I don’t usually read Kathleen Parker, but a link from DougJarvus Green-Ellis took me to one of her columns. And it’s a fascinating thing to read, although not necessarily in the way Parker intended.
Parker’s task in this column is to refute the idea that there’s a GOP war on women, but she inadvertently does just the opposite.
One can hardly blame Democrats for taking advantage of a perfect storm of stupefying proportions. The only thing Republicans failed to do was put a bow on this mess. Consider the headline-grabbing events that came together almost at once:
Virginia’s pre-abortion sonogram law that could have required women to undergo a transvaginal probe; the debate over religious liberty vs. contraception mandate, prompted by health-care reform; Rush Limbaugh’s commentary about a female law student in which he called her a slut and a prostitute and, in a final flourish, suggested she provide him sex tapes so he could watch her in the activities precipitating the need for birth control.
Individually, these anecdotes would have been problematic, but combined their effect on female voters is that of a Tyrannosaurus rex approaching a Gallimimus herd.
She tries to argue that Limbaugh is not really the leader of the Republican Party, but then throws in this:
Even so, he does have a large audience and it is disconcerting that so many seem to share his obvious hostility toward women. Several of his cohorts in discourtesy are snorting and grunting in my inbox even now.
One who wrote in defense of Limbaugh informed me of my place in God’s hierarchy, slightly above goats, and gave me a tutorial about why women have been saddled with the monthly inconvenience and painful childbirth — for tempting men to do evil and failing to recognize their roles as “helpmeets” for men.
“Pagan women like yourself,” he patiently averred, “have no regard for the natural order of God’s plan and shamelessly promulgate the ‘we are goddesses’ bile that has infected the entire country and pretty much stopped it in its tracks from incurring God’s blessing.” I’m leaving out the best parts.
You don’t have to read many such letters to think that maybe Democrats have a point.
Yet it is false to imagine that any objection to abortion is necessarily anti-woman. It may feel that way to women seeking abortions. And it may look that way when those pushing anti-abortion measures are men whose experience in such matters is biologically irrelevant. As feminist Flo Kennedy said, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
And if it’s got webbed feet and feathers and quacks ….
Unfortunately, the conservative governing principles that traditionally attracted level heads to the right side of the aisle have been incrementally subsumed by social issues — a bull’s-eye for Democrats and a black eye for Republicans.
… The GOP long ago made its bed with social conservatives, a large percentage of them Southern evangelicals, and now must sleep with them. After marriage, of course.
In between these little gems, Parker throws in some verbiage to the effect of “but we’re really the party of small government!”
In a similar vein, E.J. Dionne (who still suffers from the vapors at the indignities heaped upon the poor Catholic Church recently) adds this:
In his diocesan newspaper, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, wrote: “The provision of health care should not demand ‘giving up’ religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”
My goodness, does Obama want to bring the Commies back?
Cardinal Dolan is more moderate than Cardinal George, but he offered an unfortunate metaphor in a March 3 speech on Long Island. “I suppose we could say there might be some doctor who would say to a man who is suffering some sort of sexual dysfunction, ‘You ought to start visiting a prostitute to help you, and I will write you a prescription, and I hope the government will pay for it.’ ”
Did Cardinal Dolan really want to suggest to faithfully married Catholic women and men who decide to limit the size of their families that there is any moral equivalence between wanting contraception coverage and visiting a prostitute? Presumably not. But then why even reach for such an outlandish comparison?
Well, my guess is that the dude has serious hangups about women and sex that should have been left behind in the 14th century. And this is why they are in no position to make demands of the rest of us.
Finally, Charles Johnson chronicles rightie blogosphere reaction to the killing of 16 Afghani civilians yesterday. It’s genuinely disgusting stuff; “the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim” is one of the milder comments. Like BooMan, I haven’t forgotten that Little Green Footballs used to be dedicated to that very kind of hate speech, but there’s no question Johnson came to his senses, and maybe others can, too.
But the point is that this is the nature of the beast. Polemicists like Parker try to pretend that the Republican Party is still the party of sober men and women in sensible cloth coats — if in fact that’s what it ever was — but I think it’s closer to reality to say that they’re the scorpion and the rest of us are the frog.