has backed off his specific language:

SB12 will no longer require “a woman seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound in which a doctor or technician inserted an ultrasound transducer, or wand, inside her,” State Sen. Clay Scofield (R) explained in a statement Monday, allowing the woman to determine which “method of ultrasound that she would be more comfortable with.”

Big of him, isn't it?

Seriously, these people have been trying to pass laws about inserting "wands" inside women for no reason. I honestly think we're going to look back on this and realize that it was a historical moment. I just don't know what the history will show happened next.

Also, too, the bill is still an insulting, infantalizing piece of shit.