Ted Cruz’s Dark, Twisted World: Why His Far-Right Social Views Are Even Scarier Than You Think

It will come as no shock that the Texas senator is an extremist. But it might surprise to learn just how extreme he is.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Heather Digby parton

Emphasis Mine

Probably one of the most unlikely scandalettes of the 2016 primary has to be the National Enquirer “exposé ” of Senator Ted Cruz’s alleged serial infidelity. Nobody knows to this day where the story originated, although some reporters suggested after it was run that the Rubio campaign had shopped it to them earlier in the cycle. But Donald Trump is known to be quite close to the publisher of the Enquirer (a man aptly named David Pecker) so it’s always possible the story was run for his benefit. Cruz denied it and it faded in the excitement of the campaign, at least for now.

But whatever its provenance, the story was interesting not so much because it’s unbelievable that any politician might have a zipper problem (it’s almost a requirement for office) but because it was the very pious Cruz being accused. This is the man, after all, whose first victory speech began with “God bless the great state of Iowa, let me first of all say, to God be the glory.”

Cruz announced his candidacy at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University where he laid out his vision for the country. And he told a story that he tells on the trail all the time:

When my dad came to America in 1957, he could not have imagined what lay in store for him. Imagine a young married couple, living together in the 1970s, neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. They are living a fast life.

When I was three, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son. And yet when he was in Houston, a friend, a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a Bible study, invited him to Clay Road (ph) Baptist Church, and there my father gave his life to Jesus Christ.

And God transformed his heart. And he drove to the airport, he bought a plane ticket, and he flew back to be with my mother and me.

There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you, in my family there’s not a second of doubt, because were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would not have been saved and I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household.

It may seem odd that his “testimony” is his father’s story but it makes sense. Cruz himself was a very smart kid who grew up in Texas and went to Princeton and then Harvard Law which doesn’t provide quite the same pathos as his daddy’s tale of sin and redemption. And his dad is definitely important to his career—he’s a genuine evangelical preacher and wingnut firebrand, well known on the conservative speaking circuit. He brings with him all the authentic street cred his son could possibly need in this crowd.

Cruz’s campaign strategy was built on the foundation of support from the ultra-conservative evangelical base of the Republican partythis recent Pew Poll shows that nearly half of his total voters are white observant evangelical Christians, most of whom attend Church at least weekly. By contrast Trump gets a share of evangelicals but more mainline protestants and Catholics who attend church less than once a week. (This article by Jeff Sharlet in the New York Times Magazine about Trump and prosperity gospel types is fascinating. I’m not even sure they’re really social conservatives.)

I wrote about Cruz’s original strategy (based upon Carter’s peanut brigade) a while back, in which he had planned to sweep the southern states and build up a big lead, just as Hillary Clinton has done on the Democratic side. It didn’t work out for him because it turns out that a lot of the southern conservatives he was counting on were mesmerized by a decadent, thrice married New Yorker. Who would have ever guessed? But he has shown tremendous tenacity, hanging on long after all the Big Boys of the Deep Bench fell by the wayside and it’s now a two man race to the finish.

The adultery accusations don’t seem to have hurt Cruz with his base voters, although it’s possible we haven’t yet seen the effects in more socially conservative states. But Cruz has built up a lot of credibility in that crowd over the years. He’s won the straw poll at the Values Voter Summit three years in a row. Two years ago he made a huge splash in anticipation of announcing his run for president by giving a rousing speech in which he declared, “We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel!” which sums up the foundation of the evangelical right’s philosophy.

Cruz is an anti-abortion warrior of the most strident kind. He wants to ban abortion with no exception for rape or incest. He unctuously explains it this way:

“When it comes to rape, rape is a horrific crime against the humanity of a person, and needs to be punished and punished severely. But at the same time, as horrible as that crime is, I don’t believe it’s the child’s fault. And we weep at the crime, we want to do everything we can to prevent the crime on the front end, and to punish the criminal, but I don’t believe it makes sense to blame the child.”

He holds the same view of a 12-year-old girl being forced to give birth to her own sister: tough luck.

He has led the charge against Planned Parenthood in the Senate, urging a government shutdown if the president didn’t agree to defund it. And he’s gone farther than that:

“If I’m elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office. The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama. The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations.”

Ted Cruz is a lawyer and ex-attorney general of Texas who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Unlike Donald Trump when, he makes a statement like this, he cannot claim to be ignorant of the fact that the president instructing the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation on anyone would be the very definition of abuse of power and quite likely an impeachable offense.

His dismissive comments on contraception, meanwhile, are insulting to every woman:

“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So, yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them.”

He’s equally adamant about gay marriage, and insists that he will work to overturn last year’s landmark Obergefell ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country, just as he will work to overturn Roe vs Wade. He says:

“It’s not the law of the land. It’s not the Constitution. It’s not legitimate, and we will stand and fight.”

Again, this is a man who argued cases before the Supreme Court and presumably knows very well that marriage equality is the law of the land.

He has defended a ban on late term-abortions and a display of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol. He argued that the pledge of allegiance should include the words “Under God.”  According to this astonishing article by David Corn in Mother Jones, he even defended a state ban on dildos, arguing the state had an interest in “discouraging…autonomous sex,” comparing masturbation to hiring a prostitute or committing bigamy and declaring that no right exists for people to “stimulate their genitals.” (His college roommate tweeted a hilarious reaction to that story yesterday.)

He’s all in on the “religious liberty” legal theory as defined by the Manhattan Declaration and enjoys keeping company with some of the most radical dominionists in the nation, including David Bartonthe junk historian who also runs Cruz’s number one super PAC, Keep the Promise. That super PAC is funded by a couple of Cruz’s megabucks donors, Texas energy barons Farris and Dan Wilks, both of whom are ultra conservative Christians. He’s even tight with the bigots who spearheaded the recent sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina, congressional candidate and evangelical pastor Mark Harris and the former HGTV twins the Benham brothers, whose show was cancelled over their anti-gay activities. And then there is his father Rafael Cruz, who is counted among the most militant extremist preachers in the country and who believes his son was sent by God to turn America into a theocracy.

