But for all of that the overall numbers in the race have moved very little. When we polled in May McCaskill was getting only 8% of the Republican vote, and even with the controversy around Akin she’s only pushed up to 10% of it. GOP voters dislike McCaskill so much they’re not going to vote for her no matter what their nominee does. Independent voters haven’t moved at all either. In May they supported Akin 45-41, and even though they don’t like him on tonight’s poll we still found him leading 45-41 with them. [Public Policy Polling]
IT’S HARD TO not go back to what drove my brother from the Republican Party and caused his political troubles in Missouri when I look at the Todd Akin rape victim, self-aborting physical phenomenon, which stipulates that women are expected to be incubators for rapists, which by the way, is a view Paul Ryan shares. He just wasn’t stupid enough to vocalize it. Mitt Romney’s already said he’d sign “personhood” legislation. So the political party that allowed my brother to co-sponsor the ERA bill in the Missouri state senate, as well as support a woman’s right to choose in that body as well, is now a fundamentalist hot bed of extremists who will be allowed to take the entire country off the one subject that’s most important: how we get this country back to a We Build Things society again.
While the PPP poll is depressing, Survey USA, while revealing the hot bed fundamentalism across Missouri, also reveals some hope there.
54% statewide, including a majority of men and women, and a majority of those in 4 of the state’s 5 regions, say Akin should quit the race and allow another Republican to run in his place. 35% say Akin should continue his bid to unseat McCaskill. A large majority, 76%, do not share Akin’s views on rape and pregnancy. But it is important to note that 13% do share his views, including 16% of pro-life voters, 19% of conservatives and 24% of African Americans. Akin says that he mis-spoke. But 55% in Missouri don’t buy it.
The Republican Party is once again set to enshrine into its official platform support for “a human life amendment” to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday.
“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
Conservatism is a philosophy that includes not involving government and politics in people’s lives too directly, certainly not with a purpose of controlling them. But today’s Republican Party thinks they have that right, with Missouri a leading light in that backward view, which will never win in the end. It’s just too bad there aren’t any Republicans willing to start a coalition inside that party to push back on what’s taking way too much energy out of the political conversation.
What’s the matter with Todd Akin is the same thing that’s wrong with the Republican Party today, which is drawing the Democratic Party further right as well, because they’re trying to sop up people offended by the current Republican stance on women’s freedom, which is founded on the notion that women aren’t equal to men when it comes to self-determination. That a woman’s womb makes her hostage to government fiat.
The result is more people on the left and right who won’t vote and who can blame them?
So, with Republican fundamentalism ruling, Pres. Obama and the Democrats are embracing fiscal conservatives in order to cobble together just enough to tilt elections in their direction, while not making the progressive economic argument that is powerful at a time when building a new American economic engine should be everyone’s focus.
Here’s a news flash for religious conservatives, wherever they reside in the political pantheon, because Democrats have also embraced politicians with these views; see Stupak-Pitts and Pres. Obama’s gratuitous executive order. A woman finding herself in the throes of an unplanned pregnancy that she can’t abide will always find a way to get an abortion. Even if it puts her own life in danger.
In this Roman Catholic stronghold, where abortion is deeply stigmatized, reproductive health providers tell stories of women going to pharmacies across the border in Mexico, in search of a drug they hope will terminate unwanted pregnancies. […] In a 2010 study he published in the journal Reproductive Health Matters, a 30-year-old Texas woman reported that she started taking misoprostol in her 13th week of pregnancy. She bled so badly that she had to be admitted to a hospital. The woman said cost was the factor behind her decision to try misoprostol instead of visiting a clinic. But she had no regrets. “If I was put in the exact situation all over again,” she was quoted as saying, “I’d probably do it again.” [Texas Tribune]
What Todd Akin represents, which is why Mitt Romney and Republicans want him out of the race so badly and why Paul Ryan called him himself, is the callousness and controlling fundamentalism embedded in today’s Republican Party whose “big tent” fantasy doesn’t include women who demand what men have inherently, which is the civil and human rights to have control over our own body. He also is a reminder that Paul Ryan was one of the co-sponsors to a bill in January 2011 that intended to redefine rape as “forcible,” as if there is any other kind.
*[See Update Below] Compared to what Republicans are intending for women at least Pres. Obama has put the largest expansion of power in U.S. history in women’s hands by making contraception free, as well as a host of other reproductive health care options. The forgotten detail is he also chose politics over science on Plan B. These are inconvenient facts that are ignored when looking at Romney-Ryan in the White House. But it’s part of why women continue on this tread mill of individual freedoms.
Until a strong Republican pro women’s freedom and self-determination coalition develops inside that party our country will remain unable to solve the larger issues facing us.
Until Democrats refuse to compromise and coddle their own religious conservatives on matters of women’s fundamental rights of freedoms we’ll keep talking about this subject election after election.
When are political fundamentalists who want government out of food stamps, but expect that same government to police a woman’s body, going to be ostracized and made the pariahs they deserve to be?
Todd Akin is the poster boy this election. In 2010 it was Bart Stupak, and guess what, he ended up winning the argument, because Pres. Obama, Democrats and so-called progressives in Congress let him.
However, this doesn’t matter when you’re looking at the alternative, which is poised to make Todd Akin’s philosophy the one on which they’d govern if Romney-Ryan were elected.
UPDATE: This piece has been edited; stricken out is the section quoting Obama: “rape is rape,” he said: “”¦or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape, I think those are broader issues”¦” A postscript is here, because after careful examination, the intent of Pres. Obama’s statement on “forcible rape” was to distance himself from Republicans, though his awkward phrasing made it difficult to decipher.
Note: The title is a take off on “What’s the Matter with Kansas?,” a book by Thomas Frank.
image via Shutterstock