It bears remembering that the new Republican candidate for New York governor, Carl Paladino, won the nomination in a landslide, with abnormally high turnout for a primary. People really wanted to come out and vote for this guy. The story of his love of forwarding emails with vicious racist humor and mean-spirited pornography seems only to have improved his standing with the Republican base, as did the reveal that Paladino wants to put people in prison for “training” if they’re unemployed. I mention this, because invariably people will not want to hold the voters responsible for his attitudes. On the contrary, I think he’s an expression of the darkness that is in the Tea Party. The Tea Party revolt increasingly seems mostly motivated by anger at the Republicans for putting on a politically correct face instead of letting the bigot flag fly. Like Adam Serwer said, “If a liberal were trying to come up with a really nasty, reductive caricature of what a Republican is supposed to be like it would look something like Carl Paladino.” I fear that may have been what made him so appealing to teabaggers.
The over-the-top racism and classism he’s exhibited has eaten up most of the coverage, for two major reasons. One is that you can actually show the evidence for it on TV without having the government fine you for violating FCC regulations. But it’s particularly important to consider the porn pictures he sent in light of his absolutist views on abortion.
SANCHEZ: How do you feel — what is your position on abortion?
SANCHEZ: Should a woman have a right to have an abortion if she’s — if she’s been raped?
SANCHEZ: She should not? She should have to have the baby?
PALADINO: And the baby can be adopted, yes.
SANCHEZ: What if it’s — what if it’s a case of incest?
PALADINO: The baby can be adopted, yes.
We’re told over and over by anti-choicers that they’re not in this because they’re misogynists with a dim view of female sexuality, that the reason that they want to force women to give birth against their will has nothing to do with just base sadism aimed at an oppressed class of people. We’re told it’s offensive to suggest that they view women as walking reproductive organs that exist to be used by other people, as male sexual release devices or breeding machines. We’re told to ignore the obvious insinuations going on in comments like Paladino’s that sound exactly like he thinks women are nothing but breeding machines, and instead assume that what he, an anti-choicer, means is, “We want to ban abortion as a gift to women who are abused by abortionists and are most fulfilled having a baby at any point in time under any circumstances. We want to take women’s rights because we love women!” It’s considered rude or unserious to suggest that their opposition to abortion rights reflect anything but “deep moral conviction” and might in fact be a reflection of nasty attitudes towards women.
I must say that I’m hard pressed to do my duty to pretend that the emperor has on woman-loving clothes. This is true most of the time, but especially true in this case. I’m really not seeing that Paladino and his supporters want to force women to bear their rapists’ babies and then go through the emotional stress of adoption because they’re just so fond of women and want to save them from the evil abortionists. Because Paladino’s woman-loving, humanitarian reaction when he got a picture of a woman being fucked by a horse was to forward that email on with the title “Steady There Big Fella….XXX”.
But let’s all pretend anti-choicers have great love in their hearts for women. It’s such a pleasant myth! It means that we can get all frowny face with those feminists with their unladylike demands that women have rights, and scold them for not understanding that anti-choicers only assault women’s rights with heavy hearts. We can believe antis mean well, and it’s just their deep moral convictions that make them oppose reproductive rights. You know, in between forwarding emails of pornographic humiliation of women and explaining why it’s okay to harass a female sports reporter if you think her jeans are too tight. How can we fault these woman-loving wingnuts when all they suffer from is an excess of love and tender feelings?