The craziest thing to me about this whole Rush flare-up and the lunatic fringe of the right doubling down on the slut issue is how politically incompetent it all is. I remember someone calling this political malpractice, and that is correct. I’m really not used to this kind of political incompetence from Republicans- usually they are horribly wrong on the issues, but win the political battles. This time, not so much.
What they should have done is simple. They should have claimed victory when Obama made the modification to the mandate. When the initial mandate came out from HHS, there was a multi-day freakout, the Bishops and the prudes generated a lot of press, and Team Obama looked at things, calibrated the mandate so that so-called “religious freedom” was preserved, and the entire issue would have been taken off the table if the right had done the smart thing and just claimed victory. They could have celebrated it as a triumph of religious freedom over Obama, and could have claimed that their political might forced Obama to capitulate. He gave them an out and a political victory while maintaining a political victory for himself- he created a win/win situation for them. They could have used it to their advantage- “Obama attempted to assault religious freedom and our collective political power and might was able to make sure that religious organizations no longer have to provide contraception.” They could have made this into a big win for the team.
But instead of seizing upon it, they instead shit the bed and decided to double down, and now we have near 70% of the country looking at the Republicans like they are some kind of freak show, with their leaders introducing the Blunt and Rubio amendments and their spiritual leaders calling all women who use contraceptives sluts and prostitutes and the base doubling down and following their lead. It’s bewildering to watch. If I were Frank Luntz or the other Republican strategists I would be pulling my hair out and trying to get them into a room listening to Kenny Rogers looped for 24 hours.
I’m not sure what is motivating this insanity. Part of it, of course, is the fact that they just hate you. Part of it is they are just opposed to anything liberals support. Part of it is that they are beholden to religious nuts. Part of it is an attempt to simply gut ACA. And I’m sure part of it is that they are so in their own bubble that they honestly don’t believe anything but their own bullshit.
Regardless, it is crazy, and at the same time, I am cheering them on. It’s like watching a movie where the villain is mortally wounded and defeated, yet as they lie there in a pile of their own blood and bile, they still attempt to reach for the gun just out of their reach, giving the good guys one more reason to finish them off for good.
Go for the gun. Make my fucking day.