Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It seems as if the Republican shitstorms have had an effect; their distorted portrayal of the IRS mess, and their pretense of civil libertarianism over the NSA revelations, have pulled down Obama's approval ratings. Good work! So, geniuses, what's the follow-up?
House passes late-term abortion ban
The House voted Tuesday to impose a nationwide ban on abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy over Democratic objections that the bill represents a dramatic attempt by Republicans to restrict abortion rights... 
With limited exceptions, the legislation would ban the abortion of a fetus younger than 20 weeks old, or at 22 weeks of pregnancy under a different measuring system. The ban would be backed by possible fines against doctors, as well as prison sentence of as many as five years.
What can you say about a movement that, having expertly wielded the dark chords of the Mighty Wurlitzer to get the audience to hiss Obama, suddenly segues into America's least favorite Gospel number accompanied by the Crazy Cletus Fetus Brigade? And sends its fine young men like Yuval Levin of National Review out on stage with a bucket on one foot to say stuff like this:
The front page of today’s New York Times carries a story about the late-term-abortion ban being considered in the House. The headline in the print edition is “Unfazed by 2012, G.O.P. Is Seeking Abortion Limits.” As if the people struggling to save the lives of innocent children whose only crime is that they are unwanted by their mothers or would disrupt somebody’s plans should be “fazed” into inaction by the 2012 election...
It's like they're trying to get people to imagine pregnant women chained to cots in a forced birthing center festooned with crosses and pictures of Todd Akin.

I think for some of them it's a perverse sort of strategy, based on a certainty that citizens will swoon for this sort of thing -- no pale pastels! But for most of them, I think it's just a tic. Or maybe that's too mild. Maybe it's a form of epilepsy.

However buttoned-down the operation can be, however smoothly things are running, every so often the brethren simply have to ululate and handle snakes in public. You may have forgotten that, because the Romney campaign was such a mess. After the tenth or twelfth time the Democrats dollied in on a Republican face that had been blackened by an exploding cigar, you came to assume that the Dems had gotten super-great at politics. They've certainly improved from when I was a young man, but they have mostly been fortunate that their opponents started having such frequent and spectacular seizures.

This is a natural consequence of the conservative anomie that has in recent months been frequently and hilariously discussed. Over the past five or six years, nearly all their crazy ideas have been discredited or at least called into question. People have tumbled to the fact that, unless carefully watched, the dynamo of capitalism will inevitably overheat and blow up your economy; that ginning up wars in the Middle East doesn't make the country safer; that you don't need fundamentalists to win elections if you have women and minorities; etc.

In fact, the recent conservative successes I mentioned are based on a total reversal of their position on surveillance from the last time they held power. Victory in any guise is gratifying, and so this must be to them -- but it comes with a price: it abstracts them still further from their true authoritarian and xenophobic nature. Why, the strain must be even greater than pretending to give a shit about Mexicans. And that's why they run amok.

What they need is someone forceful and charismatic to hold them in line and make them behave -- but it can't be one of the old-timers 'cause they're all RINO squares. So far I see Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz...

It'll be an interesting couple of years.


  1. This is how you know they really care about keeping women in their place. They do it even when it's not politically convenient!

    I'd like to say that this breed of diehard paleocons will be the death of the GOP, but people have been making that prediction for as long as I've been alive (and possibly longer), so I'm hesitant.

  2. Jeffrey_Kramer11:30 PM

    No, I think Levin has a point (really; not a joke setup). When Serious, Objective newspapers use headlines like "Unfazed by 2012, [politician] proposes [legislation]," that is as close as they can come, within the strictures of their self-imposed rulebook, to saying "Nyah, nyah, loser! You just don't learn, do you?" Because the Serious news organizations are allowed to imply (or even sometimes say explicitly) that some political stand is a loser; they aren't allowed to imply that it's crazy or evil. And the Serious organization will be just as happy to tell us on some other occasion that some liberal politician is proposing gun control measures "unfazed" by previous failures, and the implication will be the same: nyah, nyah, loser!

  3. montag211:31 PM

    Hmm. "As if the people struggling to save the lives of innocent children whose
    only crime is that they are unwanted by their mothers or would disrupt
    somebody’s plans...."

