Just in time for mid-term election campaigning, the Supreme Court handed conservatives the perfect opportunity to remind Americans that their number one obsession is policing women’s sex lives by any means necessary. Wingnuts rejoiced.
If anyone has forgotten how conservatives declared war on contraception in 2012, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in Burrell v. Hobby Lobby, and the right-wing response to it, should jog a few memories. The court basically ruled that corporations are people who get to take away other people’s health care — if those people are women, and the health care is contraception.
What this means for any hope of conservative outreach to women is summed up by an image of the majority in the Hobby Lobby ruling that’s been making the rounds on Facebook since Monday.
But in case anyone missed the point, right-wingers rejoicing over the ruling helped drive it home.
- Fox News host Jesse Watters said Hillary Clinton called the ruling a “slippery slope” because she needs “the Beyoncé Voters — the “single ladies” who “depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands,” and thus “need contraception, health care, and … love to talk about equal pay.” Watters has probably never heard the old Destiny’s Child hit, “Independent Women.”
- Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham said on “Fox & Friends” that women can “just go to Planned Parenthood” or “anywhere else” to get contraception, so it’ “ridiculous” to argue that their access to it has been restricted.
- Rush Limbaugh, who famously called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for advocating access to contraception, said that women wouldn’t need birth control if they just “didn’t do a certain thing.” Of course, Limbaugh had no advice for men who “do a certain thing” with women who need birth control.
- Tony Perkins said on Newsmax TV that the Hobby Lobby case was really about “breaking through the firewall that has long existed around religious freedom.”
- Karl Rove pushed the fantasy that contraceptives somehow cause abortion. Never mind that that successful use of contraception prevents pregnancy in the first place.
- Rick Santorum is making a movie about it.
In the twittersphere, RedState founder Erick Erickson praised the ruling as a victory over “employer subsidized consequence free sex.”
My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 30, 2014Fox’s Eric Bolling took a swipe at Sandra Fluke, tweeting that she “might do something stupid now that she has to pay for own birth control.”
Somebody get eyeballs on Sandra Fluke. She may do something dumb. After all now she has to pay for her own birth control.
— ericbolling (@ericbolling) June 30, 2014
Todd Starnes had some eye-opening tweets for anyone fooled by claims that this “narrow ruling” was just about four forms of birth control that Hobby Lobby owners deem icky.
Obama’s plan to force Christians to fund abortions is thwarted! #hobbylobby
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 30, 2014
Right-wingers may be taking victory laps through a political minefield. The GOP was already losing with women, and the return of the contraception debate isn’t going to help them much. The Centers for Disease Control report on the use of contraception in the U.S from 1982 to 2008 says, “99 percent of women 15-44 years of age who have ever had sexual intercourse with a male (referred to as “sexually experienced”) have used at least one contraceptive method. That means virtually all women have used some form of contraception — probably including a whole lot of conservative women.
Republicans’ friends on the Court and the religious right aren’t wasting any time greasing that “slippery slope,” and confirming Americans’ worst fears about the consequences of the Hobby Lobby ruling. On Tuesday, the Court put all contraception on the table, by ordering lower courts to rehear case where employers sought to deny the coverage of any type of contraception — not just the four in the Hobby Lobby case. In an obvious attempt to capitalize on the Hobby Lobby ruling, 14 different faith organizations have sent a letter to the President demanding exemptions from a pending executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons.
While wingnuts celebrate, Senate Democrats are strategizing a legislative response. That’s sure to keep the issue alive between now and November. And that’s bad news for the GOP, because only one side can run on this ruling and win — and it’s not Republicans. A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken on the eve of the Court’s ruling showed that a majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage. And they ain’t all “Beyoncé voters.”
- So much for rebranding. Evan Alvarez, the first Hispanic chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, resigned because of the growing influence and extremism of the tea party. In his letter Alvarez wrote, “I ran to be Chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College REPUBLICANS, not the Mississippi Federation of College ‘Tea Partiers,’” and said he planned to change his affiliation to Democrat soon.
- Unlike Mississippi, Maine doesn’t make anyone’s shortlist for “Ground Zero”of wingnuttery. That could change with recent revelations that Republican governor Paul LePage met with a “sovereign citizen” extremist group called the Aroostook Watchmen. The FBI has designated the Aroostook Watchmen as a terrorist group, The two hour meeting — and eight more that followed — included a wide range of topics, including hanging some Democratic legislators for “high treason.” LePage, who has a reputation for not meeting with anyone he doesn’t want to meet with, has issued a weak denial that he ever discussed executions.
- Meanwhile, Michigan GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land plummeted in polling, despite pointing out that she’s a woman. In fact, Land’s gotten even less popular with women — going from an unfavorable rating of 27 percent in April to 31 percent at present.
- Former Senator and perennial presidential candidate Rick Santorum told C-SPAN host Tucker Carlson that the founding fathers had the right idea when they limited voting rights during the creation of the United States, for the sake of “continuity.” Well, you see what happens when you let “blah people” vote. No to mention, women, people who don’t own property, people who are property, etc.
- Fresh from his brush with airport security, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah writes that he’s pretty sure Hillary Clinton will never win the presidency, because President Obama is readying a “clone” ready to replace him in 2016.
- The loser of the Republican primary for Ohio’s 3rd congressional district, Timothy Ray Murray says his opponent was executed by the “World Court” three years ago, and replaced by a body double. Murray said he will contest the election, on the basis that this made Murray ineligible to hold office. When did conservative politics turn into “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”?
- In an interview with the tea party news network, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration said that Mexican immigrants “may smile at you as they serve you your cheeseburger or peruse across your lawn with a weed eater,” but in reality they want “for you and your whole family to die.”
- Louisiana State Representative, and candidate for the U.S. House, Republican Lenar Whitney posted a campaign video calling climate change the “the greatest deception in the history of mankind,” which she went on to disprove with her trusty thermometer. Climate scientists should be stampeding to the unemployment line any minute now.
- Republican Florida State Rep. Dane Eagle just wants to put being arrested for drunk driving after stopping at a Taco Bell drive-thru behind him. Just months before his arrest, Eagle sponsored a bill requiring Florida elected officials to undergo drug tests, in response to Rep. Trey Radel (R, Florida) getting busted cocaine possession during a DEA sting operation in Washington, DC.
- Likewise, Republican candidate for the Michigan State House, Jordan D. Haskins hopes voters will forgive his arrest record, and his unusual fetish — called “cranking” — for breaking into cars and hot-wiring them while masturbating. Haskins has served prison time in two states and is currently on parole.