Rex Sinquefield’s pet candidate for governor, Catherine Hanaway, fired off a volley in the GOP war on women Saturday. And PoliticMo’s report of the incident tells us lots about how this war is going to be fought:
There are 644 days until Election Day, 2016, but already, Democrats in Missouri are hoping to define a Republican candidate for governor as the next Todd Akin, the former Republican U.S. Senate candidate who earned national infamy for his comments about “legitimate rape.”
What PoliticMO is talking about are Hanaway’s remarks at a conservative Educational Policy Conference in St. Louis last Saturday. And no, Democrats aren’t “hoping” to pass off innocent bon mots as Akin-like, as PoliticMO implies, since Hanaway’s speech could have been given by the Toddster himself. She donned the Akin crazy hat all by herself of her own free will and now she gets to wear it without any overt Democratic help – which doesn’t mean that we can’t laugh ourselves silly at the spectacle.
Hanaway’s target: Female sexual liberation which she blames for out of wedlock-births, poverty and a host of problems such as pedophilia and pornography (which she unequivocally defines as a problem). Hanaway, like Todd Akin, condescends to women whose sexuality she implies must be officially controlled for the good of women themselves not to mention society as a whole:
So, the liberals want to talk about conservatives waging a war on women,” said Hannaway, who is running in next year’s race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. “But, think about what they’re talking about. When their chief criticism of conservatives, the chief criticism is that we stand up for the sanctity of life. That because we are pro-life we are somehow against women. I am here to say that their culture of permissiveness towards sexual activity is the real war on women. Let’s start with the notion, well it’s not a notion, it’s a fact, that the fact that the culture of sexual permissiveness has led to record levels of out of wedlock births.”
“And what has that done for women? It has impoverished women,” Hanaway continued. “It has reduced their access to educational opportunities. It has impoverished and endangered their children. It has forced those children to grow up in households where their mothers have to work, to make it economically viable for them to exist and with no fathers. How is that culture good for women and children?”
Hanaway proceeded to charge that this “liberal framework,” by affirming “every sexual preference,” fosters pedophilia and child porn.
Remember Akin defending his anti-abortion fanaticism with remarks to the effects that he was fighting against “ideas that leave people in bondage, in slavery, in poverty,” or identifying liberalism as one of the greatest threats to America’s prosperity. Isn’t Hanaway here defending the “sanctity” of fetal life in terms almost identical to those used by Todd Akin and other devotees of dim-wittery. Remember nutty Cynthia Davis, a close acolyte and admirer of the Toddster, who defended his legitimate rape gaffe, characterizing GOP calls for him to drop oout of his Senate race as “bullying”? Her oft-expressed views on the topic of marriage and poverty:
… Despite Herculean efforts and massive expenditures, the majority of citizens still end up trapped in low-income, marriage-absent lifestyles. Never before have we had more consequences of marriage-absence such as crime, violence, poverty, and lack of upward mobility. Taxpayers are weary of taxes. Now Missouri’s social expenditures are the largest line-item in the budget – 50% more than what we spend on education.
Admittedly it’s one of the standard articles of conservative dogma that poverty is the result of out-of-wedblock births and single-parent families rather than the complex of economic and social policy issues that also seem to figure into the equation. And there is actually evidence of a linkage although it’s not as simple a linkage as conservatives wish it were – poverty is a complex subject and when it comes to the role of out-of-wedlock births, it’s the old chicken vs. egg question all over again, along with the addition of lots of other variables that the conservative fixation on marriage ignores.
One can understand, though, why Hanaway chose this particular chestnut to respond to the GOP war on women meme. She’s got a base to placate. Rightwingers like to blame the victim – and since 70% of out-of wedlock births occur in African-American communities, it is especially appealing to elderly, white Republicans – the current GOP base – to blame “those” particular victims. It’s the GOP way, right? Hanaway has evidently decided that if she wants to get elected, she has to serve up what her public wants. As Michael Tomasky observes in an article on the simple-minded positions advocataed by members of what he terms “still the party of stupid”:
… Let me put it this way. The greatest cardiologist in the world could move to town. But if everybody wants to eat chili-cheese fries all day and nobody wants to have bypass surgery, there’s still going to be a lot of heart disease.
In other words, the GOP is nowhere without the angry dim bulbs of its base. But still, isn’t blaming pedophilia on female sexual autonomy going just a little too far – no matter how many Pavlovian drool-puddles its mention might elicit? Pedophilia is a classic sexual disorder that has been around a lot longer than the pill and the sexual revolution it initiated. For that matter, pornography, poverty, and prostitution, including child prostitution, were flourishing in Victorian England where rigid mores and female subjugation of the sort Hanaway seems to be advocating were officially enforced.
The worst part of Hanaway’s diatribe is the hypocrisy. It’s galling to hear the representative of a party that opposes making birth-control easily accessible, and who visited us with the expensive failure known as abstinence-only sex education, regurgitating poorly digested and mostly fantastical talking points about the relationship between liberalism, liberated women, illegitimacy, and poverty, while pretending to be advocating for women’s welfare. It’s not just chili-cheese fries, it’s chili-cheese fries gone seriously rancid. At the very least, given her million dollar price-tag, Sinquefield might have procured a better quality meal.