    This is a wonderful example of wingnutz propaganda technique in microcosm. In just a single clause, Levin transforms a bunch of leaping, screaming, patriarchal chauvinists into "people" (yes, the yahoos the Tea Partiers elected are technically people, but they are not of us nor are they of this world) "struggling" (implicit in that is "honorably" and "valiantly," and that their banshee shrieks are, inexplicably, populist in nature), that they are saving the lives of "innocent children," as if they are Oskar Schindler sneaking Jewish kids off the cattle cars, and finally, that all abortion can be reduced to simply accommodating latte-sipping limousine liberal feminists' callow careerism.

    That's in part of just one fucking sentence, when the real issue now, and always has been, is that we really had to stop the endless procession of poor women into emergency rooms, bleeding profusely with coathangers hanging out of them.

    But, I gotta hand it to `em. Goebbels would have been in awe of these sly, nasty little fuckers. They can make cyanide sound like sherbet.

  4. DocAmazing12:52 AM

    I just hope that their Tourette's keeps acting up when the electorate is paying attention. The thing about incontinence is timing: sometimes these guys are lucky enough to lose bladder control during a downpour.

  5. Spaghetti Lee1:24 AM

    "Now that we've all convinced you we care deeply about personal privacy, let us root around in your uterus for a little bit."

  6. Tehanu1:32 AM

    Ah, innocence. Funny they don't give a damn about it when it involves people railroaded into prison and refused DNA testing.

  7. montag21:43 AM

    Ah, but that's a post-partum phenomenon. Doesn't count.

    Look, these people don't even care about what they claim to care about--they're also in the process of trying to cut funding for WIC.

    Beyond that, these guys' idea of the pinnacle of forensic technology is the dunking stool.

  8. JennOfArk1:47 AM

    So far I see Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz...

    Naw, it will be Mr. Sweater Vest Santorum, because since he's already run for the nom. twice, it's his "turn." Republicans are big on whose "turn" it is next; in fact, the only time they didn't choose their nominee this way in my memory is with W Bush who managed to deftly buy the nomination, and there really wasn't anyone whose "turn" it was then. Unlike Romney, McCain, Dole, HW Bush, Reagan, etc.

  9. Spaghetti Lee2:03 AM

    You know what my theory is? Rick Santorum is an evil, alternate-universe Mr. Rogers. The real Mr. Rogers was all about making you feel good about yourself, whereas Santorum is all about spreading (heh) shame and fear. The sweater vests are the clue. I don't know how they both ended up in the same universe, though.

  10. montag22:05 AM

    Well, Little Boots usurped his brother's spot in the rotation, and Jebby is quietly champing at the bit. He's probably even more evil than brother George, if that's possible, but he's smarter and has the distinct advantage of speaking extemporaneously in more or less complete sentences. If Jebby runs, he'd have no trouble waxing Santorum and Paul, Rubio wouldn't even try to run against him, because Jebby has the Cuban mafia behind him, so Rubio's support in Florida would evaporate, and Ted Cruz would look like an alcoholic truck driver next to the younger Bush (if anything, Jebby is slick).

    Keep in mind that this is just my way of imagining (and, therefore, preparing myself for) the worst possible outcome, because I do think that yet another Bush presidency will likely unmoor the planet from its orbit.

  11. Derelict7:09 AM

    So far I see Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz...

    Only Cruz has a chance. Rand Paul suffers from both Pierce's 5-minute Rule, as well as the fact that he was loved for 10 minutes by progressives. Marco Rubio once advocated for the immigration bill that he (and the brethren) now denounce, and most of the true believers believe Marco needs to get back to trimming the hedges.

    Leaving Cruz. Who is well on his way to that bridge too far that will ultimately result in some sort of spectacular public meltdown a la Rubio and Jindal.

  12. LittlePig7:17 AM

    And boyhowdy will it be a moment when Cruz has that moment.

    "Tailgunner Joe II: Electric Red Scare"

  13. Derelict7:30 AM

    Look, these people don't even care about what they claim to care about . . .