Ted Cruz’s confrontational political philosophy is revolutionary. His policy agenda is at the farthest edge of conservative movement thinking, even including gold buggery and the abolition of the IRS and half a dozen other agencies and functions of the federal government. His foreign policy advisers include anti-Muslim cranks like Frank Gaffney. His ideology is doctrinaire right wing conservative. And he is a fanatical conservative evangelical Christian whose beliefs place him at the fringe of an already non-mainstream worldview.

It’s not surprising that people would have a hard time believing that such a man would be a serial adulterer. But when you think about it, he would hardly be the first conservative Christian leader to be undone in such a way. (In fact, it’s so common you have to wonder if it isn’t an occupational hazard.) So far, he’s weathered the storm. But he is a fully realized right wing radical deeply embedded in the conservative Christian right.  If any of it turns out to be true, Cruz will have a very long way to fall.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/ted-cruzs-dark-twisted-world-why-his-far-right-social-views-are-even-scarier-you-think?akid=14170.123424.9lSTbc&rd=1&src=newsletter1054631&t=18

Hillary Clinton Compares Anti-Abortion Republicans To Terrorists

Source: Patheos.com

Author: Michael Stone

Emphasis Mine

Dropping an enormous bomb of truth, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton compares her Republican rivals’ views on women’s health issues to those of “terrorist groups.”

Speaking in Cleveland on Thursday, Clinton slammed the 2016 Republican candidates for their “out-of-date and out-of-touch policies” on women’s health issues, even going so far as to compare some Republican candidates to terrorists:

Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies.  They are dead-wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward. We are not going back.

Clinton specifically cited Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in her speech, noting he “brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to healthcare and abortion.”

Speaking to the large crowd at the campaign speech at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Clinton defended Planned Parenthood from GOP efforts to defund the organization dedicated to healthy family planning and women’s reproductive health, saying:

I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer or the teenager who didn’t get pregnant because she has access to contraception. Or anyone who has ever been protected by an HIV test.

Clinton is right to compare the radical, anti-abortion, forced-birth, religious extremists that are currently leading the GOP to terrorists. And it is good to hear someone of her political stature make the claim that needs to be made.

Bottom line: The current field of Republican presidential candidates are not interested in protecting women, families, or children. All they are interested in is satisfying their perverse religious superstitions by imposing their will on the bodies of American women.

See:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2015/08/hillary-clinton-compares-anti-abortion-republicans-to-terrorists/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=progressivesecularhumanist_082815UTC010804_daily&utm_content=&spMailingID=49425253&spUserID=MTIxNzQwMzMwMDkyS0&spJobID=744241692&spReportId=NzQ0MjQxNjkyS0

The GOP’s First 2016 Debate Showcases Its Right-Wingers and True Crazies

Fox News shows the nation how nuts the GOP has become.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Steven Rosenfeld

Emphasis Mine 

The Republican Party’s first official debate of the 2016 presidential election showed the GOP’s leading candidates as not just all hard right-wingers, but different shades of crazy.

There was Donald Trump, who will doubtless draw the most press attention by declaring right off the bat that if he is not the nominee, he would seriously considering running as an independent—which, as Fox News’ debate moderator Bret Baier said, “would almost certainly hand over the race to Democrats and likely another Clinton.”

That brought boos from the crowd and a spontaneous attack by Sen. Rand Paul, who blared, “This is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicans.” To which, Trump replied, “ Well, I’ve given him [Paul] plenty of money.”

That feisty spree set the tone for much of the next two hours. Trump would go on to explain that, of course, he spends money to buy politicans’ attention, and failed to see anything at all wrong with that. When asked what he got in return from Hillary Clinton, he said that she came to his latest wedding. But beyond political gossip like that—or saying he was tired of being criticized for being politically incorrect after crude and sexist statements about women—the Fox News debate made it clear that most of the GOP’s leading candidates roughly fell into two right-wing camps: truly crazed extremists (Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee) or blandly presentable right-wingers, whose agenda is still remarkably out-of-synch with mainstream America (Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Chris Christie).

The blander crazies are probably the more dangerous crew, because even though their policies are very far to the right—anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-tax, anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-science—they will be portrayed by mainstream media as moderates. Take reproductive rights, just an example.

Bush answered a question about being on the board of ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation, which has supported Planned Parenthood, by saying that his record as governor was to lead the country in restricting abortions, passing parental notification laws, outlawing late-term abortions, and being first in the nation to have pro-life license places. That was the quote-unquote, moderate response, when compared to Mike Huckabee, who said that the next president must declare that the Constitution’s 5th and 14th amendments protects the rights of the unborn “from the moment of conception.” Speaking of the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion rights, he said, “It’s time that we recognize that the Supreme Court is not the supreme being.”

Other social issues followed the same arc. Early in the debate, one Fox moderator pressed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for being a litte too much like St. Peter because he expanded his state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare, which Kasich defended. But when asked about same-sex marriage, he replied, “If one of my daughters happened to be that…” Kasich quickly followed up by saying, he’d love his daughters unconditionally, but such exchanges showed just how immoderate the GOP’s supposed moderates are.

The more serious exchanges were interrupted by moments that were astounding political theatre, such as Trump sparring with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly who said, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals…’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Trump began his reply, saying, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct… I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble.”

Exchanges like that quickly ended and were followed by other zany questions, such as asking Ted Cruz why he recently called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar? To which, Cruz replied, because he was one—and the country needed politicians who spoke the truth. “As Republicans, we keep winning elections. We have a Republican House. We have a Republican Senate, and we don’t have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do.”

