Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, June 9th, 2008.

Real Sexism

criminal justice, Women's Issues

Thanks to the Clinton campaign, sexism in media is an issue. It’s not like it wasn’t there before, which makes some of the nouveau evangelistic zeal about it more than annoying to me. Still I hope sexist language will be less socially acceptable in media going forward.

However, if you want to see what harm real sexism can do, check this out. Apparently the new trend in “criminal justice” is not to allow rape victims to use the word rape, or even sexual assault, in court. Instead, a woman testifying against someone who has raped her is supposed to say “when the defendant and I had sexual intercourse.” In one case, the woman could not call herself a “victim” or the alleged perpetrator an “assailant.”

The reason given for this nonsense is that the word rape is prejudicial. By the same logic, words like theft, fraud, and murder ought to be banned from trials, too.

Yes, the accused has a presumption of innocence, but it seems some judges presume the complainant must be lying. Fair trial? I don’t think so.

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The Real McCain

Republican Party

Via The Jed Report, here’s a video that was put together last February by a Ron Paul supporter. I think it goes off the rails a bit at the end, particularly where McCain is criticized for his behavior as a POW — a subject that, IMO, ought to be out of bounds in the forthcoming election — but most of it is devastating and ought to be played and replayed throughout the coming campaign.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing and worrying over polls that show a tight election, particularly in the Electoral College numbers. However, the campaign fight hasn’t even started yet. Thanks to the tight focus on the Obama-Clinton primary fight, most of the public has no idea how McCain stands on most issues. All they know is that he’s a “war hero” and a “maverick.”

Today, finally, the real fight for the White House can begin.

The Right will try to take down Obama with lies and smears. We don’t need to lie about or smear John McCain to discredit him. All we have to do is be sure the American people get a close, hard, honest look at him.

For example, the GOP complains that McCain never said the U.S. could stay in Iraq “100 years,” and the McCain campaign takes umbrage whenever the Dems bring it up. But listen to the video; that’s what he said.

His ridiculous, out-of-touch ideas about health care alone ought to cost him the election. Just explain what he proposes — he wants to shove everyone into an open market in which the health insurance industry can set the rules. Only die-hard wingnuts who’ve never had to deal with the realities of the “open market” could possibly think that’s a solution. The majority of the American people will not, I think, be fooled by this any more than they were fooled by Bush’s Social Security scam.

American voters can be bamboozled about events on the other side of the world, out of their sight. But when it comes to matters with which they have personal experience, they catch on pretty fast, especially if they get the facts and not just right-wing spin.

The challenge going forward will be to get them the facts.

McCain will try to run on his biography as a war hero and on the alleged superiority of Republicans on national security.

As to the latter — I think that lots of scales have fallen from lots of eyes over the past seven years. As I keep arguing, if you look at the actual record of Dem v. Republican administrations on national security from the end of World War II to 2000, it’s pretty much a wash. Presidents of both parties have had their successes and failures.

Republicans have claimed the national security issue as their territory since the late 1940s, but they did this by peeing on trees, not by getting superior results.

And after seven years of George W. Bush, I think people are ready to be persuaded that tree-peeing does not make an effective foreign policy.

As to the former — I’m sure only those who have been prisoners of war have any idea how horrible it must be. I would not denigrate McCain’s POW experience. However, the skills one needs to survive being a POW, however admirable, are not the same skills one needs to be President. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I had an uncle who was a WWII POW in Japan for more than three and a half years, and he was a lovely fellow, but he wouldn’t have been a good President.

Frankly, I don’t think the war hero persona is going to be enough to overcome McCain’s stands on issues, which are light-years out of touch with public opinion. After the Bush Administration, I think people are in the mood to elect a President who can do more than strut around on a stage with uniformed military as a backdrop and thump his chest. People want someone who can address the real problems that are impacting their lives.

So, while it’s always a mistake to take the right-wing smear machine lightly, I feel better about our chances now than I did four years ago. We can defeat the Right. It’s going to take vigilence and discipline, and it’s going to take a lot of work to counter the lies and deliver the facts to the American public, but we can win.

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