Perhaps you have been concerned lately that maybe the Democrats were not being blamed hard enough for the GOP’s nationwide freakout about ladies, their plumbing, and how sometimes said ladies leave the men who hit them instead of nutting up and trying for once not to burn the goddamn roast. Popular outlet for “contrarian” and plain old “counterintuitive” writers and thinkers Slate is here to help! “Are Democrats in Danger of Looking Too Political on the Violence Against Women Act?” asks the headline. “Yes,” answers the story. Really? Really! Here is the lead paragraph (or “lede graf” in Journalism!) of J. Bryan Lowder’s richly nuanced thinkpiece:
In the “War on Women” that’s been raging these past few months, it’s clear that the Democrats have succeeded in framing the debate in their favor. The GOP—especially in the recent Obama contraception mandate controversy—has been painted as the anti-woman party, and even Republican insiders fear that the misstep could cost them dearly in an election year in which women will represent a significant portion of the voting public.
We shall now unpack this clause by clause: the Democrats have succeeded in their “framing”; the GOP has passively “been painted” as the anti-woman party; and this is an election year in which women will represent “a significant portion of the voting public.” (That last is our favorite; has there not been a “significant” share of women voting since right about 1920?) It’s impossible to tell how much of the voting block women will compose, but it could definitely be upwards of a third, and may even be more than half? (In 2008, 10 million more women voted than men, which is also a “significant portion”!) In other words, dude’s spinning words in sentences of pure shiny gold to make it sound as if he is saying anything, anything at all. Dude is not saying anything at all. Tell us more, J. Bryan Lowder, for we are all ears (and equal parts fallopian tubes and chocolate):
So it’s no surprise that Congressional Republicans were unhappy to learn yesterday that the Democrats, led by the party’s female Senators, have lobbed another lady-themed political bomb their way in the form of pressure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation, which originally passed in 1994, is responsible for funding domestic violence prevention and prosecution programs around the country, and its renewal has traditionally been a popular bipartisan action. This time, however, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have balked at addendums to the bill that would provide temporary visas for battered illegal immigrants and coverage for same-sex couples.
Oh those Democrats, with their constant bomb-lobbing. But what about these “addendums” that the GOP is balking at? Temporary visas for battered illegal immigrants? That does sound bad! Maybe J. Bryan Lowder could illuminate it for us: that currently, if a woman wants to stay in the country, she must stay silent and endure more violence from her abuser? And this addendum offers a much-need fix to that? No, J. Bryan Lowder does not choose to actually discuss why the Democrats would add this poison pill for the Republicans, only the GOP’s perceived optics. And what about those gays? Domestic violence in gay couples is about the same as in straight couples — Lambda pegs it (heh) at 25 percent. But you can see why doing anything about that would simply be unconscionable, because … well, your editrix can’t see why, but maybe your imagination is better.
At the end of the Times piece, Senator Roy Blunt suggests that the new champions of women may be “in serious danger of overplaying their hand,” and I actually think he has a point. While I certainly praise the support that Democrats have displayed for women’s issues in this election cycle, I’m starting to be turned off by the giddiness with which they’ve taken on the mantle of lady defender. I admit that the issue of political tone is small potatoes compared to the very important programs and services at stake in these debates, but I’m still a little uncomfortable with the unequivocal friend-or-foe rhetoric that has come to dominate this conversation.
“New champions” of women, check. “Overplaying their hand,” check. “Giddiness with which they’ve taken on the mantle of lady defender,” fuck yeah. Perhaps J. Bryan Lowder has simply been unaware of the batshit insano Terrifying Things that have been coming out of the emboldened statehouses the past few weeks: the Wisconsin members who want to classify single motherhood as abuse; the same Wisconsin folk who this week told women to remember what they loved about their abusive husbands in the first place; the folks in Arizona who want to make it legal for your employer to fire you if you use birth control you paid for yourself; and, why, ever so many more! Perhaps J. Bryan Lowder should start reading Wonkette!
For the sake of victims of domestic violence, VAWA should be reauthorized as soon as possible, but Democrats need to remember that we all know they’re in the midst of a tough election contest, too. Fight the good fight for women, but please, leave the noble posturing at home.
And there you have it. Why Democrats are to blame for the GOP’s War Against Women. Yeoman’s service, J. Bryan Lowder. Truly, sir, well-played. We understand and will try to be better. Concern troll is concerned.