When it came to specifics of what the candidates would do, the template was roughly the same. The plan is to cut taxes and regulations to promote economic growth, build up the military—including sending troops overseas fight a new ground war with ISIS, and saying that this strategy worked for Ronald Reagan and would surely work again. Of course, there were small differences. On immigration, everyone objected to amensty for the undocumented already in America, but some—such as Jeb Bush—said a pathway to legalized status was needed, especially to ensure economic growth. Others were less charitable. Trump, of course, said a new border wall needed to be built—but with a large door in it for those following a legal process to enter.

The debate did showcase the candidates’ political skills and that might shake up their ranking in the polls. Chris Christie had a good night, feistily dismissing questions about New Jersey’s lagging economy under his watch—it was worse before he got there, he said—and eagerly attacking Rand Paul for his opposition to NSA spying on Americans. Marco Rubio, who has the best smile of anyone on the stage, didn’t say anything that was truly cringe-worthy, even though he was fervently pro-life and almost libertarian on federal oversight—on the environment and education. John Kasich appeared almost grandfatherly on stage, projecting himself as a seasoned hand on budget and national security issues. And Jeb Bush, when pressed on being the heir to a political dynasty, replied he had a higher bar to prove himself with voters, which came across as both insecure and honest. In contrast, Scott Walker, who didn’t make any mistakes, came across with answers that seemed a bit too canned—practiced and unengaging.

The crazies, however, may have won the night’s battle but set themselves back in the longer war. Trump clearly distinghished himself as someone who really doesn’t care what people think about him—he’s a businessman who will do whatever it takes. The other outlying ideologues—Cruz, Huckabee, Carson, Paul—all seem to be in narrower silos where their followers will love what they said, and how they said it, but they’re less likely to break through to a larger base.

You can be sure that the Republican Party will declare their first debate a great success. Millions of people watched. They saw candidates up close and personal. Their remarks will surely shake up the race. And, to be sure, the night will also be seen by Democrats as pure political manna from heaven—because the modern GOP was on display in vivid color, and because it is not a party of mere establishment right-wingers, but also out-and-out crazies running for the presidency.  

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/gops-first-2016-debate-showcases-its-right-wingers-and-true-crazies?akid=13363.123424.-8l4Ir&rd=1&src=newsletter1040551&t=1

5 Most Absurd Conspiracy Theories Peddled By Anti-Choice Christians

Why is the anti-choice movement even taken seriously as a political movement by the media?

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

Emphasis Mine

(N.B.: perhaps the best examples of the need for abortions might be found in the current Republican Presidential field.)

For the past few years, conservatives have been diligently trying to put a kinder, gentler face on the anti-choice movement. They try to hide that they’re a bunch of ghouls stuck in a titillation-disgust obsession with female sexuality and reproductive function. Instead, they claim to be a bunch of well-meaning church ladies just trying to help those poor young ladies realize that their true calling is motherhood.

But a few weeks ago, the mask got ripped off when a radical anti-choice group going by the name Center for Medical Progress released a bunch of misleadingly edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of selling fetal body parts in some kind of black market profiteering scheme. The accusations got a momentary blip of incredulous media coverage before the debunking started. To summarize: the people in the videos are actually talking about donating fetal tissue to research (something even Republicans have supported in the  past). The people behind the stunt are the same kind of loony right-wing nuts who love trading in bizarre conspiracy theories.

The real question here is why the anti-choice movement is taken seriously at all as a political movement by the media. The movement has a long history of pushing breathless and implausible urban legends that are more at home on some conspiracy theory website than in grown-up politics. Reproductive health care sits at an intersection of human sexuality and medicine, and anti-choicers really love wallowing in the ghastly and the sensational, even if neither has any relationship to reality.

(N.B.: the ‘pro-life’ movement has Never been about life: it is about sex.)

Here are some of the more ridiculous and gross examples.

1. ‘The Silent Scream’

The Silent Scream is a bit of religious right propaganda about abortion created in 1984. Simply looking at the video cover, with its horror movie font and pixelated image of a screaming face, should give you an idea of what level of ridiculousness we’re dealing with. The movie, which claims that a 12-week-old fetus “screams” when it is aborted, is so over the top it reads like camp to all but its intended audience of naïve conservative Christians. The Silent Screamhas the appeal of a snuff movie,” said a 1985 review in the New Republic, which also noted its “inappropriate horror B-movie title roll.”

2. ‘Hooking Kids On Sex’

The Center for Medical Progress is far from the first group making lurid accusations that Planned Parenthood engages in sinister behavior for profit. In 2013, the American Life League (ALL) put out a breathless video titled Hooking Kids On Sex.

“Just as the goal of a drug dealer is to make drug addicts,” the narrator explains, “Planned Parenthood’s goal is to make sex addicts.” The video calls masturbation a “gateway drug” and argues that the purpose of tricking teens into thinking they like sex is to get them to buy up more contraception, which ALL believes is designed to fail, so the young people then have to get even more expensive abortions. Ka-CHING! The flaw in this brilliant conspiracy theory, just like the new one about fetal tissue selling, is that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit, making the profit part of the equation nonsensical. 

3. Phony video accusing Planned Parenthood of child sex trafficking.

In 2011, the group Live Action (of which the Center for Medical Progress is a spin-off) made a splash in anti-choice circles with a video purporting to prove that Planned Parenthood engages in child sex trafficking. The video claimed to show undercover investigators posing as pimps who admit to trafficking minors.

The fact that the Planned Parenthood employees continued talking to the phony pimps was held out as evidence of collusion and a cover-up. It was neither. The employees did talk to the self-reported criminals, but then immediately alerted the FBI to the alleged sex trafficking. It also soon became evident that few, if any, of the “colluding” employees actually believed the ruse. But anti-choicers disregarded the obvious conclusion, because they prefer to believe whatever crazy nonsense they can about Planned Parenthood.

4. Abortion ‘reversal’ scam.  

This gambit is one of the loonier anti-choice contrivances to come around in recent years. Yes, they are telling women abortions can be reversed. The weirdness started with an anti-choice doctor named George Delgado, who claimed he could “reverse” medication abortions with shots of progesterone he said would save the embryo before the medications expelled it.

It’s not possible, of course, and Delgado’s “evidence” that there is any demand for this supposed procedure is iffy, to say the least. This is just more anti-choice theatrics. In reality, 95% of women say their abortion was the right choice for them.  

5. The pill kills.

Artificial progesterone is the hero of these mythical tales of “abortion reversal,” but when the same hormone is used (effectively, I might add) to prevent pregnancy, it becomes the demon that does nothing but bring terror and misery. Progesterone is used in birth control pills to suppress ovulation, so women can have sex without getting pregnant. Anti-choice activists oppose this, and so have created a dizzying number of lurid horror stories of all the bad things that will happen if women take the pill.

The American Life League has an annual event, tagged to the anniversary of the legalization of contraception by the Supreme Court, called The Pill Kills. Every year, they highlight some other supposed victim of this killer pill. The pill kills marriage! The pill kills babies! (Anti-choicers claim progesterone “kills” embryos. Yes, the same drug Delgado injects in women to “save” embryos.) The pill kills the environment! (Unlike those harmless fossil fuels.)  The pill kills women! (They neglect to mention the stroke risk for frequent pregnancy is much higher.)  

The conspiracy theories and theatrics of the anti-choice movement are ridiculous, of course. Yet they serve a serious purpose. The melodrama and lurid claims are meant to distract the public from a serious discussion about important public health issues, like contraception access and safe abortion care. All the blood and orgies talk forces pro-choicers to waste their time debunking right-wing urban legends, instead of focusing the discussion on less exciting but more realistic topics like how empowering women to choose when and if they give birth improves women’s educational and employment opportunities. Important stuff, but boring compared to screeching right-wing nonsense about black market fetal parts and Planned Parenthood pimp orgies. Which is, of course, the point.

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/5-most-absurd-conspiracy-theories-peddled-anti-choice-christians?akid=13344.123424._gla7O&rd=1&src=newsletter1040172&t=5

Uncoupling: Why the Right Feels Violated by Consent, Queers, Contraceptives, and Child Protection

Source: Valerie Talerico

Emphasis Mine

The conservative Christion obsession with sex and procreation can be traced back to a single Iron Age gender script.

Stories of patriarchal Christian leaders groping, fondling, masturbating on or otherwise harassing or assaulting women—and having clandestine sex with men–seem to be a media staple of late. At the same time, conservative Christian leaders are fixated on lording it over women, queers, and kids. Consider, the following sample from Spring 2015:

  1. The Vatican’s second in command pronounces Ireland’s 62% endorsement of marriage equality via national referendum  a “defeat for humanity.”
  2. Catholic priest and blogger Father Dwight Longenecker proclaims that transgender former Olympian, Caitlin Jenner, is a “man dressed up as a whore” who is “caught up in a huge publicity machine to sell himself and now to sell his sexual confusion.”
  3. The Seattle Archdiocese agrees to pay $1.2 million to a woman abused for five years by a priest who was a known pedophile shuffled between parishes by the Church hierarchy.
  4. Devout U.S. presidential wannabes Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee warn the public that gay marriage proponents are a danger to Christianity, which is likely to be criminalized if the Supreme Court backs equality.
  5. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker calls forced vaginal ultrasound before abortion “a cool thing.”
  6. Former U.S. Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert (also a celebrated alumnus of my alma mater, the Evangelical Wheaton College), is indicted for stealing $1.7 million from his securities firm to pay hush money to a former male high school 
  7. student he coached in wrestling and sexually molested.
  8. The producers of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting stop counting dollars and start counting how many sisters Josh Duggar molested before becoming an anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-kids-rights advocate. (Duggar’s celebrity father had previously advocated the death penalty for incest.) Conservative Christian politicians, bloggers, and religious leaders rush to defend Duggar who, as shown in a photo album at Wonkette.com has touched nearly every conservative presidential contender with “the same hands that touched his sister.”
  9. Bob Jones University suspends sexual abuse investigation, but then resumes after public outcry. A Protestant sex abuse scandal, focused on universities, orphanages, missionary schools and more heats up globally.
  10. Paraguay’s Catholic-dominated court denies a 10-year-old rape victim the right to terminate her forced pregnancy.
  11. Conservative Republicans kill funding for America’s most effective teen pregnancy prevention program, which provided IUD’s to young mothers in Colorado.
  12. Under the influence of Bible-quoting conservatives, the U.S. continues to stand with Somalia against the rest of the world, by refusing to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Idaho implements a bill, signed in April by Governor Butch Otter, protecting parents from prosecution in cases of religiously motivated child abuse and medical neglect.
  13. A Christian Gender Roles article titled, “8 Steps to Confront Your Wife’s Sexual Refusal,” goes viral as the sequel to, “Christian Husbands: You Don’t Pay for the Milk when You Own the Cow,” a biblical manifesto that stops just short of endorsing marital rape—or maybe doesn’t.Christianity’s Anti-Marketing Team?If you’re feeling disgusted, you’re not alone. From the standpoint of wooing converts or even inspiring the faithful to stay faithful, the sex-obsessed behavior of high profile patriarchal Christians is about as effective as the U.S. Army’s attempt to win hearts and minds with drone strikes. I’m not trying to be poetic here—in the last decade or so, the percent of Americans who self-identify as Christians has dropped from 85 percent to 70 percent, and young people point to the “culture wars” as a key reason that Christianity turns them off. Guess who’s leaving the fastest? Women. Moderate Christians find themselves apologizing for their co-religionists, trying desperately to overcome the perception (fostered largely by biblical literalists and conservative Catholics) that Christians are judgmental, control-freakish, sex-obsessed hypocrites.

    So, why don’t the anti-marketers back off? After all, Evangelicals center their faith around a verse known as the “Great Commission” – Go into the world and make disciples of every creature. And the word “catholic” means universal, literally. The Catholic Church has spent centuries sending a sales force of missionaries into countries and cultures around the world to promote their product. If your prime directive is win converts, it seems obvious that you should lead with universal feel-good platitudes, not some archaic version of Machos rule! Females, fags, and five-year-olds drool!