    Very true. Despite all the bleating about abortion, each and every one of the people supporting this bill fervently prays that it does not become law. Finally outlawing abortion would send the fetus fetishists in the base home for the next five elections. And the GOP can't survive without those rubes running hot on their side.

    the dunking stool.

    Which I read and immediately thought of someone dunking a turd in their coffee. Waaaaaay too early in the morning for that image!

  14. montag28:01 AM

    I should have used the more commonly accepted terminology, "ducking stool," but I imagine that still would have created equally disturbing mental images for some people....

  15. redoubt8:15 AM

    Agree. Can see Jebby, with someone like Joe Lieberman (QED, will manipulate and be manipulated) as his running mate.

  16. Yeah, even if abortion was banned, it would STILL be a rallying cry for the fetus-fetish crowd.

  17. Derelict9:10 AM

    I'm not so sure about this. The GOP has had several occasions to win the victory over abortion. Back when The Shrub was president and the GOP controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, they could have been ramming through anti-abortion bills at the same rate they now run anti-ObamaCare bills, hoping for one to pass Supreme Court muster.

    I also see how the issues closest to the hearts of the God-Guns-Gays voters get used. The anti-gay fervor was exploited to get Bush re-elected by putting anti-gay-marriage amendments on the ballot in swing states to get the G-G-G voters out. It worked then, but those same voters not only didn't come out thereafter, but many have apparently changed their minds on the issue now that they've "won."

  18. Derelict9:12 AM

    Jeb-Droopy 2016!

    America's chance to vote for a tri-fecta of fail from the Bush Dynasty!

  19. sharculese9:44 AM

    I think you have a good point, but in this specific case I also may think the headline is fair. Not because of the specific policy involved, but because spending all their time on these sorts of symbolic bills that have no chance of passing the Senate and no chance of being signed into law is one of the things that is alienating people from the Republican party.

  20. DocAmazing9:56 AM

    Why couldn't we just have gotten Mr. Rogers with a beard?

  21. montag29:57 AM

    I can't see Jebby being that stupid. Holy Joe was like a lead anchor on Al Gore, and, if anything, his campaign in 2004 was doomed from the start--he was a bigger joke than One-L. Beyond that, I doubt that KKKarl would ever let Jebby entertain the thought.

    One other thing--the only people who really thought well of Holy Joe were fellow Senators Graham and McCain (and if McCain thought that Palin, of all people, would be a lesser liability than Holy Joe, then Joe's toast forever more).

  22. that they are saving the lives of "innocent children,"

    Who can then proceed to die under bridges without access to adequate food or health care, the greedy little parasites.

  23. Halloween_Jack10:04 AM

    I think that Cruz is already on that bridge; he's a good reminder of what the country would have had more of if Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, and/or Christine O'Donnell had been elected in '10. And even a meltdown may be spun up as Jimmy Stewart's big climactic speech in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; the people who sent him there in the first place will no doubt eat it up.

  24. Oh, I don't doubt that the rationale is to keep the abortionban voters coming out. My doubt is that it matters to the abortionban voters. In other words, I think they could have banned abortion and still relied on those voters. Because I think those Guys would have tured out in just as strong force.

  25. Remember how Joe McCarthy wasn't personally cowed by the "At long last, have you no decency" moment? Now our political institutions and the press don't care, either. In retrospect, having the functioning of our governmental system depend so critically on the existence of a sense of shame was quite the vulnerability.

  26. Mr. Wonderful10:13 AM

    Bush--pace Godwin--was their Hitler INASMUCH AS he arrived in glory and ended in catastrophe. His election meant that every authoritarian, hippie-loathing, "good Christian" nationalist fantasy would be realized. Well, not every: abortion remained legal, and non-whites were still allowed to vote.

    Eight years later: 9/11, no WMDs, failure to catch bin Laden, economic meltdown, utter disaster and a discrediting of the wingnut worldview and agenda, not only to "History," but the next generation of voters. If it took Hitler to get the world to agree to the formation of the state of Israel, it took Bush to deliver the election of a black man.

