Campaign Mania

Campaign mania on Reality Cast! A snapshot discussion of the current trends with Lindsay Beyerstein, a review of ads and of nastiness, and Michael Savage grows wistful for the Weimar Republic.

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Links in this episode:

Myths about women who have abortions

Planned Parenthood, Sarah Palin, and rape kits

No on Prop 8 ad

Anti-teen girl health ad

Vote already

Palin on the "choice" to be gay

Michael Savage blames gay people

Kathleen Parker starts to wake up

Sarah Palin=sex object

McCain gets testy

O’Reilly gets loonier

Michael Savages warns about/wishes for Nazis

This week on Reality Cast, it’s campaign season heavy podcast time.  We’ll have a segment on campaign ads and another one on campaign nastiness, and blogger Lindsay Beyerstein will be on to take a snapshot of current election trends.  Also, Michael Savage’s  homophobia causes brain leakage.

We’ve got another video out at RH Reality Check, and I think this one is really relevant right about now, because we’re facing down a new Supreme Court season, and because the court has allowed arguments based on stereotypes of women to be used in court.  We try to correct those stereotypes and point you to the truth.  

  • reality check *

There’s a lot more so check out that video at rh reality check dot org.


Deep into the campaign season now, and that can only mean one thing: political advertisements!  Oh yes, you know you love them.  Dramatic music, competing claims, and sometimes an obscuring about what you’re supposed to be voting for or against.  This season, sexual and reproductive health issues are dominating the political commercial cycle.  There are ads about sex, abortion, birth control, sex education, sexual assault, and gay marriage all over the place.  Is it adding something to the conversation or just making people even more paranoid about these issues?  I don’t have the definitive answer to that, but I can play samples of the commercials and offer some commentary.

By now, most of us have heard about the controversy over Sarah Palin’s crime policies when she was the mayor of Wasilla, when her town was charging rape victims for the rape kits performed at the hospital to collect evidence of the crime.  It was just a matter of time before this story made its way into a campaign commercial, and Planned Parenthood got there first.  

  • insert rape kits *

There’s a lot of myths flying around about this, the primary one being that perhaps Palin objected to the kits because they contained emergency contraception.  There’s no reason to think that’s true.  Rape kits are separate from the medical treatment given to rape victims that would include emergency contraception.  They are strictly evidence collection, and the reason for the kits is to make sure evidence is collected in a systemized way.

California has a couple of ugly constitutional amendments that are going on the ballot this November.  One is Prop 8, a ballot to ban gay marriage, which is currently legal in California, and thereby demolish all the existing same sex marriages. This ad telling people to vote no on Prop 8 is pretty clever.

  • insert Corinthians *

It’s clever because they’re reciting 1 Corinthians 13, a lovely passage on the nature of love that people love to read at weddings.  The majority of opposition to same sex marriage comes from people who think they own Christianity, and this ad is a quiet rebuke to them and empowers people who are cowed by fundamentalists.  

Prop 4 in California is yet another attempt to make it illegal for a teenager to obtain an abortion without her parents’ permission. There are, as of yet, no laws that require a teenager to get her parents’ permission to have a baby.  The people pushing this law are anti-choice nuts, but they’re pretending to have a sudden concern over the well being of teenage girls. They have a creepy dude talking about how he likes to have sex with teenage girls and then this:

  • insert prop 4 *

Problem with this? If a young woman is determined to hide her abortion from her parents, even if her reasons are not so good like she’s hiding an older boyfriend, then she’ll do it through dangerous means. I fail to see how it’s supporting the health of teenager girls to have their boyfriends sticking sharp objects up there randomly hoping something will happen.  If you care about teenage girls, first and foremost you don’t want them mutilated or even killed.  But I suspect the supporters of this are less worried about the actual well-being of girls and are responding to the subtext of this ad, which appeals to the desire to control and punish.

One thing that’s been great this election season is that the Republican Majority for Choice has gotten more aggressive about fighting for its positions.  One great example is that they’re going to bat on this terrible amendment in Colorado to redefine fertilized eggs as persons, an attempt to not only ban abortion but make inroads against contraception rights.  RMC hit back with an ad.  

  • insert rmc *

They’re not kidding about the lawsuits, either.  It would be a total disaster as anti-choicers start trying to expand this law so it prevents women from getting the birth control pill, much less an abortion, and pro-choicers had to sue to protect women’s rights.   

Okay, one last commercial to end this on a chipper note.  The Feminist Majority Foundation wants to remind you to vote.  

  • vote already *


  • insert interview *

With less than a month to go before the election, and with a financial collapse on our hands, the ugliness out there is reaching unprecedented levels of hideous.  A word of warning on this segment.  Putting it together was demoralizing, because people have lost so much common sense and decency.  But by putting so much of it in one place, I hope to draw attention to the ugliness of the trend so we can work together to introduce decency back to politics.

First you have people engaging in unfortunate stereotypes about gays, in order to distract voters from the real issues.  Sarah Palin went on the record denying the experiences of gays and lesbians around the country who feel that they just are gay, and instead claimed it was a choice.

  • palin choice *

Her friend chose to be herself and not go against who she feels she is deep down inside.  Presumably, Sarah Palin did the same thing, chose a life congruent with her sexual orientation.  

But far be it for me to say that bringing up gays is a scare tactic to distract evangelical voters from the economic situation.  As Michael Savage explains, we can blame gay people for the economic crisis.  

  • savage gays *

Doesn’t make sense, but I suppose doesn’t have to.  

Palin’s supporters have gotten very aggressive against her critics, even when the critics are otherwise hardy right wing soldiers.  Kathleen Parker is a stalwart anti-feminist who reluctantly withdrew her support for Palin, suggesting that she’s not qualified to be Vice President.  Suddenly she turned into the enemy.  

  • Kathleen parker *

Of course, Palin herself has been the target of some unfair negativity, mostly aimed at objectifying her.  Like listen to these drooling nimrods go on and on about her on the Chris Baker Show.

  • insert panty line *

Panty lines?  Cleavage?  Growling?!  C’mon now, can’t anyone be a grown-up around here?  

The stress and exhaustion is beginning to show on the candidates.  McCain got testy with some reporters asking him questions about his commercial making erroneous claims about Obama’s voting history on sex ed.  

  • testy mccain *

And what would a wild and crazy election season that’s gone  off the rails be without Bill O’Reilly flying off the Ferris wheel and disappearing off into loony land.  

  • crazy oreilly *

Needless to say, infanticide is not legal.  O’Reilly’s just lying through his teeth.  But I like that he thinks women’s privacy is a new thing, when actually privacy rights go back at least to Griswold v. Connecticut, and privacy rights are what Roe v. Wade was decided on.  You know, before I was born, making privacy not a new thing.  

But it’s no big surprise that O’Reilly is hostile to privacy for women.  After all, he imposed himself on his colleague’s privacy, insisting that she engage in sexual talk with him against her will, which resulted in that very famous lawsuit.  So famous, they wrote an opera about it.  Your treat for sitting through the ugliness is to hear that as the outro music.

* oreilly opera *


And now for the wisdom of wingnuts, Godwin’s law edition.  Michael Savage is a little confused about the Nazis relationship with gay people.  

  • insert savage idiot *

In reality, being gay was one of the offenses that got people sent to the camps.  Of course, it’s possible that Michael Savage is trying to threaten gay people.  Like nice freedoms you got there, wouldn’t want a 21st century Nazi regime to take them away.


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte