The 2012 Bad Faith Olympics


Attempts to cover up the war on women continue, and still don’t make sense. Texas knows very well how real the war on women is. Irin Carmon tries to explain the mystery that is Tucker Max.

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Reince Priebus compares women to caterpillars

Michelle Malkin echoes the talking point

Doocy just denies that there is a war on women

Limbaugh’s I’m rubber, you’re glue strategy

Don’t mess with Texas women

Planned Parenthood sues Texas

Rush Limbaugh calls Claire McCaskill a “senatorette”

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be covering the new attempts to paint the war on women as something other than what it is in the media. And I’ll give an example of how the war on women is a very real thing going on in Texas. Additionally, Irin Carmon was gracious enough to agree to come on the show and explain the whole Tucker Max vs. Planned Parenthood debacle.

So this happened.

  • santorum *

I’m going to miss him. His inability to shut up about how contraception has ruined America was so clarifying. Now we’re probably going to go back to conservatives constructing Byzantine disingenuous rationalizations for their attacks on contraception that try to make it sound like they’re not just out to attack contraception.

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As I documented last week, the war on women has finally reached a point where there’s polling and possibly electoral consequences for its supporters. Rick Santorum, the most visible warrior against women, finally saw his prospects slip to the point where he had to drop out of the primary race. Mitt Romney is seeing a major drop in female support in swing states. In a panic, Republicans and conservatives are declaring that the war on women is fictional, and that the media and the Democrats made it up to undermine them. In doing so, they are basically telling women that we’re crazy and that we’re not allowed to see actual attacks on our rights for what they are. Which is a strategy that turns out not to be as effective as they’d hope. Reince Priebus, the chair of the RNC, put his foot in his mouth on this one.

  • war 1 *

Priebus was roundly criticized for comparing women to caterpillars, even though women, unlike caterpillars, have the right to vote. He can rank the female vote alongside the caterpillar vote in terms of importance all he wants, but unlike the caterpillar vote, if you lose women, you tend to lose elections. Additionally, the claim that Obama is waging “war” on the Vatican by not allowing them to interfere with a woman’s access to contraception is preposterous. We still have separation of church and state in this country. The Vatican is allowed to say contraception is evil all they want, but when they start trying to force their religious dogma on women is where we have a problem. That’s simply not their right.

Priebus was far from the only person telling women to listen to conservative pundits and not their lying eyes.  The idea that it was all in our heads was expressed by Michelle Malkin.

  • war 2 *

By “the young woman”, she means Sandra Fluke. Part of this narrative is the argument that because Fluke had been a reproductive rights activist prior to testifying in front of Congress, her observations about contraception are illegitimate. No, it doesn’t make sense, but neither does this whole narrative. The problem here is that even if Democrats did bait Republicans into attacking contraception access, there was no reason that Republicans had to take the bait. For instance, Darrell Issa was not actually obligated to have mostly men and all anti-choicers testify during his hearing on this issue. He chose to do that, even after he was asked to hear Fluke. Painting anti-choicers are helpless victims forced—forced, I tell you—to attack women makes no kind of sense. At all points in time, they are completely free to stop attacking women’s access to contraception and abortion. They choose not to, and are arguing that they shouldn’t be held accountable for that choice. That’s not how politics works. There is no right to attack a large group of people’s rights without being called out on it.

Fox’s Doocy took it to the next level, not only claiming that Democrats don’t have a right to call out attacks on reproductive rights, but that those attacks are fictions.

  • war 3 *

You know things are getting desperate in right wing media when they abandon all pretext of plausible deniability and just start saying things that are blatantly, demonstrably, immediately and obviously lies. Which means that the attention the war on women is getting is beginning to make them sweat. Which means that it’s time to keep plugging and not let off.

Rush Limbaugh, in his desperation, has moved from just lying and denying to the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” strategy.

  • war 4 *

A man who mocks poor people and claims they brought it on themselves and claims women who use birth control, aka 99% of women, are sluts, is now pretending to care about women, unemployment, and poverty. Suuuuuuurrrrrreeee, Rush. Alas, Limbaugh has all his facts wrong. Even the conservative-leaning newspaper Politico had to call B.S. on this claim, pointing out that the job losses were due to the economic collapse that happened on Bush’s watch. Quote, “There’s a simple reason why job losses look worse for women during Obama’s presidency: Almost 3.3 million men were fired during the George W. Bush’s last year in office, while the losses for women were more drawn out over time.” End quote.

This kind of dishonest number-tweaking might make conservatives feel better, but it doesn’t change the facts. Women do see that there were over 1,000 bills introduced to restrict abortion in 2011 alone, and that there were multiple attempts to bring the federal government to a halt to take Planned Parenthood’s funding, and that there have been attacks on women’s basic right to have contraception treated like basic health care. That’s a war on women, and no amount of hand-waving or finger-pointing is going to change that.

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insert interview

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While the national media tries to make a big deal out of who said what about which housewife, real issues affecting women continued to churn on. In Texas particularly, the war over contraception continues to be fought like crazy. Because Gov. Perry and the legislature refuse to allow Planned Parenthood to access state and federal funds to provide contraception to Texas women, Planned Parenthood is fighting back. Cecil Richards recorded an ad that explains the basic gist of the problem.

  • texas 1 *

Planned Parenthood sent a bus across the state to gin up outrage over this, which I’m sure was helpful, but alas, it’s not going to be enough. Perry’s base loves the idea that they’re pissing off the feminists, and so angry letters from feminists might just encourage them. And so onward to the way these kinds of disputes are generally resolved, a good, old-fashioned lawsuit.

  • texas 2 *

The advantage of hashing it out in court is that if Planned Parenthood wins, they will start getting their funding back rapidly, and hopefully won’t be forced to close their doors. This is a very serious concern, and not just because we love Planned Parenthood here on Reality Cast. The fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood is often women’s only source of decent medical care at all, much less contraceptive care. This is especially true in a state like Texas, which has a lot of poverty and where a lot of religious busybodies amplify women’s need for discreet health care. The news station interviewed Planned Parenthood’s lawyer about the claims in the case.

  • texas 3 *

While this is all going on, new numbers came out from the CDC showing that increased contraception use has caused the United States to have its lowest teen pregnancy rate basically ever. Slashing funds for contraception is not only just mean-spirited and sex-phobic, it’s plain stupid. The very people, such as teenagers, who most need this help are often the ones who are facing the worst consequences if they don’t get it. But in Texas, apparently, punishing women for being sexually active is more important than basic public health.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Limbaugh can’t help himself edition. While right wing pundits and politicians are scrambling to cover up and claim there was never any war on women, what are you talking about, Limbaugh continues to wage it gleefully and openly.

  • Limbaugh *

He can’t call a senator a senator because she’s female. That’s how bad this has gotten. But there’s no war on women!

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • jruwaldt

    Need I point out that there’s a difference between a regime and an administration which he isn’t making? When Obama took office, we got a new administration. We continue to have the same regime we’ve had since 1789.