    So now what? Retreat *even more* into fantasy. (By that measure, the diminution of Glenn Beck is a surprise. Or maybe not. Beck is the reductio ad absurdum of the trend. He is to wingnut paranoia as Time Cube is to the home page of the American Physical Society.) Every day some yahoo in Congress or a state lege proudly makes some appalling, moronic public remark about women, pregnancy, or rape that in 1956 would have occasioned an emergency tactical discussion in the John Birch Society.

    When you lose the Arlen Spectors of the world and attract the Michele Bachmanns (let alone the Christine O'Donnells), your party has almost literally lost its mind. A maniac still looks like a person, but is fundamentally different from other people. And that's where the GOP is now: a maniac party, its open slots eagerly filled by lunatics and morons, attracting a constituency of lunatics and morons.

  27. Mr. Wonderful10:16 AM

    True, but: Mr. Rogers wore a cardigan. Still...

  28. Derelict10:20 AM

    As I remember it, McCain actually did want Lieberman as his first pick for VP, but was overruled by his campaign advisors. I don't think they thought of Holy Joe as less of liability. Instead, everyone of influence at that level had met Caribou Barbie on the NRO cruise or in other circumstances and decided that hot soccer mom would be the perfect accessory for McCain.

  29. mortimer10:20 AM

    What they need is someone forceful and charismatic to hold them in line and make them behave...

    And you're right that there's nary a Gooper on the scene of any flavor who can do this. But I don't think it's even possible at this point. The GOP are like meth-heads who still smuggle drugs into rehab, they are simply too fucked up now to ever stop. Nothing will ever change, it will only get worse -- hell, even barefaced hucksters like Ralph Reed are back from disgrace for the skim. I think they're going to be even more desperate in 2016, and the GOP nomination will be even more of a rollercoaster than 2012. (Remember, at one time Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, and Cain was each out in front of ALL the other Republican candidates in the race, sometimes by a wide margin. In fact, if Perry had turned out to be a sentient being I think he would have locked the nomination.) And given the ongoing insanity in Gooper-run state houses they apparently have an endless supply of cliffs to fall off.
    Behave? Not likely.

  30. mortimer10:28 AM

    I dunno. Cruz -- who looks like a mad experiment splicing the DNA of Pat Buchanan and Carl Spackler -- has all the weaselly charisma and stink of a polecat. While Jeb's entire immediate family may have arrest records, he's relatively clean, and if he blows enough kisses to Tea Party morons (and as long as that's all he's blowing) he might have it wrapped up by default. Lucky us.

  31. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps10:30 AM

    sweater vests:cardigan::clean-shaven:goatee

  32. sharculese10:31 AM

    The Levin bit reminds of a quote I saw from Marsha Blackburn yesterday. Basically, asked if this was another case of empty posturing, she said of course not, because how could you say that about fighting to 'save the lives f women and babies.' And that's exactly why the head of Students for Life's brilliant idea to of winning the yoof over to forced-birtherism with humor is destined to fail. When you view even the most meaningless gesture as the next battleground in a never-ending holy war, it gets really fucking hard to joke about it.

  33. When all you have is an asylum, populate it.

  34. Eh, there are plenty of ways J.E.B. could still lose the general election. One of them would even allow me to pretend I'm living in Renaissance Venice, at least in the sense of there being a Libro d'Oro of acceptable families.

    "Clinton vs. Bush II: The Oligarchening."

  35. because how could you say that about fighting to 'save the lives f women and babies.'

    Who can then proceed to die under bridges without access to adequate food or health care, etc.

  36. sharculese11:18 AM

    Only if the women don't die of pregnancy-related complications that require a therapeutic abortion first.

  37. If you're enwombed, you sacred. If you require help to stay from being entombed, you're fucked.

  38. billcinsd11:44 AM

    I think your backwards there -- goatees are found on evil people, so should go with Santorum and his sweater vests

  39. dstatton12:16 PM

    "...innocent children whose only crime is that they are unwanted by their mothers..."

    So women are OK with a pregnancy for eight months, then think, hey wait a minute...? Is that what he thinks? If so, he's a dope.

  40. Teresa12:21 PM

    I think conservative men are so ignorant about pregnancy and child rearing that they only think of pregnancies as shiny things. Then AFTER birth they are totally insulted and shocked that said "innocent children" would even require to be fed, clothed, housed and educated outside of the uterus.

  41. mrstilton12:22 PM

    I'd heard something slightly different; that, yes, McCain wanted Holy Joe, but Rove put in the veto because your more, ehh, rural and devout sort of GOPer might not vote for a Christ-killer; that Rove wanted Romney, but McCain put in the veto because he hates Mitt's guts; and that Bible Spice having been waved in front of McCain, he latched on to her in a sort of desperate Hail-Mary Hollywood cute meet, thereby demonstrating incontrovertibly that he utterly lacks the judgement required of a head of state and commander-in-chief.

  42. j_bird12:37 PM

    I think the good doctor's analogy is correct:
    Evil Knitwear is to Good Knitwear as Evil Facial Hair is to Good Facial Hair.

  43. There is a story about an automaton constructed in such a way that it could play a winning game of chess, answering each move of an opponent with a countermove. A system of mirrors created the illusion that this table was transparent from all sides. Actually, though, a little hunchback sat inside and guided the puppet's hands by means of strings. One can imagine a political counterpart to this device. The puppet called "the G.O.P." periodically upends the table and ruins the game. Then the hunchback bursts nude into plain view and cries "BOOGA BOOGA FETUS BOOGA."

  44. susanoftexas12:50 PM

    Being anti-abortion is too pleasant for them to stop. They feel it makes them morally superior to liberals, puts them in their god's favor, secures their place in their authoritarian patriarchal hierarchy, and gives them a purpose in their otherwise pointless lives.

    It's very very odd that conservatives care so much about liberal fetuses--after all, we know conservatives don't have abortions because they say so, no matter what the stats tell us. (For instance, most Downs babies are aborted and obviously many of those belonged to conservative women.) And they are also very upset about aborted Chinese and Indian girl fetuses, although not murdered Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi, or Egyptian fetuses.

    So, by their own "logic," conservatives are fighting tooth and nail to keep out Catholic families that don't have abortions while trying to save liberal aborted fetuses whom they believe will grow up to be pro-abortion. It's almost like there is no rhyme or reason to their beliefs.

  45. I've always wondered what kind of person does not question the validity of their position when they have to lie, mislead, and obscure that position to get others to support it.

    That seriously makes some kind of sense to them?

  46. Or turn out to not care so much for patriarchal slavery and grow into independent, thinking human beings.

  47. Exactly--look what's going on in Ireland.

  48. sharculese1:23 PM

    The vast numbers of women getting extremely late-term elective abortions is a standard chapter in The Big Book of Wingnut Fairy Tales. yeah.

  49. satch1:42 PM

    This whole clown show takes me back to a post I made recently about some fights being worth it even if the odds are you'll lose. I'll give the Teapugs this... there doesn't seem to be an issue too crazy for them to push. Banning abortion AND contraception? Sure! And THEN cutting SNAP and Medicaid? Hell yeah! Mandating transvaginal ultrasounds? Of course! Mass deporting "illegal aliens"? Hasta la vista, chumps! And it makes perfect sense to them... they are willing to pander to their crazoid base in a way that no Dem politician will even speak encouragingly to progressives. Christ, we have good ideas... a stock transaction tax, tighter regulation of capital markets, single payer health care, infrastructure spending... and yet we're constantly hamstrung by those who say "Now, now, let's be practical and not waste political capital on things we can never get." OK, OK... I'll grant you that Mike Burgess will never be pilloried by the MSM for his blather about masturbating fetuses in the same way that Bernie Sanders would be for advocating increased spending on infrastructure, but we've got to be willing to have at least a few fights.

  50. If you're enwombed, you sacred.

    Continuing my bitter, bitter theme: Eh, not so much. Paid pregnancy leave? Affordable prenatal care? Here's the back of the GOP's hand, you uppity brood mare.

    They don't really care about fetuses either, even if they think they do, except as a shibboleth allowing them to shout about how godly they are and put the boot to the liberals and the sluts. Protestant fundamentalist leadership only took up the abortion club less than thirty-five years ago, in order to increase their own political power. And "Impeach Earl Warren" was past its sell-by date.

