Nel's New Day

November 12, 2011

Conservatives Continue War on Women

What do conservatives have against women? I don’t know, but I do know how they oppose considering us as equal human beings. Let’s start with Herman Cain. He seems determined to protect himself against allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse while blaming everyone else—the liberal media, Rick Perry (who blamed Mitt Romney), the Democratic machine, some mythical network, the women themselves, … Who’s next?! Some of these aren’t even allegations: the National Restaurant Association settled the statements against its CEO, Cain, thus admitting the accusations.

Cain always declares that he’s joking when he’s being offensive, for example, his comment at a campaign stop in Kalamazoo (MI). When someone mentioned Anita Hill, the woman who was pilloried for accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, to Cain, he responded, “Is she going to endorse me?” Not a horrible statement but certainly not appropriate, especially in light of statements from different women against Cain during the last two weeks. And an indication that he doesn’t believe in fair treatment of women.

As always, Rush Limbaugh manages to be the most offensive media representative. Consider his unbelievable statements about the women who have spoken out against Cain, for example slurping when he pronounced Sharon Bialek’s last name and repeating “buy-a-lick.” Limbaugh’s not alone in his offensiveness, however. On Fox News, Dick Morris asked when a Playboy spread would come. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser was openly unprofessional, accusing Bialek of having “flirted like a tart” with Cain and declaring that “the gold rush is on” despite no evidence of her receiving money for coming forward. The Cain campaign trashed Bialek’s financial history, claiming that this proves that she’s lying.

Karen Kraushaar, the woman who was awarded money in her settlement after Cain’s sexual harassment, was treated in an equally shameful fashion. A pro-Cain website declared her an “ugly bitch,” and she has been criticized for having filed another, unrelated workplace complaint years later. When she asked for a joint press conference with other accusers, Limbaugh dived in again with his question, “Do they want to synchronize their menstrual periods? Why appear together?” He has a solution for women who are sexually harassed or abused: “You women, why don’t you just make it official and put on a burka and nobody will touch ya.”

Twenty years ago, Thomas declared himself the victim of media smears, and Cain is following his script. Yet the women end up suffering for coming forward, as shown two decades ago in the cruelly false responses to Hill’s openness about Thomas’ transgressions. Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, knows that all he has to do to win his case is to spread slime over any woman who complains about Cain’s actions because most women cannot cope with this disgusting treatment.

Yet conservatives, supposedly the defenders of the country’s moral values, approve of Cain no matter what he might have done. Judson Phillips, perhaps one of the most extreme Tea Party leaders, writes: “Let’s assume for the moment, all of the allegations are true. Let’s assume for the moment Herman Cain, back well over a decade ago, made some inappropriate comments to some women who were coworkers and let’s say just for the sake of argument that he even propositioned one of those women as the New York Times claims. Does that affect my favorable attitude towards Herman Cain? No, it does not.”

Another example of the conservatives’ war on women comes from the far-right Family Research Council. Its pro-family 100% “True Blue” rating award went this year to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), sometimes called “the deadbeat dad.” His consistent votes “to defend faith, family and freedom” have an inverse relationship with his personal actions. Walsh failed his first family by refusing to pay child support—over $100,000 as of last summer—and his second wife by rejecting the Congressional health insurance plan, despite her on-going bad health issues. Recently, a judge rebuked Walsh for his failure to even show up at a court hearing about the missing child support payments.

Despite the promise from the House of Representatives to find jobs for people and grow the economy, the conservatives there are spending their time—after protecting “In God We Trust”–ratcheting up its war on women. After Mississippi (one of the most conservative states in the union) failed to pass the infamous “personhood” initiative, a gaggle of Republican lawmakers introduced three separate bills extending “personhood” rights to fertilized eggs.

Sixty-three House Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed onto Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which uses the Mississippi personhood language. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) cosponsored Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) personhood bill, which would allow “the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” Note that the Bachmann/Hunter bill doesn’t “require” prosecution,” which perhaps was the reason it has even more supporters, 91 to be specific.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) plans to introduce a bill again identical to the Mississippi personhood bill that would have amended the state’s Constitution so that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”  If any similar bill ever passes, one wonders if its passage would affect such laws as the number of “people” (including fertilized eggs) who could be in an elevator or on a bus at one time.

It is encouraging to note that Cain has lost support among women, down to 15 percent, since late October when he had 28 percent of their support. Conservatives are also bailing out, from 30 percent to 23 percent, and Tea Partiers have gone from 32 percent to 19 percent. Meanwhile as Cain’s support shrinks, Newt Gingrich’s support is growing. His multiple marriages and reasons for divorce illustrate his personal war on women.


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