    Some people say that the best evidence against the Bible’s God is that his public relations team is so inept. But I don’t think the problem is incompetence on the part of God’s spokesmen. I think they are stuck.

    Caught in an Iron Age Trap

    Many moderate Christians see the Bible not as the literally perfect Word of God, but as a record of humanity’s struggle to understand what is real and what is good. They find unique value in the Christian tradition and the model of Jesus but may also acknowledge value in other spiritual traditions while recognizing the human handprints on the biblical texts

    By contrast, biblical literalists declare the Good Book to be the complete and timeless Word of God, essentially dictated to God by the authors. Having made an idol out of the Bible, they have little choice but to promote the Iron Age worldview of the Bible writers. And in this worldview–childish taunts aside–machos do rule. God gave Adam a “helpmeet” named Eve-not-Steve, and to punish her for seeking independent knowledge swore that Adam would rule over her and she would bear his children and it would hurt like hell. As later Bible texts encode in law and illustrate in story, those children are Man’s property—assets that he can use for labor, send to war, sell into slavery, trade for political alliance, or even sacrifice as a burnt offering. In this view, consent is not a thing. Nowhere does the Bible, Old Testament or New, suggest that a woman’s consent is needed or even desired prior to intercourse. And for a man to have sex with another man violates the whole procreative hierarchy.

    In other words, patriarchal Christian men are obsessed with lording it over women, queers, and kids because in the view of the Bible writers (and true Bible believers) that is the right and proper order of things, ordained by Yahweh Himself—who, by the way, gets really mean when people don’t do things his way.

    Josh Duggar from TLC’s reality show 19 Kids and Counting, recently resigned as Executive Director of the anti-gay, anti-female Family Research Council after his history of teen sex offenses came to light. When Duggar’s parents first learned years ago that he was molesting his younger sisters, they sent him to get counseling from a guiding light of patriarchal misogyny, the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), founded by Bill Gothard, who has since been accused of molesting or sexually harassing at least 30 women himself. IBLP teaches a strict hierarchy of God—Man—Woman—Child. When I attended one of their traveling seminars as an evangelical teen, this hierarchy was represented visually by the image of God’s hand holding a hammer (the father), striking a chisel (the mother) shaping a diamond (the Christian teen). A key message was that teens needed to hear the words of those in authority over them as the voice of God.

    This model of man as God’s representative here on Earth, is fundamental throughout the Bible. The texts assembled in the Bible were written during a time spanning hundreds of years, and much cultural evolution took place during that time. Even so, women and children remained chattel (property of men) clear through the New Testament, along with slaves and livestock. In the biblical view, all sentient beings including female humans were created by God for man’s pleasure and use, and man was granted dominion over them.

    All of this makes male control of female sexuality exceedingly important—because without male “headship” and (lots of) reproduction, the whole religious-cultural-economic model breaks down.

    Modernity Uncouples Family Formation, Sex, and Parenthood

    The values of modern secular society: individual freedom and bodily autonomy, equality, and the right to wellbeing and “pursuit of happiness” are fundamentally at odds with this model. Consider three incredibly cherished and important dimensions of human life: family formation; sexual pleasure/intimacy; and parenthood. Liberals and moderates today believe that individuals should have the freedom to choose each of these dimensions of life independent of the others.

    We view these freedoms as positive social and moral goods:

    • People should be free to form loving, mutually supportive, legally recognized families with each other regardless of their sexual orientation or desire to have children. Legitimate families or “extended family” households can take of a wide variety of unconventional and fluid forms: an aunt raising her sister’s child; an unmarried elderly couple living together, a queer married couple, a co-housing community that includes single parents and kids.
    • The cherished experiences of sexual pleasure and intimacy should be broadly available to people regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, stage of life, legal partnership status, ethnicity, religion, or financial status—including those whose values or life circumstances mean they don’t want to bring a new child into the world. This includes college students, impoverished refugees, the elderly, queer people, and many others who may not be in a position to form an enduring intimate partnership.
    • Becoming a parent, as one of life’s most sacred commitments, is a matter of personal intention and choice, free from coercion either for or against, chosen by couples or individuals themselves; couples who are empowered by family planning and fertility assistance and supportive care systems to bring babies into the world when they feel ready, or adopt children who need parents. Conservative patriarchs are horrified at the thought of empowered, autonomous people freely choosing each of these dimensions of life. They are intent on forcing all of us back into a Bible-shaped box, one that establishes the proper Iron Age hierarchy of man over woman and child, that allows sex only within socially sanctioned legal structures governing property ownership and inheritance, and that ensures powerful men retain control of the economic and social assets that are rightfully theirs, including their women and their children. (See Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like if We Actually Followed the Bible.)Freely chosen relationships that make sex about mutual desire or love violate this model; legally recognizing children as wholly persons rather than property violates this model; women actively managing their fertility via contraception or abortion violates this model. The mere existence of queer folks violates this model.

      One New Testament writer puts these words in the mouth of Jesus, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6 NRSV). While the passage refers explicitly to divorce, members of the Christian patriarchy movement apply the concept more broadly to the entire arena of family formation, sexuality, and childbearing.

      Freudian psychological concepts like denial, projection, repression, and reaction formation may explain why red states are the biggest consumers of online porn, or why Evangelical leaders keep getting caught with their pants down. But if you’ve ever wondered why patriarchal Christians are so obsessed with controlling sex—who gets it and how, who’s on top and why, whether it leads to childbearing, and who gets to hit the kids it produces—the answer lies in this Iron Age script. Be fruitful and multiply; if you beat your son with a rod he will not die; men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; women will be saved through childbearing; and God made man in his own image—in the image of God created He him. It’s all in the Book.

