Tag: GOP

Rape Without Rapists?


I am fortunate enough to have dozens of extremely thoughtful
friends. Some of them were kind enough to share their thoughts via Facebook
about the recent rise in attention paid to the GOP platform position that
abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape, incest and maternal health
concerns. Public statements by GOP Senatorial candidates Todd Akin and Richard
Mourdock have pushed the issue of pregnancy via rape into the national
spotlight. Something I’ve noticed and struggled with is that virtually none of
the public discourse I’ve heard about women’s choices actually talks about the initial
decision maker in this scenario: the rapist.  


In some ways, this whole debate is representative of the
broader dysfunction of our society. I have yet to hear important political
conversation about challenging America's rape culture. Everyone says rape is
bad then continues on to their talking points. No one's talking about how we
can ensure that sex is chosen, pregnancies are deliberate and all babies are


Instead of focusing on how to deal with the aftermath of
sexual violence, why don't we spend time and energy training our young people
to understand sex, abhor sexual violence and value others as themselves? That simply
isn’t happening. My goodness, who decided that sexual assault can't even be as demonized
in our culture as cigarettes?


Ultimately, I would love Akin and Mourdock's accidental
statements of belief to start a national conversation about sexual violence but
I have little hope that will happen. Instead, we will probably just keep
focusing on what we expect from the women who are victimized by rape. After
all, that's a lot easier than acknowledging that there are perpetrators of
sexual assault around us every day and our culture basically ignores them. It's as though we simply expect there will be a certain amount of rape in America. How awful. 







Mitt Romney, Come on Down!


excited to watch the Republican National Convention over the next few days. It
seems odd to consider the range of very different interests Mitt Romney needs to
attend in Tampa to enhance his chances of winning the Presidency. I’d say the
GOP needs to thread the needle but most needles only have one hole. Team Romney
has an awful lot to do in just a few days.


Romney needs to appeal to his base, particularly evangelicals and social
conservatives who distrust him for his previous apostasies on a whole host of
issues. At the same time, Romney needs to present himself as a compassionate
conservative to the independents and moderates who think folks like Todd Akin
represent the true core of the GOP these days. Mitt tried to convince
CBS that the President is irrelevant regarding abortion policy.  He’s hoping to deflect attention from abortion
(and ‘women’s issues’ more generally) because he’s stuck in a horrible spot on
that issue. (This is in part because of his own struggles
to develop a coherent position on abortion. And stick
with it.)


though George W. Bush happily talked about himself as America’s CEO, it’s
Romney that really fits the description. He’s trying to convince America that
his corporate experience puts him ahead of President Obama as a potential
economic savior. But Mitt embodies all the negative stereotypes of the 1% too.
His Gore-like woodenness and helmet hair enhance the images of him as an
automaton. The reluctance of his campaign to reveal more information about his
taxes also helps move Romney’s image from hard working entrepreneur to robber
baron. The gap between those images is massive.


guess is that in reality, Romney’s probably a staid but wonderful person.
Nobody outside his inner circle is quite sure of that though. And unfortunately
for him, the typical strategies used to soften a politician all carry a high
price tag. Talking too much about his family life immediately brings up
Mormonism. Talking about his all-American upbringing calls to mind the overwhelming
advantages of his early privilege. Talking about the personal obstacles he’s
overcome will, uh, well, they’ll get back to us on that one.  Overall, it’s gonna be tough to convince
average folks that Mitt ‘gets it’. Today, CBS describes this as the empathy gap
as its polling shows
that “only 41 percent of Americans
said Romney understands their needs and problems”.  Ouch.


need solutions. While candidate Obama was often criticized for being so focused
on hope and change, his themes were clear and consistent. I really have no idea
what Mitt Romney wants to do if elected President.


so he wants to cut the deficit. He’s willing to cut programs. (Just not the
ones you like.) He wants to save Medicare. His plan doesn’t sound like it will
actually do that in a way that resembles Medicare. And he’s also focusing on
making America great. Or maybe proud. Or maybe proud of its greatness. Sigh. That
worked for Reagan because the country was dramatically different in 1980. And
Reagan made people feel better. Romney struggles to make people feel at all.


this week Romney has to create buzz about moving the country in HIS direction,
not just a different direction. This week and this year should be about
competing visions of America but I don’t know that this will happen. Romney
should have already learned that defeating weak incumbents can be done but only
if you demonstrate that what you offer is something people genuinely want.


that’s the biggest reason I want to watch this convention unfold. I am very
interested to discover what Romney thinks America wants for its future.







Romney’s Troubles Begin in New Hampshire?


New Hampshire?!?


It’s amusing to watch the coverage of the GOP Presidential nominating process in New Hampshire.  For the last year, Mitt Romney’s camp has attempted to create an aura of inevitability around his candidacy with some success.


Even last week, after the photo finish in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum’s success there was portrayed as a boon to Romney as Santorum could help clear the rest of the field of candidates. To some extent that worked with Michele Bachmann dropping out and Rick Perry’s hours long exit. Overall, though, it appears to me that this race will continue much longer than Romney guessed it would. I anticipate today’s New Hampshire primaries will make Romney’s inevitability strategy look incredibly vulnerable.


My guess is that Romney will win with something less than 40% of the vote. That will be a classic case of losing by winning. It won’t be LBJ in 1968 but it’s gonna make things ugly for Romney.


If Huntsman continues his surge and finishes in 2nd place, he will receive the boosts in money and media that will make him a viable candidate in Florida and Nevada in a few weeks. Santorum and Gingrich will continue to point to South Carolina as a state they can win and is more representative of the GOP than New Hampshire is. Ron Paul will stay in this race for the long haul.


This means that for at least the next month, Romney will have to stave off attacks from at least 4 other candidates. All the unflattering stories, all the gaffes and the harsh glare of contention will continue to dog his campaign.


While I think Romney is still a solid front runner, his candidacy is in great peril for the long haul. A weak showing today may be a harbinger of more trouble to come for him.





Update: It's worse for Romney than I anticipated. Huntsman underperformed and Perry has no momentum at all yet they are still committed to running. Between their continuing campaigns and Gingrich's scorched earth policy, Romney will be forced to continue competing. Exactly what he doesn't want.