Urban legends: They’re the lifeblood of right wing nuttery. Liberals crunch facts and figures, demonstrate inequalities and propose policy solutions rooted in core values such as believing that nations as wealthy as ours shouldn’t have the streets clogged with orphans begging for food. Conservatives talk about how they heard somewhere that someone did something they don’t approve of, such as make an irresponsible decision or get a benefit/salary that someone with that skin color/gender/family background somehow doesn’t deserve. These stories can be conversation stoppers, because they both have questionable veracity and they smuggle in a bunch of assumptions that liberals don’t agree with. So how do you handle it when presented with a wingnut urban legend?
Well, I have a three-pronged approach I’d like to share with you. These are offered not in the order they should be used—often you only need one of these approaches, or you need to bring in two or all three, but not in the same order. These are more questions you ask yourself to get you to place to argue this crap down.
Today’s tale is from Haley Barbour.
While most of the people involved in right wing attack on contraception are sticking to the talking points (claiming it’s “fiscal conservatism” and conflating contraception/cancer screening/STD testing at Planned Parenthood with abortion), the excitement of finally having a shot at parting some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in the country from reproductive health care is getting a few Republicans a little bit excited. And the cat is coming out of the bag.
So, while going through Salon’s coverage of CPAC, the theme I really detected this year was gut-punching, overt racism. One of the most astounding examples—besides everything that falls out of Andrew Breitbart’s mouth—is one of the groups that manned a booth at CPAC, Youth for Western Civilization. And by “Western civilization”, what they mean is “people who are currently considered white people in modern America”. I know this, because his group vociferously opposes immigration, especially when it comes to people from South and Central America, and definitely from Mexico—if you’re speaking Spanish, they’re against it. Going to their blog confirms this; most of it is ranting about the evils of immigration reform that would make life easier on mostly-Hispanic immigrants who’ve come here illegally.
HR3, misleadingly named the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, is a perfect storm of everything that’s nasty about the modern, hyper-conservative Republican party. It’s dishonest, since women who have federal health insurance are already banned from using that money for abortion care. This bill is actually an attempt toshut down abortion coverage through all private insurance, including employer-provided insurance, which means that it’s beyond even the dreadful Stupak-Pitts amendment/executive order. Some “small government”. As Rachel Maddow documented, this bill is just the most egregious example of how the GOP basically hoodwinked the voters. They ran on “creating jobs”, which they clearly have no intention of doing, since they’re going to be too busy looking for ways to put the screws to everyone they hate, a long list that includes poor people, people who read a lot, gays, and basically all women, but especially the most vulnerable in our society.
Which is why they rushed out this bill, which I’d call the “Economic Crisis Is A Good Time To Rain Hell On American Women In Need Act”. In fact, John Boehner called this bill a “top priority”. We have 10% unemployment, but making sure that abortions are only a privilege for those who can pay out of pocket on a moment’s notice is the GOP’s top priority.