      _____________________

      Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

See: http://valerietarico.com/2015/06/11/uncoupling-why-the-right-feels-violated-by-consent-queers-contraceptives-and-child-protection/

GOP’s culture war disaster: How this week highlighted a massive blind spot

Source: Salon.com

Author: Joan Walsh

Progressives often comfort themselves that while they’re losing a lot of economic battles, at least they’re winning the so-called culture wars. New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a staunch proponent of both gay marriage and tax cuts for the wealthy, symbolizes that political paradox for the left. But lately it’s impossible not to notice that even our culture war victories are uneven. They mostly involve gay rights, particularly marriage equality, and rarely women’s rights.

In the same few years that one state after another has legalized gay marriage, with occasional help from the Supreme Court, dozens of states have restricted abortion, and contraception has become controversial and divisive in a way it hasn’t since the Supreme Court’s Griswold v. Connecticut ruling almost 50 years ago. On the heels of the court’s awful Hobby Lobby decision Monday came welcome word that a judge had struck down Kentucky’s gay marriage ban. There have been plenty of bittersweet days like that over the last year.

I don’t mean to pit women against the LGBT community, or suggest one side is “winning” at the expense of the other. Women make up at least half of LGBT folks, so their advances are advances for women’s rights, and many barriers to their freedom and full equality remain. But why, when women’s concerns stand alone, are their rights so often abridged?

I’ve come to believe that the difference exists because, except for far right religious extremists and outright homophobes, marriage equality is, at heart, a conservative demand – letting gays and lesbians settle down and start families and have mortgages just like the rest of us will contribute to the stability of families and society. In his 1989 essay “Here comes the groom: The (conservative) case for gay marriage,” Andrew Sullivan argued that marriage would “foster social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence,” particularly among gay men too often viewed through the lens of partying and promiscuity.

Twenty years later Ted Olson updated those ideas in his wildly influential “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage,” as he took up the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 with David Boies, arguing “same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize.”  Not all conservatives celebrate marriage equality, not yet, but many have come to agree with Sullivan and Olson.

That just points up the fact that advancing female autonomy and freedom, by contrast, is still perceived as threatening and undermining to family and society, particularly when it involves (as it always essentially does) issues of sexual freedom. The Hobby Lobby decision, and the conservative reaction to it, made this dynamic particularly and depressingly clear. Some pundits hailed its implications for religious liberty, but a whole lot of them welcomed it as a rebuke to slutty females having sex on their dime.

Sexually insecure sad sack Erick Erickson tweeted, “My religion trumps your ‘right’ to employer subsidized consequence free sex.” Utah Sen. Mike Lee hailed the decision for giving employers the freedom not to subsidize something that is “largely for recreational behavior,” not procreation. Bill O’Reilly tool Jesse Watters called it a setback for “Beyonce voters” (Way to get race in there too, Jesse!) who “depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands.” (Somebody should tell Watters that Mrs. Carter appears to depend on her husband quite comfortably, thank you very much).

Even the court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn betrayed a blinkered view of women as an underclass of workers who lack basic rights – especially when they work in the home. We’re moving fast on marriage equality, but when it comes to questions of work, family, sexuality and women’s equality, we are still fighting the culture wars of the 1960s. And women are still losing ground. Yes, Republicans are also losing political ground, as women recognize the party’s retrograde views and flee. But it’s not clear that women can be mobilized fast enough to protect their own rights.

* * *

In her withering dissent from the Hobby Lobby ruling, Ginsberg quotes the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, which affirmed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote for the majority. More than two decades later, both of those abilities – to “participate equally” and “control their reproductive lives” — are still widely contested for women.

Justice Samuel Alito worked so assiduously to narrow the implications of the court’s Hobby Lobby ruling that he made its disrespect for women’s health, privacy and autonomy even more obvious and outrageous. The decision, he wrote, “concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.”

Oh, thank god: Men won’t lose any of their access to healthcare coverage under the ruling. (In fact, Hobby Lobby’s insurance covers Viagra and vasectomies.)

The ruling won’t let corporations practice racial discrimination, either, even if their religion somehow justified it, Alito assured us. “The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.” Apparently Alito doesn’t think the HHS contraception mandate is tailored to achieve a “compelling interest” or a “critical goal.”  Though he notes that “HHS asserts that the contraceptive mandate serves a variety of important interests,” Alito is unconvinced. “[M]any of these are couched in very broad terms, such as promoting ‘public health’ and ‘gender equality.’ ”

“Gender equality” … pshaw! One wonders if Alito also put “public health” in quotes because he knows HHS is really only talking about “women’s health.”

How did it happen that the only issue on which religious liberty trumps existing employment law, for the court’s conservative majority, is the issue that pertains to women’s freedom and sexuality? By emphasizing how narrowly tailored the court’s decision is, Alito only underscored its sexist radicalism. But that’s fitting. From the beginning, the entire controversy over the ACA’s contraceptive mandate served to highlight the backlash against women’s freedom we’ve endured in the last few decades.

Discomfort with women’s sexuality and autonomy was made plain in the earliest debate over the ACA’s contraception coverage. From Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” for supporting the mandate, to Mike Huckabee lamenting that Democrats were using it to appeal to women who “can’t control their libidos,” the outrage and abuse exposed the deep fear of women’s freedom at the heart of the modern conservative movement. We saw it throughout the 2012 Republican primary campaign, when candidates competed over who could more alarmingly blame our economic troubles on the “breakdown” of the family, and particularly, the rising numbers and power of single women – who by the way, tend to vote Democratic.

“When the family breaks down, the economy breaks down,” Rick Santorum told us, as he promised to be a president who’d talk about “the dangers of contraception,” which provides “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Apparently “how things are supposed to be” involves a husband, a wife and nothing but sweet, sweet procreative love. Long before Hobby Lobby voiced its religious objections to the contraception mandate, former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele opposed it for marginalizing men.

