Concessions count for a piece of lint and that weird thing you found in the litterbox

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, January 29, 2009 17:06 EDT
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Republicans hit the talking heads shows this week, sobbing crocodile tears about the horrors of female sexuality and getting supposedly mainstream journalists to suddenly act like contraception was invented yesterday and its use is highly controversial. Suddenly, counting out women’s health from the economic stimulus package was considered a reasonable concession to make in order to get that critical bipartisan support.

As you could have predicted, the benefit gained to Democrats for letting Republicans whine and cajole until crucial items were rewritten in the bill was…..shit. The song and dance did not get a single Republican vote, and 11 Democrats also voted against the bill. The lesson should be simple—Republicans are lying when they pretend to object to this small bit or that, and concessions offered to get their votes will equal knives planted firmly in your back. Despite this lesson, I guarantee that Republicans will be able to whine and cry until more concessions are granted in the Senate, at what point none of them will vote for the economic stimulus package. After years of being told to shove it up their ass, you’d think Democrats would enjoy the opportunity to tell Republicans to shove it up their ass, but that’s not going to happen, I guess.

Here is the blunt reality: Republicans will gladly fuck over this country and ruin the lives of each and every one of you if they think that they’ll get some political advantage from it. They can’t be dealt with like reasonable people. Check out this quote, for instance:

“I am disappointed that Congress decided to borrow money from our children and grandchildren to increase spending, create new government programs, and increase the federal deficit under the guise of an economic stimulus,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex.

This man is lying, and he’s exploiting people’s love of their children to do so. I wouldn’t trust him alone with my purse. He has consistently and avidly supported Bush’s murderous boondoggle in Iraq, which means that he has no problem with borrowing money from our children and grandchildren in order to kill people for no reason that can be stated out loud. I’m sure he’d vote for a bill to take $825 billion and set it on fire before he’d vote for anything that might actually improve the economy or the lives of everyday people. Look, they’re not even trying to hide what they’re up to. Rush Limbaugh came right out and said he hopes Obama fails, which of course would mean that he hopes that this country crashes into a deep depression that ruins millions of lives. Because Republicans win by cynically exploiting people’s despair—all this hope crap that Obama has pushed needs to be killed swiftly. The better a bill will be for the average person in America, the more that Republicans will oppose it. They need you suffering. Therefore they need to be handled like people who are solely motivated by evil, because for all pragmatic purposes, that’s what they are.

As Jesse said to me in chat, Republicans are more afraid of Limbaugh than they are of Obama. And Limbaugh has expressed his marching orders—Obama must fail, and they must put their efforts to that goal. Obama was able to count on a least a handful of Republicans to be decent friends to him in the Senate, but I hope he realizes that they are his blood enemies now and will sacrifice anything to fuck him over now that he’s President.

All that said, it’s quickly becoming obvious that Republicans are putting a lot of eggs into the misogyny basket in hopes of wearing down the public’s commitment to hope and progress. While the birth control thing was far from the only concession demanded, it dominated the media coverage, and I think that was a deliberate choice. In addition, Senate Republicans put on a big show of writing a bill to reinstate the global gag rule, even though they had to know it wouldn’t pass. I can barely keep up with the amount of crap being poured out from right wing media sources lying about this sexual health issue or that. Like Brad at Sadly, No said, “If there’s one big drawback to the Obama administration thus far, it’s that they’ve inspired wingnuts to write a lot about sex again.” And writing about sex is basically using titillation to push a misogynist, homophobic message. The reason for the obsession with sex (really with misogyny and homophobia) hasn’t changed—it’s always been about distracting people from economic issues with the deadly combination of prejudice and titillation—but it seems that they hope they can double down on this with the hopes that people will be so worried that some lady down the street is fucking and getting away with it that they will stop thinking about the danger of getting laid off.

Will it work? Beats me. I can’t help but think that the economic crisis feels too real to people this time around, and therefore they won’t have the energy to get obsessed by this sex-and-misogyny crap. Maybe Republicans are too cynical about human nature for their own good. Or maybe they’re right, and many Americans are just that screwed up. Or maybe this is all they have left.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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