American girls want everything in the world that you can possibly imagine

I thought Martha Raddatz did a great job in last night’s debate. But it is amazing to me, that even in a year when the War On Women has at times taken center stage, when we’ve heard endlessly about how “waitress moms” are the “last moving party” in the electorate, and when we’re beginning to be subjected to the inevitable “what do women want” columns…the reproductive rights question was STILL about whether or not two male candidates showed sufficient fealty to a group of a male Bishops (via):

In a mostly exemplary performance, this was a lapse. Martha Raddatz could have asked about the voting gender gap, or maybe whether we have a “war on women” or a “war on religious liberty.” She could have asked about access to contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancies, or the rights of rape victims, or the stalled Violence Against Women Act, or equal pay for women.

Instead, she chose to frame the late-breaking, much-yearned for question about “social issues” in just the way Republicans prefer: in terms of religion. (Watch the clip below.) Everyone at Salon’s debate-watching party groaned, and with good reason. Please, let’s hear more from two religiously observant white men about their personal experiences with women’s reproductive freedom and access! It’s not that religion, or men, have no place in the debate over abortion rights; it’s that her question left women out of the equation from the start.






63 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    She should have asked:

    What do women want?

    It worked for Chaucer in the Wife of Bath’s Tale and even Freud couldn’t figure out that dark continent.

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    I wouldn’t think it would be terribly difficult for most women to figure out which of the two major political parties is more likely to have their back. But that’s just my stupid Y chromosome talking.

  3. 3
    cckids says:

    Yes. I thought it was a missed opportunity for Biden. While I liked his response about keeping his faith personal & separate from governing, he should have directly said “I believe that the decision about keeping or ending a pregnancy belongs to the woman involved.” Period, end of story.

  4. 4
    The Red Pen says:

    I appreciated Joe Biden’s attempt to point out that Catholic morality covers way more than just abortion. Abortion and birth control have a measly 100 year history on the forefront of Catholic doctrine.

    If Raddatz had asked a broader question about “how faith informs you” Biden would have lopped off another one of Ryan’s limbs.

    Not that it matters… at this point, the USCCB might as well change the Nicene creed to read:

    We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.
    Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and tried to stop the weaker sex from getting abortions;
    The end.

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    Yeah, I gotta say that was when I started thinking that Martha Raddatz wasn’t as awesome as I had thought earlier in the evening.

    But I gotta hand it to Uncle Joe. He handled that about as beautifully as any white, Catholic male possibly could. And he was the only one among the three to even mention the women involved.

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Salon:

    It’s not that religion, or men, have no place in the debate over abortion rights; it’s that [Raddatz’s] question left women out of the equation from the start.

    Yep. But at least Joe put women back in it:

    I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.

    .

  7. 7
    shortstop says:

    It did not go unnoticed by American girls that we appeared nowhere in Ryan’s earnest assertion that he wants elected representatives, not unelected judges, to make the decisions about our reproductive health. Joe, on the other hand, noted that this decision is best left up to women.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    Also:

    Everyone at Salon’s debate-watching party groaned, and with good reason.

    From what I hear this is usually because Steve Kornacki rips a huge one.

    (OK, I’ll admit it: after last night I just don’t have the energy to be serious about politics. Maybe after lunch.)

  9. 9
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    The Flying Winger Monkeys are out in force in the M$M trying to spin Biden as crazy, strange, “like Al Gore walking up to Bush” and so on.

    IOW, they know that Biden spanked their Golden Boy so hard that they’re feeling their own asses smarting from it.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    @cckids:

    he should have directly said “I believe that the decision about keeping or ending a pregnancy belongs to the woman involved.

    I don’t have time to find it, but I’m pretty sure he said something almost identical to that. It might not have registered with you, but it did with me because I was so pissed by how the whole question was framed, without even mentioning the women. Only Joe talked about women. Maybe not a lot, but he did it.

    ETA: And I see J Gabriel has it at #6.

  11. 11
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    cckids:

    While I liked his response about keeping his faith personal & separate from governing, he should have directly said “I believe that the decision about keeping or ending a pregnancy belongs to the woman involved.” Period, end of story.

    Biden pretty much did do that. See above.

    .

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: TBOGG quotes Hindrocket handing the debate to Biden and adding that Palin was better against Biden in ’08.

    Ouch indeed.

  13. 13
    burnspbesq says:

    It’s pretty simple: whatever the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says it wants, do the opposite. The overwhelming majority of American Catholics figured that out a long time ago.

    The Bishops have political power only to the extent that ordinary people cede it to them. Don’t cede it to them if you don’t want them to have it.

  14. 14
    SatanicPanic says:

    It was a flawed question, but Joe handled it better than I thought anyone could. The choice belongs to women + my religion means I have to care for people.

  15. 15
    Shrillhouse says:

    I thought Raddatz was excellent overall, but, yeah the framing of the abortion question was weird.

    Biden answered the question honestly, and left no doubt about where he and Obama stand.

    Ryan, on the other hand misstated Romney’s position (remember, Romney said he would sign a “personhood” amendment, and also said he would like to see RoevWade overturned) and overlooked the fact that his own party’s platform is opposed to abortion in ALL instances, with NO exceptions.

  16. 16
    aimai says:

    I guess I wish that more time and attention had been given to the entire panoply of “women’s issues” including the Republican refusal to re-up the Violence Against Women act and Akin’s comments and the Vaginal Ultrasound probing issue. Why was that never mentioned? I would have liked Raddatz to asked Ryan to defend the proposition as a libertarian that a woman’s right to self determination stops at the point of a man’s dick [changed to get out of moderation not for alliteration] drip.

    aimai

  17. 17
    schrodinger's cat says:

    DougJ@top
    Did you read Bobo’s take on the debate. His fees fees are hurt because Biden was mean to his golden boy.

  18. 18
    shortstop says:

    I was telling me old man last night that as sick as I am of having this discussion (it’s been going on for my entire adult life), there is in fact no argument, no coding, no shading, no spin on abortion that we haven’t heard a million times before.

    It’s not like when the R/R ticket decided not to discuss specifics of their tax plan and we all went, “Oh, okay, you won’t tell us because it might impede later BIPARTISANSHIP. That’s a ballsy one,” to give just one example of hilarious spin manufactured just for this election cycle. There is literally no slogan, plea or warning from either side of the abortion issue that we don’t already know, and we can spot what’s not being said — that means what Ryan didn’t say last night — without even trying. Parsing every other policy position should be this easy.

  19. 19
    Culture of Truth says:

    Washington Post:

    Vice Presidential Debate: Biden’s Smirk Causes Mixed Reactions

  20. 20
    cckids says:

    @geg6: You are right. I guess I was so irritated as well by Ryan’s “my faith inspires all I do” bullshit. It was too late in the debate to get into it, but I’d have loved to have Joe bring up the Nuns on the Bus, or the Bishop’s letter smacking down Ryan’s budget cruelty. Also, if you run your government life according to your faith, does that mean that Romney will run the government according to the Book of Mormon? Cause that could get kind of weird for most of us.

  21. 21
    Culture of Truth says:

    I liked it when Paul Ryan referred to Catholicism as “our religion”

  22. 22
    Yutsano says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Oh good. Sweet sweet Bobo tears are part of a nutritious breakfast after all.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    @Yutsano: Empty calories, mi amigo, empty calories.

  24. 24
    Laura says:

    I can’t wait for the day when a candidate can just go up there and say, “I have no religion bitches. I don’t need a book to tell me to help the poor and protect people.” mic drop

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    @Laura: That is something I know I will never see in my lifetime (which will possibly end considerably before yours does). And it gives me a sad.

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    @Laura:

    Seriously. Sadly, I don’t expect to live long enough to see it.

  27. 27
    Laura says:

    @geg6: Well I’m 26, and considering no one I know in my peer group is religious, I still have a glimmer of hope.

  28. 28
    Culture of Truth says:

    Remember when gay marriage was going to ruin America? Good times.

  29. 29
    The Red Pen says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    The Flying Winger Monkeys are out in force in the M$M trying to spin Biden as crazy, strange

    As I noted in another comment thread, I have already had someone cite the number of times that Biden interrupted or was rude. I responded substantively, but from here on, I will simply mime pearl-clutching and pretend to faint from shock.

  30. 30
    Culture of Truth says:

    Why did Ryan keep interrupting Joe Biden??

  31. 31
    shortstop says:

    @Laura: We pass the torch to you, dear girl.

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Remember when gay marriage was going to ruin America Canada? Good times.

    Last time I checked even with Harper running the show they’re not doing too shabby.

  33. 33
    slag says:

    @JGabriel: Agreed. It was brief (ironic given that this question was supposed to be all about women), but Joe did put the woman back into the equation.

    I gave a sigh of relief when Joe mentioned women, because I knew that, if he hadn’t, Kay would have been all up in his grill. Which is exactly what makes Kay so invaluable. Maybe she should have moderated the debate.

  34. 34
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Laura Ingraham tweeted that “The old guy is winning”. Rove tweeted that he missed Lehrer.

    Owie. :)

    @The Red Pen:

    Offer them a couch.

    @Culture of Truth:

    Gay Marriage killed me last night. Several times actually. Our daughter added “Gay Marriage!” as a random name for bots on our TF2 game server.

    That’s OK, I dominated Gay Marriage! more than a few times too. :)

  35. 35
    elmo says:

    @The Red Pen:

    Well, rudeness in a serious public forum such as this really does show you all you need to know about the party behind it. I mean, remember when Joe Biden, as a Member of Congress, interrupted Bush’s State of the Union speech to scream “You lie!”

    At least the Republicans respect the tradition of civilility.

  36. 36
    Jay C says:

    Best comment about the debate from a thread at the GOS:

    If the Republicans didn’t want Joe Biden to laugh, they shouldn’t have sent up a clown to debate him.

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    Please, let’s hear more from two religiously observant white men about their personal experiences with women’s reproductive freedom and access! It’s not that religion, or men, have no place in the debate over abortion rights; it’s that her question left women out of the equation from the start.

    I’m not sure of the point here. Should the debate moderator had the candidate’s wives pinch hit and answer this particular question?

    The male VP candidates were proxies for the (also male) presidential candidates, and for their political parties, with respect to the question of abortion.

    @aimai:

    I guess I wish that more time and attention had been given to the entire panoply of “women’s issues” including the Republican refusal to re-up the Violence Against Women act and Akin’s comments and the Vaginal Ultrasound probing issue. Why was that never mentioned? I would have liked Raddatz to asked Ryan to defend the proposition as a libertarian that a woman’s right to self determination stops at the point of a man’s dick [changed to get out of moderation not for alliteration] drip.

    Shorter: “Mr Ryan, Ayn Rand was pro choice. Why aren’t you?”

  38. 38
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I always like Martha Raddatz. Haven’t seen her in a while because I’ve more or less given up on ABC as a news outfit (“Here’s an economic debate between Paul Krugman and Mary Matalin!”, but wrt abortion and “women’s issues” I wonder if she wasn’t in the same kind of bind Obama is as the Black Candidate.

    and for sheer hilarity, check out Tbogg for Luke Russert’s take on how Ryan brought facts, Biden brought emotion. Lukey and Ryan are in no small measure cut from the same cloth, a spoiled princeling who thinks he made on guts, grit and brains.

  39. 39
    Svensker says:

    I don’t get the Raddatz love. She did keep control of the debate better than Lehrer but, seriously, “is Iran the biggest threat to the world or the biggest biggest threat”? “What do you bring as a man to the world stage that no one else does”?

    I did like the “how does religion inform your view of abortion” question because that is the way the country is being forced to confront the issue. Given that, Biden’s answer was the right one and Ryan’s answer is why Repubs are so wrong (well, that and the insanity).

  40. 40
    Interrobang says:

    Whoever wrote Gawain and the Green Knight way back in the 1300s, knew how to answer the question “What do women want?”, for pity’s sake, which is “Ask them, one at a time.” It’s not hard, folks, except maybe for the pesky detail of remembering that women are people too.

  41. 41
    mo says:

    To all those complaining about Biden’s “woman and her doctor” response: You’re making me feel old. That formulation comes from the fight to make abortion a safe and legal procedure. Women have always had access to self-induced abortions or dangerous back alley hack jobs. What Biden is talking about is access to abortions done safely by actual doctors in medical facilities.

    Mentioning the doctor sounds weird, but makes a very important point.

  42. 42
    YellowJournalism says:

    @mo: It’s also an important point to make against the unnecessary vaginal probes and other tests ordered by lawmakers and not a woman’s doctor.

  43. 43
    batgirl says:

    @cckids:

    “I believe that the decision about keeping or ending a pregnancy belongs to the woman involved.”

    I totally agree. That would have been a devastating response to Ryan’s elected officials should decide whether a woman can have an abortion, not unelected judges.

  44. 44
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Svensker:

    I don’t either. I knew Lehrer would blow because he’s massively sucked at this in the past. Raddatz is simply the least crappy of the lot.

    That’s how far our journalism standards have fallen in the last 40 years.

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    Gimme half your money. Gimme half your cars.

    Can’t believe I’m the first to say that.

    Also too, I’m not much for channeling AL but Charlie Pierce really rawks today on last night’s old man kicks snot-nosed brat’s ass-fest.

  46. 46
    eemom says:

    @Svensker:

    I agree, and Mr. Pierce is splendiforous on that topic as well.

  47. 47
    DougJ says:

    @eemom:

    Thanks for getting it.

  48. 48
    kathy a. says:

    i liked how that question was framed — it got to the candidates’ political views on abortion and women’s health (permitting biden to bring in contraception as well), and it invited biden’s reference to the need to separate church and state. plus — biden talked about the social values of the church being much broader than abortion.

    this really is an issue on which the difference between the parties (and these candidates) is stark. ryan himself had to choke out the exceptions for rape and incest, because if party policy was up to him, those exceptions would not exist. and excuse me, but the religious freedom of employers to say “no” to covering contraception? that is not real popular; it illustrates well the concept of shoving one’s own religion down another’s throat (the reason we separate church and state politically).

  49. 49
    Phoebe says:

    You don’t get it.

    She framed it that way so Biden could clobber Ryan on the topic in the most deferential-to-religion framing possible. She hates the GOP. Hates. This was a favor to our godless bean-icidal asses. Don’t complain about shit that doesn’t matter, you know, the box that the cake came in. Besides, if it matters to a lot of morons, it matters. Let them have their stupid cake box.

  50. 50
    TG Chicago says:

    @geg6:

    Yeah, I gotta say that was when I started thinking that Martha Raddatz wasn’t as awesome as I had thought earlier in the evening.

    Especially since her next two questions were even worse. At least this was a legit issue, even though she framed it poorly.

    Anyway, my guess for why she used a male-centered framing is that she may have felt that a woman using female-centered framing would come off too womany or something. That’s ridiculous, of course, but I could see wingnuts complaining about a woman moderator asking her silly woman questions.

  51. 51
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @shortstop: Like 1/3 of young Americans have no religion. Maybe in 20 years we’ll see someone prominent say that?

    The sad truth is that plenty of adherents to organized religion are just the same way but have been conditioned to either revere the bible or just not rattle members of other sects/denominations.

    I saw that UU video you posted, raven. I’m glad they’re finally doing outreach. UUs, SoF’s and other either liberal or social-justice oriented denoms have been getting beat up all over the place by RW sects who want to impose their values on everyone in the name of religious freedom.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @batgirl:

    I totally agree. That would have been a devastating response to Ryan’s elected officials should decide whether a woman can have an abortion, not unelected judges.

    Which is, you know, what Biden said:

    I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.

    I’m guessing that people were so incandescent with rage at Ryan’s response that they missed that little tidbit from Biden, but that was his actual comeback.

    I also loved that, since it was all posed as a religious question, Biden pointed out that there are Jewish and Muslim and assorted other non-Catholic Americans who should be allowed to obey their own consciences and not have to obey his religion.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    UUs, SoF’s and other either liberal or social-justice oriented denoms have been getting beat up all over the place by RW sects who want to impose their values on everyone in the name of religious freedom.

    It’s tough for them, though, because they get blocked from public view by the media. Remember the ad that the United Church of Christ (UCC) did a few years ago where they said they were a welcoming church and Jesus didn’t use a velvet rope to block people from joining him? You probably don’t, because no network would take their money to run the ad and it ended up being internet only.

  54. 54
    artem1s says:

    @Interrobang:

    “Ask them, one at a time.” It’s not hard, folks, except maybe for the pesky detail of remembering that women are people too.

    and there you have it. the major difference between the two camps. one believes that all the members are people and have choices, the other…only a select few get to be the deciders and know what is the best.

  55. 55
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @TG Chicago: Hm, I disagree. It was more of what we call a softball, and Biden hit it out of the park.

    Arguably Ryan’s biggest gaffe last night was in response to Raddatz’ questions about abortion.

    Although I thought Lyin’ Ryan screaming about seasons after Biden pantsed him on his fighting season remarks was pretty damn embarrassing.

  56. 56
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, yeah I do remember that. They were, and not at all obliquely, standing up for GLBT people, so down the memory hole it went.

    The funny thing is, UCC is not exactly a super-lefty church but they have been leaders on same sex marriage (of course there’s the MCC, but I’m pretty sure we founded that), and the big game is to pretend they–and other Christian groups like them–don’t exist.

    I say Christian because the Reichwing doesn’t give a shit about what non-Christians think. Liberal Jewish congregations were performing same-sex marriage ceremonies years before.

  57. 57
    shortstop says:

    @DougJ: You’re not under the impression that we don’t get it if we don’t comment all the time, especially on the obvious ones?

  58. 58
    shortstop says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I have to admit I really underestimated the time it’s going to take for non-religion, non-faith, atheism or any combo thereof to get publicly destinkified. I grew up around people who just didn’t care about that stuff–I mean, care what other people were up to in terms of religion. Also, I was pretty young when the evangelicals rose up again in the Reagan years, and I believed the grownups who told me that it couldn’t last. Ah, I’m laughing heartily now just thinking of it.

    I was raised UU, but it’s too organized and formal for me now. ;)

  59. 59
    Metrosexual Manichean Monster DougJ says:

    @shortstop:

    Yes, that is right.

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @Metrosexual Manichean Monster DougJ: Heh, you’re high-maintenance. Okay, then, make them more challenging. Since we’re overgrown toddlers, we get bored and fussy really fast.

  61. 61
    Opie_jeanne says:

    @Interrobang: it’s simple: we want our own way.

  62. 62
    Metrosexual Manichean Monster DougJ says:

    @shortstop:

    Heh, you’re high-maintenance.

    Yes, I know.

  63. 63
    Mo MacArbie says:

    @Phoebe

    Late, but this was so awesome I had to google “Let them have their stupid cake box” to see where it was from. It’s from here.

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