“You have effectively absolved the male of any responsibility in the relationship with this woman,” he complained on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “It’s not just about giving women access to contraception. It’s about the responsible behavior that goes with that access.” He went on: “It’s nice for Barack Obama to tell women, ‘I got your back. Here, have a pill … But I’m saying it’s also this other piece that doesn’t get talked about in terms of the responsibility of fathers, or potential fathers, in this relationship.”

To conservatives, the contraceptive mandate wasn’t the ACA’s only controversial women’s health benefit; they also found fault with its requiring that all insurance policies offer maternity coverage. The party that allegedly stands for motherhood and all that is holy was outraged that maternity care became a basic right for the insured, and that women no longer pay higher premiums than men. North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers ridiculed former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for making maternity coverage universal, asking at a congressional hearing, “Has a man ever delivered a baby?” Ellmers was effectively supporting the transfer of millions of dollars of wealth back from women to men, by pushing to liberate men from having to subsidize baby making or women’s health in any way.

But it’s not that conservatives think women shouldn’t get any help at all with the financial burden of child-bearing, or of maintaining all those extra-special body parts that keep the entire human species alive. They deserve help – from their husbands. Bill O’Reilly’s dudebro assistant Jesse Watters probably put it best after the Hobby Lobby decision, when he trashed “Beyonce voters” — all the single ladies! — who “depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands.” See, it’s your husband, not Barack Obama, who should be saying (in Michael Steele’s words), “I got your back. Here, have a pill.” And if you don’t have a husband? Well, don’t have sex, and you won’t need that pill.

Oh, and if your husband is Rick Santorum? You might not get that pill anyway.

* * *

These backward attitudes don’t reflect majority opinion. On abortion, on the contraception mandate, on women’s rights generally, Americans remain broadly supportive of measures to allow women to “participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation,” to use Sandra Day O’Connor’s words from Casey.

But the far right learned to use the fear unleashed by the necessary and long overdue changes that began in the 1960s and ’70s to power a political backlash that we’re still fighting today. The liberation of women seemed to coincide with the unraveling of family life — an increase in divorce rates and single parenthood; even married moms left their children for the workplace. Instead of trying to understand the social and economic forces behind those changes, the project of the so-called “New Right” was to turn back the clock and push those women back into the home. In the reddest precincts of America, the same fear and dread animates conservative voters to this day.

Interestingly, if we can’t pinpoint the exact moment when progress for women stopped accelerating, we can identify a major one: when Richard Nixon vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development Act in 1972. Until that point, Nixon had gone along with the expansion of government that had its roots in the Progressive movement and the New Deal. He signed bills establishing the Environmental Protection and Occupational Safety and Health agencies. He pioneered federal affirmative action. He pushed healthcare reform that looked a lot like Obamacare.  Two out of three Supreme Court justices he appointed supported the majority in Roe v. Wade.

But Nixon drew the line at a bill that would massively subsidize childcare, even though it passed the Senate 63-17. “For the Federal Government to plunge headlong financially into supporting child development would commit the vast moral authority of the National Government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against [sic] the family-centered approach,” he wrote in a veto message.

If you want to understand the expansion of the low-wage economy, the stagnation of family income and the erosion of the middle class since then, it’s all there in the attitudes that led to Nixon’s veto (the message was crafted by Pat Buchanan, by the way). Whether by choice or necessity, women were moving into the labor force, and the country faced a decision: to make it easier for them and their families, or to make it harder. Mostly, we chose harder.

Unlike other developed nations, we never developed any kind of widely available subsidized childcare or preschool. We have no federal paid family leave. Most of the work that women used to do in their own home – from childcare to caring for sick or elderly family members – is now done by other women, many of color, who dwell in a low-wage, rarely unionized, shadow economy. Until recently, many workplace protections didn’t apply to them, because they were working in the home, not a factory. It’s as though society said: If women won’t do those jobs for free in their own homes any longer, we sure as hell won’t pay the women who replace them a living wage, or respect them as workers doing work that we value.

Or at least that’s what SCOTUS just said in Harris v. Quinn. Plaintiff Pam Harris was just a “mom” fighting to stop “the threat of unionization in a family home,” who sued the state of Illinois to avoid having to pay union dues out of funds she gets from Medicaid to care for her disabled son. Listen closely to the rhetoric of Harris and her supporters, and you could hear echoes of Nixon railing against “communal approaches” vs. “the family centered approach.” Harris is a vestige of a time when caring for everybody — young, old, disabled — was done by women, unpaid, in the home, and she’s a hero to people who think things should still be that way.

Of course, Harris is the ultimate free rider, not just on the labor movement but on the women’s movement, since she’s taking Medicaid dollars and being paid, for “women’s work,” as her son’s attendant. The Fox reporter who interviewed Harris about her Supreme Court victory Monday closed his segment by declaring that now, thank god, nobody could say “this home on the Illinois/Wisconsin border is somehow a union shop.”

That’s just the kind of phony issue the right used in the ’70s – fear of a world grown cold, a house that’s no longer a home, where moms demand money to do work they once did out of love – if they bother doing any of that work at all.

* * *

The contrast between the status of gay rights and women’s rights was made particularly stark in this Huffington Post piece, “In Wreckage of Supreme Court Decision, Gay Rights Groups See Hope.” The limited way Alito crafted the Hobby Lobby decision, LGBT leaders believe, meant it couldn’t be used to duck anti-discrimination laws or an executive order implementing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) they are pressing President Obama to issue soon. (Although on the heels of the Hobby Lobby ruling, evangelical megachurchman Rick Warren is asking the president to carve out a broad religious exemption from ENDA.)

That the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t hobble anti-discrimination law is good news for progressives. We all want to see the realm of freedom expanded. But I wish Ted Olson’s next essay would be “The Conservative Case for Women’s Equality.” Thirty years ago, it wouldn’t have been hard to imagine. Not long ago, issues of women’s freedom had bipartisan support. George H.W. Bush sponsored Title X family planning legislation that was signed by Richard Nixon, and Planned Parenthood was once the cause of Republican women from Barbara Bush to Peggy Goldwater to Ann Romney. But now women are scapegoats, the menacing agents of change who’ve unraveled society. In the neo-feudal worldview of the modern right, they must provide the free labor in the home as well as the force that “civilizes” men and shackles them to marriage and wage labor.