  51. Thank the FSM that we don't get Sebaration H. showing up here like he does at Lawyers Guns and Money whenever this subject comes up.

  52. I only meant if your'e IN the womb, in no way would I ever imply that u.s. conservatives give a shit about grown women. Well, unless they make them see starbursts or whatever and the rest I agree with.

  53. "They don't really care about fetuses either, even if they think they do". Well, if they do, they have a weird way to show it.

  54. It seems as if the Republican shitstorms have had an effect; their distorted portrayal of the IRS mess, and their pretense of civil libertarianism over the NSA revelations, have pulled down Obama's approval ratings

    No, unfortunately he did that on his own.

  55. "Struggling", perhaps, in the sense of My Struggle.

  56. Yeah, I remember a lot of "despite the results of the 2010 election, President Obama persisted in being a black Democrat" language around two years ago.

  57. " the legislation would ban the abortion of a fetus younger than 20 weeks old..."

    I presume the mistake was in the original story (hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they got it backwards in the first draft of the bill too), but they've fixed it at the link.

  58. I might have bandied this idea about before, but I think we need a specialized version of Godwin's Law. We could call it Godwinson's Law: "In any internet discussion of modern American wingnuts, the probability of a Nazi comparison approaches one, because they're fascists in the making."

  59. redoubt8:25 PM

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

  60. Substance McGravitas8:55 PM

    Are Uter-Rooter still in business?

  61. Substance McGravitas9:04 PM

    They do it even when it's not politically convenient!

    They're also very stupid when it's not politically convenient. Consistency is a double-edged whoopee cushion.

  62. Substance McGravitas9:13 PM

    On the other hand not actually doing anything but yelling a lot suits them - no thinking involved, you play the victim when it fails, you get the anti-abortionists into the voting booth.

  63. Substance McGravitas9:21 PM

    I thought it was Mitt's turn when he ran...but when I think about the clowns he was running against maybe it was really about nominating a guy who didn't have foam dripping from his mouth. Santorum's froth is coming from a different place, but you know what I mean.

  64. Roku Fans11:04 PM

    It would be great if there was a law prohibiting abortion. Hopes it will make people more responsible and reduce the number of pregnancies outside of marriage.
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  66. sharculese12:03 AM

    That is what I remember, although I recall the final choice of Palin involving an element of 'yeah, Google her, and if nothing terrible comes up then what-the-fuck-ever."

  67. sharculese12:04 AM

    This is probably the funniest adbot fail I've ever seen and I feel compelled to upvote it.

  68. sharculese12:05 AM

    I was actually thinking of him when I wrote that and yeah, although given how po-faced he is about abortion I can't imagine him handling the snark here for a second.

  69. sharculese12:09 AM

    Yeah, I also think it's hard to argue that it's legitimately Santorum's 'turn.' He happened to be the last of the wingnut ciphers to be the last best hope to defeat Romney, but that was kind of just chance.

  70. Halloween_Jack9:56 AM

    Even if McCarthy didn't have a come-to-Jesus moment, his censure and subsequent fall from power came close after the Army hearings at which Joseph Welch uttered that phrase, and the subsequent Edward R. Murrow report. Some of it may have had to do with McCarthy's health and abilities failing as his alcoholism progressed, but he had also been given more than enough rope to hang himself with.

  71. sharculese11:19 AM

    That's what I've been doing wrong in SimCity!

  72. Yeah, that was my point. The institutions worked to enforce shame even when Joe didn't personally feel any. Ted Cruz lacks even the merest shred of shame or human decency, but nowadays no one of note will call him on it, especially once Republicans control the Senate in 2015. His star is ascendant precisely because he's a putrid psychopath with monstrous political opinions.

  73. Yes, Obamatrons, your anonymous down votes make it less true. You sure showed me.


  74. Sarah7:42 AM

    Politicians lie and they mislead people to get the support that they want, it's sad but it's the reality of life, not saying we should just accept it. The bottom line is that we all have a choice to either do something about or not.

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