WHAT IS IT with “Morning Joe”? This week Joe Scarborough started using the phrase “very progressive” like it was an epithet. Politico’s Jim VandeHei was also on the show, which resulted in the same type of buddy act that Scarborough often does with Mark Halperin.
Politico’s Jim VandeHei started by making the outlandish statement that the “country is very divided on abortion.” If you load the question and slant it in polling you get all sorts of weird results. But there is no doubt whatsoever that a majority of Americans want abortion to remain a legal procedure.
VandeHei also opined about progressives and Democrats showing “full-throated” support for abortion “anytime, anywhere.” This is very typical male, Beltway blather. He knows nothing about what happens when a woman is caught in a situation like this, not to mention that the majority of women are not for “anytime, anywhere” abortion but also refuse to play the right-wing game of guilt semantics. He’s also mystified why Obama isn’t moving to the “center” on abortion, as if a woman’s reproductive rights has a “center.” It has a heart, but I won’t begin to try to make VandeHei understand how insulting his rhetoric is to millions of progressive women, not to mention people like me who has actually been faced with just such a traumatic decision.
Why do men like Politico’s Jim VandeHei insist they’re the experts on this topic in politics, then start babbling without a thought going through any filter in their brain first?
President Obama is listening to First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Valerie Jarrett and the scores of other women, whose advice is actually informed by something beyond religious conservatism and “centrism.” This policy stance has given the President a lead among women. Because of the economy, it would be a lot closer for Obama with Romney if Republicans hadn’t blown up the issue in the first place. But it’s also much bigger than just politics to the women it impacts, it’s personal.
But remember, it was Joe Scarborough who compared President Obama’s free contraceptive mandate as being like the federal government mandating the Southern Baptist Church have female deacons. So it’s no mistake that Jim VandeHei went off on it.
But the worst from VandeHei was when he called the Democratic stance on abortion as extreme as what’s happening on the right.
Meet conventional wisdom, Beltway balance hackery.
Does Jim VandeHei have a clue what the “personhood” bills and the ultrasound legislation actually mean to women? Does he know that women overwhelmingly support Obama over Romney on the issue of reproductive rights? A major reason why is the extreme anti-women bills being touted by Republicans, including Rep. Todd Akin, which Rep. Paul Ryan co-sponsored, along with dozens of other Republicans.
So far this year, states have enacted 39 new restrictions on access to abortion. Although this is significantly lower than the record-breaking 80 restrictions that had been enacted by this point in 2011, it is nonetheless a higher number of restrictions than in any year prior to 2011. Most of the 39 new restrictions have been enacted in states that are generally hostile to abortion. For example, 14 of the new restrictions have been enacted in just three states—Arizona, Louisiana and South Dakota—that already had at least five such restrictions on the books. Fully 55% of U.S. women of reproductive age now live in one of the 26 states considered hostile to abortion rights. – Guttmacher Institute
I bet VandeHei hasn’t a clue about this either:
Three-quarters (75%) of adultsthink policymakers who are opposed to abortion should be strong supporters of birth control, according to a new survey commissioned by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. – New Survey Data of Teens and Adults Released
Republicans talk about the free birth control in conjunction with religion, but they never talk about the actual policy that is meant to stop the need for abortions in the first place.
Oh, and let’s get something else straight. Reproduction health care and abortion rights was made an issue by Republicans, not progressives.
Women are understandably freaked out about what’s happening across the country, even if Jim VandeHei doesn’t get it and doesn’t care to become informed on it before he opens his male pie hole.
We’re fighting for what could be our very lives in this policy, so being polite isn’t a priority. We’ve witnessed across the country what happens when we are, and we’re certainly not going to apologize to self-important males on cable who are scared of how strong we sound after the Republican Party puts into action a nationwide plan to vacate settled law through state actions.
If I could make one change about political coverage on cable it would be that men aren’t allowed to opine on this subject, because it’s something they will never have to face themselves.