Supersized Chart of Republican Rape Gaffes Highlights Growing Influence of Religious Right in the GOP
"Incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare. But the rape thing, you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption and doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?" --Republican Congressional candidate John Koster (WA), 10/28/12
Now that candidate John Koster and Newt Gingrich have each so graciously pitched in, with just a few more of these cringeworthy Republican rape statements and there will be enough for a 4-column version of the Republican Rape Advisory Chart. But until then, the new 3-column chart will have to suffice (here's where the chart originated.)
Rape Tourettes now afflicts large swaths of the GOP, whose politicians apparently can't help themselves from blurting out jaw-droppingly insensitive statements, like Koster's, which is begging for savage parody (consider the song "Wild Thing", by Eric Burdon and The Animals...)
It's fair to say that just about every woman in America has herself been raped or knows someone who has been raped. That this is not foremost in the minds of leading members of today's GOP, as they continue to dig themselves in deeper by emitting yet more obtuse misogynistic verbal ejaculations, in clumsy attempts to tamp down the festering scandal, is telling.
On the upside, this is helping to surface a long-overdue national conversation, as victims of rape come out publicly and tell their stories.
Like a Rhode Island-sized iceberg breaking off Antarctica as the atmosphere warms, Republican sensibilities seem to have sheared off from the American mainstream:
Seminal rape gaffes from Republican candidates for Senate Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were hardly the beginning - from Rush Limbaugh's radio jihad against Sandra Fluke, in which he called the college student a "slut" for arguing that health care providers should cover birth control, to the early 2012 Republican-dominated all-male Congressional panel on birth control, the entire election year seems to have been a prolonged GOP insult to slightly over 1/2 of America - we don't care what you think (or feel.) Just shut up and get over it.
But thanks to the new, "improved" three-column Republican Rape Advisory Chart, that's unlikely to happen anytime soon (note - for readers who want access to text-based versions of the statements featured in the chart, see the Stephen Colbert-inspired website http://www.dayswithoutagoprapemention.com/.)
As a parting note, I'd add this - Republican politicians whose statements are featured in the Republican Rape Advisory Chart are not saying such things for political gain. They are honestly stating their views - on abortion, rape, birth control, and women's rights - which are overwhelmingly based in their religious beliefs.
A now well-entrenched narrative held widely on the American left and in the secular mainstream claims that foot soldiers of the religious right are cynically manipulated by non-religious string-pullers in the GOP, who promise to deliver on culture war issues but never do. But most of the politicians featured on the Republican Rape Advisory Chart are in the religious right. They are true believers.
While the left berates the Fox News-addled right for the factually-challenged nature of its political narratives, the left holds its own conveniently fact-free narrative, in which the religious right has not gobbled up the once-secular Republican Party, a party that once staunchly supported women's rights, including legalized abortion and even the Equal Rights Amendment.
However, What's the Matter With Kansas-style narratives, which claim Republicans manipulate the religious right and never deliver on culture war issues, cannot accommodate the uncomfortable fact that the takeover began decades ago:
In 1986, when the well-disciplined cadres of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition were taking over state-level Republican Party structures, a widely distributed memo from Pat Robertson to his troops read,
"How to Participate in a Political Party
Rule the world for God.
Give the impression that you are there to work for the party, not push an ideology.
Hide your strength.
Don't flaunt your Christianity.
Christians need to take leadership positions. Party officers control political parties and so it is very important that mature Christians have a majority of leadership positions, God willing."
By 2000, according to a survey sponsored and published in 2002 by Campaigns and Elections, the religious right had gained "strong" influence in 18 Republican state party structures and "moderate" influence in 26 others. As the last few years have demonstrated, that influence has only continued to grow.
Many pundits have been led astray by the rise of the Tea Party movement, and have come to believe that the Koch brothers-backed movement is secular. That is not true, according to a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, released in October 2010, which showed that over 80% of Tea Party members surveyed considered themselves Christian and 57% considered themselves part of the Christian conservative movement.
In short, there's a reason the 2012 Republican Party platform opposes legalized abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Republican Rape Tourettes Syndrome is only an outgrowth of that party position, which in turn reflects the now-almost complete dominance of the religious right over the political party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Teddy Roosevelt which once upon a time, but not really so long ago or far away, in the days of Barry Goldwater, supported a woman's right to choose.