Counting down until someone claims that Democrats made swine flu up

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 14:16 EDT
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The conservative attempts to politicize the swine flu have been the only funny thing about this pandemic that has killed over 100 people and threatens the globe. It’s really shown that your average wingnut was one black President away from spinning straight from nutty to completely conspiracy theorist militia-starting bonkers. There is nothing that can’t be turned into a political conspiracy about their own pet hate. Immigration nutters blame Mexico. People whose every waking moment is dedicated to hating latte-swilling liberals are trying to make this about Obama. Knowing as we do that conservatives are streamlined projection machines, we can learn something about all this paranoia.

1) They really do think everything is about them personally.
2) They wouldn’t hesitate for a second to either exploit a disease for base political reasons or make one up completely if they had to. The latter is the next step in the paranoid thinking, and most of that comes from, I suspect, wishing they’d thought of it as soon as the political dividends from exploiting 9/11 weren’t paying out anymore.

But of all obsessive conservatives who think any and everything, including the swine flu, is about their pet political cause, I think the anti-choice nuts win the prize. (Hat tip.)

The Obama administration’s actions to respond to the outbreak of swine flu, including its declaration of a public health emergency, smacks of an attempt to cover up this week’s Senate vote on the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) as secretary of Health and Human Services, a prominent anti-abortion-rights activist told the Washington Independent.

“Some people think that declaring a state of emergency about the flu was a political thing to push the Sebelius nomination through,” Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright told the website’s Dave Weigel.

“Some people”=me and my friends.

There are many layers of paranoid, self-obsessive batshit craziness going on here. First of all, you have the obsession with Kathleen Sebelius, whose appointment anti-choice nutters have been clogging up. From a normie’s perspective, the obsession with Sebelius doesn’t make much sense. Sure, she’s a pro-choice appointment to a department that will deal directly with women’s health. But any fool, even a wingnut fool, could tell you that the odds of Obama picking a wingnut-approved misogynist for the position of HHH Secretary was somewhere between zilch and laughable. And that’s even with the way that Obama plays footsie with religious conservatives, as if their “faith” that women are inferior to men was something worth respecting. That she’s from Kansas should be no thing to them, since it just means that it might be easier for a Republican to get the governor’s seat back. Really, their obsession comes down to two things. One, she is herself actually female, and that just adds insult to pro-choice injury. After all, the whole point of anti-choice nuttery is rolling back the clock to the halcyon days when women didn’t get jobs like Secretary, and were lucky if they got jobs as secretaries. This is true even though the same group of nuts will eagerly support women like Sarah Palin, because intellectual honesty isn’t their strong point, especially when someone’s a good-looking woman who most likely has not had any abortions. (I think a lot more of their choices become easier to understand when you assume that they assume that every liberal or unmarried woman is an immediate suspect for having had an abortion at some point.)

The other is is that Sebelius is the governor of the ground zero state that anti-choicers have marked off for killing, maiming and traumatizing women in the name of hating abortion that much. Kansas is where Dr. George Tiller works, and he is one of the two doctors in the country that specializes in the very small percentage of abortions performed late in pregnancy (but before viability) done for health reasons, usually because the pregnancy is a danger to a woman’s health or life, or because the fetus is dead or dying. Dr. Tiller obeys the law, but anti-choicers refuse to believe this. They have dogged this man in ways that would make Bill Clinton marvel. He’s been shot in both arms, stalked by by the attorney general’s office under Phill Kline (who had a lascivious need to demand that clinics who performed abortion turn over all the files on patients so he could read them, presumably to find evidence of illegal behavior, but personal gratification doesn’t seem to be off the table as an added bonus), and charged with the crime of performing a bunch of illegal abortions, for which he was acquitted.

What’s interesting about the Tiller situation is it’s a perfect example of how the anti-choice movement presents a baby-loving case to the public, but is actually motivated by this deep fear and loathing for women (and yes, that many women feel fear and loathing for women doesn’t change this). The argument for attacking Tiller is that he performs late term abortions, which are supposedly worse than early term ones, even though anti-choicers claim that a fertilized egg is the same thing as a 5-year-old child, so that shows that their targeting of late term providers is cynical politicking on its face. But if you actually bother to look at why women get late term abortions, the targeting Dr. Tiller becomes even more horrifying. Generally speaking, you’re talking about women who really wanted to have a baby, but who can’t have this one, because something is wrong with her health or that of the fetus. Because of the sensitive nature of the situation, Dr. Tiller’s office offers a great deal of counseling services to their patients, who are often suffering trauma because of what’s happening to them. In addition to counseling, there are baptism and funerary services, as well as photographing and footprinting, for people who want to say goodbye to the baby that they expected to have but couldn’t. The levels of hate projected at Dr. Tiller are directly proportional to the levels of care he shows for women during this rough period of their lives. But to the anti-choice movement, sacrificing these women is all the more juicy, because it shows the anti-choice levels of commitment to sacrificing women for Jeebus. It’s similar to the way the Catholic church goes to bat for forcing raped 9-year-olds to give birth.

Anti-choicers blame that woman Sebelius for getting between them and traumatizing a whole bunch of already traumatized women, because she has largely resisted efforts to turn the Kansas government over to anti-choice nuts who are seeking to make new and unwilling martyrs for the anti-abortion cause. I have no doubt that her own gender is considered part of the reason she’s such a softie with the ladies.Taking a stand against Sebelius is political theater for misogynists, to show the base that even when the War Against Women seems helpless, they will continue to fight until we have a government that forces women to die for the crime of having gotten pregnant while being female.

Really, that alone should be enough to consider these wanks too crazy to be taken seriously at all, but the swine flu paranoia just adds to it. It’s not just Concerned Women for America, either. The Family Research Council’s gotten involved, too.

What do sick pigs have to do with widespread, taxpayer-funded abortion? More than you might think. This week, as panic spreads over a potential swine flu pandemic, liberals are already scheming how they can use the health scare to win the confirmation of pro-abortion extremist Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.) as Secretary of Health and Human Services. No doubt the empty seat at HHS was keenly felt this weekend, as Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, stepped into the void at HHS and declared the swine flu a “health emergency.” Although the Senate leadership will use the urgency of the flu to try to force Sebelius through the chamber, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the government’s response to the outbreak “has not been hindered by the lack of a secretary at HHS.”

It’s true. No one could possibly want a pro-choice woman in that seat because they actually think a woman could do the job of providing leadership during a public health crisis. This has to be about abortion. You can’t tell Tony Perkins that the Obama administration is actually going to front like they’d let a woman handle the actual work of the HHS Secretary. She can’t handle that job while scheming to turn every other woman in the country into an abortion party-throwing slut. So they’re not going to buy this story about how swine flu is a real problem, because obviously, if the Democrats thought it was a real problem, they’d give up on Sebelius and show that they’re serious by appointing a man, preferably one who shows that he’s serious by fighting against doctors who provide life-saving care for pregnant women.

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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