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A Four-Letter Word Republicans Ought to Avoid

by Mojambo ( 4 Comments › )
Filed under Headlines at January 19th, 2013 - 8:48 am

The next Republican who ***** up by using the term rape needs to be tarred and feathered.

by Jim Geraghty

A Four-Letter Word Republicans Ought to Avoid

Kind of sad that this sort of advice has to be given, huh?

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — It’s way past time: House Republicans need to stop talking about rape.

That’s the message GOP lawmakers got here Wednesday evening from Kellyanne Conway, a top GOP pollster.

Conway dispensed the stern advice as part of a polling presentation she made alongside fellow GOP pollsters David Winston — an adviser to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and Dave Sackett. The comment was described by several sources in the room.

Conway said rape is a “four-letter word,” and Republicans simply need to stop talking about it in their races for office.

Several GOP candidates got themselves in hot water during the 2012 campaign by talking about rape. Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said a woman could terminate a pregnancy resulting from a “legitimate rape.” Richard Mourdock, who lost his race for a Senate seat in Indiana, said babies resulting from rape were a “gift from God.”

Sounds like there’s a lot of nervousness at that retreat in Williamsburg:

There’s growing angst among Republicans that the party’s House majority could be at risk in 2014 if the deep GOP divisions that emerged during the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations persist in looming negotiations over a slew of budgetary issues.

Even as Republican officials maintain the GOP majority is safe, several lawmakers and longtime activists warn of far-reaching political ramifications if voters perceive Republicans as botching consequential talks on the debt ceiling, sequestration and a possible government shutdown.

“Majorities are elected to do things, and if they become dysfunctional, the American people will change what the majority is,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a House deputy majority whip and a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, told The Hill.

Then again, that threat may be overstated, judging from the basic dynamics of the upcoming midterms:

Democrats are promising an all-out blitz to win the House in 2014. There’s just one lingering question: Which Republicans can really be unseated?

The problem: Republicans used the once-a-decade redistricting process to shore up many of their members, leaving Democrats with few ripe GOP targets. Only four Republican incumbents are in seats that tilt toward Democrats — a fraction of the 17 seats Democrats need to net in order to seize the majority.

In fact, there’s reason to believe that the 2014 playing field favors Republicans: There are 15 Democrats representing GOP-leaning districts, so Democrats will need to invest heavily just to maintain their current membership in the House. . . .

The nationwide congressional remap ensured that the GOP will benefit from a favorable playing field for the next decade. After the line-drawing ended, 109 Republican seats were safer, compared with 67 Democratic seats. In many cases, Republicans – who dominated the line-drawing process — succeeded in drawing safe seats for GOP members in rural, sparsely populated parts of the country while quarantining Democrats in urbanized, densely populated areas.

The results were apparent in the 2012 elections. The Cook Political Report has calculated that while House Republicans won just 49 percent of the popular vote, they managed to capture 54 percent of House seats. And despite losing the popular vote 51 percent to 47 percent, Mitt Romney won 227 congressional districts to Barack Obama’s 208.

And that’s not even getting into the lower turnout we usually see in midterm elections . . .

So What Should We Do After the Unthinkable Happens?

After yesterday’s Jolt item skeptical about the usefulness of the legislation pushed since the Newtown shootings, someone asked on Twitter what I would recommend in response to that abomination.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that any particular piece of legislation can prevent evil people from doing evil things, any more than we think a law banning the use of airliners as flying missiles by suicidal jihadist pilots could have prevented 9/11. Having said that . . .

We certainly feel we have a profile of the shooters in these awful massacres, don’t we? I described the inevitable description the day after Newtown: “Young men alienated from their peers and society at large. They don’t have many friends, they don’t have girlfriends, they feel denied some sort of recognition or appreciation they deserve. They respond to this with an emotion so far beyond the garden-variety frustration, depression, or anger that it’s hard to comprehend. Oftentimes they leave some sort of note or e-mail detailing their grievances against the world. They decide that they’re going to become famous and well-known in death in the way they never could achieve in life — and then a world that never seemed to care about their troubles or how they felt will spend a lot of time thinking about them.” I’d also throw in that we often later hear that they were diagnosed as having some sort of intense mental or emotional problems, and may have been on medication.

As I mentioned yesterday, aside from having some criminal record that bars them from owning a gun, the only way to get someone listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is for them to be ruled mentally ill or a danger to themselves or others by a judge.

The lesson of the Virginia Tech shooter and the Tucson shooter is that there is no point in reporting odd or threatening behavior to school or workplace authorities. (My suspicion is that fear of lawsuits prevents most non-governmental authorities from taking real action against individuals whose behavior suggests they could get violent. We see that even the U.S. military hesitated to take action against the Fort Hood shooter, despite the warning signs in that case.)

Don’t count on a university official, a company human-resources staffer, a therapist, or family members to be the one who makes sure a ticking time-bomb gets defused. The only way to get the ball rolling on this is with law enforcement. If you tell your local police department that somebody’s behaving in a vaguely or explicitly threatening manner, most police will have the good sense to check it out, just to be safe. Perhaps you’re making too much out of a guy having a bad day, or an eccentric personality. But in all too many of these cases, we hear people describing increasingly odd and menacing behavior, and wonder why no one intervened, or why all of these red flags could be ignored or explained away.

One other thing — you notice I rarely if ever name the shooters in cases like these. As mentioned above, I think one of the motives of these shooters — at least to the point we can ever understand the motives of people like this — is infamy, a certain fame, a certain sense of empowerment from knowing that everyone who ignored them or mocked them will suddenly care a great deal about what they thought and how they felt, even if it occurs after they’re dead or behind bars. So if everyone in the media would learn to stop writing extensive profiles of these mass murderers, looking at every detail of their pre-massacre lives as if there was something the whole public deserved to know (as opposed to say, criminologists) we would probably have less of them. I know the media doesn’t think they’re glamorizing and celebrating the killers in their coverage, but in the mindset of the deeply troubled, they are; they’re turning them into celebrities. And if there’s anything our modern society values, it’s being famous.

By the way, this is what legislating in haste gets you:

It appears someone forgot to exempt police officers from the ban of ammunition clips with more than 7 bullets in New York State’s new gun control law.

It’s a big oversight that apparently happened in the haste by the Cuomo Administration to get a tough package of gun-control measures signed into law.

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the sweeping gun measure, the nation’s toughest. It includes a ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines.

Specifically, magazines with more than 7 rounds will be illegal under the new law.

The problem as the statute is currently written does NOT exempt law enforcement officers.

The NYPD, the State Police and virtually every law enforcement agency in the state carry 9-milli-meter guns, which have a 15-round capacity.

Unless an exemption is added by the time the law takes effect in March, police would technically be in violation of the new gun measure.

Way to go, lawmakers.



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We're not easily offended and don't want people to think they have to walk on eggshells around here (like at another place that shall remain nameless) but of course, there is a limit to everything.

Play nice!

4 Responses to “A Four-Letter Word Republicans Ought to Avoid”
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  1. Speranza
    1 | January 19, 2013 8:52 am

    Why cannot Republican candidates see the traps laid for them with the “rape” questions?

  2. Speranza
    2 | January 19, 2013 9:18 am

    @ Speranza:

    Because they’re stupid.

  3. 3 | January 19, 2013 11:44 am

    Common sense should dictate that while a child conceived from rape is no less innocent than any other child, a woman who’s been subjected to such a violation of her body shouldn’t have to face that in such a visible way (pregnancy) day after day.

    And sure, there are cases where a woman, maybe more often a teen, claims rape to stop a husband or father from going after the father, so there needs to be some way to make sure a pregnancy isn’t from consensual sex. I can even go along with abortion during the first trimester or so for any reason. What I can’t back is taxpayer funding for abortions or birth control.

  4. darkwords
    4 | January 19, 2013 1:47 pm

    There are women who get raped who decide to keep the child and raise the child with love. Sometimes they still have to deal with the rapist on their own. There are women who would rather get an abortion. And not deal with the rape after that. It’s a choice. We should trust people to make those choices.

    Someone like an Akin who wants to define rape in this manner should be completely pro life then everywhere. And make his case for it. No war. No death penalty.

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