No less an eminence than Rafael Cruz Sr. put it this way recently:

As God commands us men to teach your wife, to teach your children—to be the spiritual leader of your family—you’re acting as a priest. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many Christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife. Why? Because the man had abdicated his responsibility as priest to his family…So the wife has taken up that banner, but that’s not her responsibility. And if I’m stepping on toes, just say, ‘Ouch.’

Ouch indeed. Cruz Sr. is twice-divorced, by the way, so that old “priest to the family” thing is not working out too well for him. No one has bothered to ask Sen. Ted Cruz what he thinks about his father (and mentor’s) backward views of women.

But such patriarchal ravings aren’t limited to the pulpit. Just last month the Washington Post published an Op-Ed originally headlined: “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married,” by University of Virginia sociology professor Brad Wilcox. Replying to the Twitter activism around violence against women in the wake of Elliot Rodger’s misogynistic killing spree, Wilcox and his team opined: “The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies.” The Post changed the display copy to the not much better “One way to end violence against women? Married dads. The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer with fewer boyfriends around their kids.”

Not only must women turn to their husbands for contraception (if he deigns to believe in it); they need husbands to avoid being raped, beaten or murdered. A woman can’t expect the state to keep her safe, Wilcox is telling us, or men to treat her with respect, if she doesn’t have the sense to get and keep a husband. Thanks, Brad.

Of course #notallmen, and certainly #notallwomen, believe that. The GOP backlash against women has now created exactly what they feared. No, I’m not saying we’re all going to stop loving men, getting married and having babies. Most women continue to do those things, even as our rights are eroded. We’re patient that way. But the right’s increasingly unhinged fear of women has in fact created a big problem for Republicans — those “Beyonce voters” who increasingly vote Democratic.  Not because they want “gifts” from the government, as Mitt Romney crudely put it after he lost the presidency. But because they want respect, and to “participate fully” in society, as Sandra Day O’Connor saw – and today only one party wants to make that possible.

The GOP’s last reliable female voting bloc is older, married, white Christian women, and their time is passing. It will pass more slowly if other women fail to vote in 2014, but the right’s crippling panic over women’s autonomy will eventually doom it to irrelevance. In the meantime, though, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority will do its best to stem the tide.

Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is Salon’s editor at large and the author of “What’s the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America.”

Emphasis Mine

See: http://www.salon.com/2014/07/03/gops_culture_war_disaster_how_this_week_highlighted_a_massive_blind_spot/

Mike Huckabee, and why Republicans have trouble talking to and about women

Source: Washington Post

Authors: Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) had a challenge for Democrats on Thursday.

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,” Huckabee said at the RNC winter meeting. “Let’s take that discussion all across America.”

As it turns out, Democrats are  quite happy to oblige.

Shortly after Huckabee’s “libido” comments, Democrats distributed them far and wide, rehashing the so-called GOP “war on women” and accusing Huckabee of insensitivity. Some enterprising campaigns even sought to tie their Republican opponents to the former presidential candidate, hoping Huckabee’s controversy would also play a bit part in their own races.

In the end, Huckabee’s comments are likely to be soon forgotten, but they do reflect a broader problem the Republican Party has when it comes to women.

Basically, the party has a very difficult time talking about these issues without opening itself up to such attacks.

Let’s explain:

Huckabee was not saying himself that women have uncontrollable libidos and need birth control; he was saying Democrats make women believe this so that they vote Democratic.

There are a few problems with his approach, though.

1) Huckabee’s 54-word sentence — which includes a 50-word dependent clause — was initially so confusing that several reporters thought Huckabee was attributing the “libido” idea to himself. (Now, we’re sure some Democrats think Huckabee wastalking about himself, but do you really think he’s that stupid?)

2) Even as the sentence reads today, it still could sound as if Huckabee thinks certain women need to “control their libido” — though that doesn’t seem to be his intention.

3) The contraception issue is, quite frankly, not the GOP’s friend.

That last statement might surprise some folks, particularly on the right, who can rightly point out that some polls show a slight majority of the American people thinks religious institutions should be exempt from covering birth control.

But while polling on a federal contraception mandate varies — and depends a lot on how you ask the question — the enthusiasm is certainly on the pro-mandate side. That, and Democrats are much better at controlling the message on this issue.

A March 2012 Washington Post-ABC poll showed Americans favored mandating contraception coverage by a margin of 61-35. Those who felt strongly in favor of the mandate outnumbered those who strongly opposed it nearly two to one, 50-27.

The numbers were much closer when it asked specifically whether religious institutions should be exempted (the crux of the current debate). In that case, 49 percent thought it should be mandated, while 46 percent thought it should not. But, again, strong supporters trumped strong opponents — by around eight or nine points.

In other words, the passion is clearly more on one side of this issue, and if Democrats can define this issue along the lines of the first polling question rather than the second — the one bringing religious institutions into the mix — they’re clearly fighting a winning battle.

As it happens, Democrats have been quite successful at doing just that, just as they did Thursday with Huckabee. In fact, if you look at Huckabee’s comments, he made no mention of religion and contraception at all.

None of this is to say that Huckabee committed a huge gaffe that will hurt Republicans significantly going forward. But, clearly, whatever point he was trying to make was lost thanks to a poor choice of words — a cautionary tale to a party that has all too often found its members doing much the same thing (think “legitimate rape”).

Huckabee is generally one of the GOP’s most gifted messengers. If even he is falling into this kind of a rathole, that doesn’t suggest great things ahead for his party.

Emphasis Mine

see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/01/24/mike-huckabee-and-why-republicans-have-trouble-talking-to-and-about-women/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol