Thursday, February 23, 2012

Religion: The Heart of the Debate?

As religion overtakes the presidential race on the Republican side, it threatens the national debate as we move closer to November. How long Barack Obama can avoid the furor is anybody's guess. For now, we'll have to put up with the wild accusations from Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. Ron Paul doesn't seem to roll that way. Libertarianism has enough to distinguish itself without going all "Jesus is my savior" on us.

When the Republicans find out you've had five husbands, man, are you in trouble.

Guiding question for our discussion: Did the universe begin approximately 15 billion years ago for the express purpose of culminating in the one glorious birth of an individual named Jesus in Galilee 2000 years ago, one we should regard as saving the human race and to be followed and praised for all eternity?

Nice story, but, uh, no.

As Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich mud-wrestle to show who's more committed to Christ than the other -- Isn't it odd that most of the discussion is not about saving mankind but about whether women should have sex without being required to bear a child? -- the Republican Party reverts from a group of white men who are obsessed with lowering taxes on the wealthy into a group of white men obsessed with girly parts and what not to do with them.

Yeah, uh, can't wait till these guys get in charge. And I'm a white man. Imagine how the women feel. The Republicans are disinterested in researching that. Just ask Darrell Issa.

Darrell Issa's panel of experts on women's issues.

By the way, here's the woman Darrell Issa silenced at his hearing on contraception:

No wonder they silenced her.

Curiously though, what's the math here? Cede the women's vote, the black vote, the Latino vote, the LBGT vote, the youth vote, the Northeastern vote, the West Coast vote to the Democrats, while the Republicans go after, uh, who's left? Oh yeah, Southern white Christians and as many freaked out seniors as they can muster. That's a strategy to rely on.

Karl Rove must be soiling himself. But I digress.

Verbal rundown:

Mitt Romney--"Unfortunately, possibly because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda – they have fought against religion."

Translation: Men ought to control what women do with their icky parts.

Rick Santorum--"The president has reached a new low in this country’s history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before. And if he doesn’t want to call his imposition of his values a theology, that’s fine. But it is an imposition of his values over a church who has very clear theological reasons for opposing what the Obama administration is forcing on them.”

Translation: Men ought to control what women do with their icky parts.

Newt Gingrich--"Across the planet today, the forces of religious repression are on the march and this administration has intellectually disarmed. It has morally disarmed. It is incapable of describing what threatens us..."

Translation: I want to fundamentally, literally, transform the way men control women's icky parts, period.

Ron Paul--"I will use my constitutional authority as President to stop the enforcement of all regulations relating to ObamaCare, including the new HHS regulations forcing all employers, even religious or church-affiliated ones, to provide coverage for contraceptives and RU-486 as part of their health insurance plans."

Translation: I'm not that interested in women's icky parts. I just want women to pay for their own goddam pills. Oh, and no abortion.

James Carville must be going into convulsions. 1992: It's the economy, stupid. 2012: It's the uterus, stupid.

No, folks, it's the stupid, stupid.

"I don't know the question, but sex is definitely the answer."

Update. Mitt Romney's tack toward the far right side of the religion/contraception debate doesn't seem to be working:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have had the best performance on the debate stage in Arizona last night, but Thursday morning wasn't as great -- Romney dropped to 39 percent in Rasmussen's nightly tracking poll of a potential matchup between he and President Obama nationally. Obama got 49 percent, giving him a ten point lead. The Ras tracking numbers use 500 autodial interviews a night and average the results over three days.
  This turn in the debate is, unsurprisingly, doing badly among women:
Unfortunately for him [Romney], it seems he’s still suffered a precipitous drop in support among women voters.
Quinnipiac University released new numbers on Wednesday that showed a troubling trend for the former governor. In three months, he’d gone from a positive split on favorability with women (33 - 30) to a substantially negative one (30 - 45) in Quinnipiac’s numbers.
 Keep up the good work, guys. (Thanks, TPM)

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