Women and Mitt Romney
After the first presidential debate, there were a few polls that would have had you believe that in the blink of an eye, Mitt Romney had closed the gender gap: that women now supported him at the same rate as men.
Not every polls showed that, of course. And I found it difficult to believe. Because the gender gap between men's and women's support of Republicans in general, I believe, goes much deeper than a few slick words from Romney in a debate could smooth over.
The problem is we've listened to almost two years of relentless attack's on women's freedom, autonomy, and equality from every corner of the Republican Party: state legislatures, congressmen, presidential candidates, and the US Council of Catholic Bishops (let's face it — they are de facto part of the Republican party rather than representative of their flock as this article makes clear: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-religion-politicsbre89l...)
Today we learn that Richard Mourdock, the radical reactionary who defeated Indiana's long-time senator Dick Lugar in the Republican primary early this year by running far far far to his right, made the following statement yesterday during a debate with his Democratic opponent Joe Donnelly:
I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
Apparently, Mourdock's version of God, unlike most of ours', despises women as much as today's Republican Party does.
On Monday, Mourdock became the only U.S. Senate candidate that Mitt Romney personally cut an ad for. Romney has denounced the comment (one side of his mouth) but the ad continues to run (the other side of his mouth). As usual, Romney makes a nicey-nice statement he doesn't mean for wider public consumption, but continues to send signals to his base about what he really would pursue in office (I don't say "believes," because I have a hard time thinking that Romney believes in anything beyond his personal gain of wealth and power).
Mourdock's outrageous statement joins those made by his fellow U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri, as well as former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois (soon to be ex-congressman luckily) and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. All have expressed their contempt for women in extreme terms. (Akin's the one who said women can't get pregnant from rape because their bodies somehow shut it down).
Check out this "Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart" if you'd like to refresh your memory about the crazy and hateful statements high-ranking Republicans have made about women and rape:
Mitt Romney may not personally have made such comments, but these are the people he would represent from the White House. And you'd better believe he would do their bidding when it came to defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting off support for contraception, trying to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act, failing to enforce discrimination against women cases, and appointing Scalia clones to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe V. Wade. Whatever Romney personally believes — a complete mystery — it's no mystery who he's beholden to.
Anyone who thinks a Romney presidency wouldn't be a nightmare because he claimed in the debates he was all for women's rights needs to check out what he's said over the past six years when he's campaigning to the base whose support he really needs. It paints a totally different picture. There is no excuse whatsoever for any woman to vote for Mitt Romney.
Here's some responses to Mourdock's statement and his closeness to Mitt Romney.
Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action fund, released a statement that said,
Romney’s endorsement of Richard Murdock clearly shows that Mitt Romney is not the moderate social conservative he is trying to portray himself to be in the last few days before the election. Mitt Romney has made his stance clear from the beginning. During the 2007 primary debate, Mitt Romney said he would be “delighted” to sign a bill that banned all abortions. And he has said that he would appoint Supreme Court Justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade – which would of course take us back nearly 40 years.
(Actually, the GOP would like to set back women 100 years).
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in an email,
Mr. Mourdock’s comments about rape are appalling and reveal a complete lack of compassion for women. Gov. Romney endorses Mourdock and appears in TV ads on his behalf. Unless Romney takes back his endorsement, Ohio women voters will know that he embraces the same extreme anti-choice views of Mr. Mourdock. ... This is why elections matter to women. Ohio women voters may well decide who will be the president of the United States for the next four years; we have a special obligation to know where candidates stand on women’s fundamental rights, and vote accordingly.
Exactly. And we have a fundamental obligation not to vote for Mitt Romney.