As Michael Bersin pointed out earlier today, Claire McCaskill can get to the heart of the matter when it’s necessary. She made it clear that the problem with Rep. Mike Moon’s (R-157) legislative resolution “calling for the Missouri Congressional delegation to “endeavor with ‘manly firmness’ and resolve to totally and completely repeal” and not replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act” isn’t the reflexively sexist language that he used. The problem is his cheering for “kicking folks off their health coverage and once again letting insurance companies discriminate against women and sick people.” It’s his meanness plain and simple that got McCaskill riled up.
The sexist language is just par for the course. This is the same Rep. Moon who last year advocated closing down the last clinic in Missouri where women could exercise their choice to procure an abortion. His idea of humor includes this tweet: “#FailedCharities The Sandra Fluke Recycled Contraceptive Program” – not surprising since he is endorsed by Missouri Right to Life (MRL), an endorsement that carries with it, according to MRL, an assurance that the candidate supports the such extreme positions as banning abortion with, ideally, no exceptions for rape or incest; banning emergency contraception, birth control pills, and IUDs; along with support for “personhood” amendments. These bozos even oppose membership in the Girl Scouts because they “they link to the “pro-abortion World Health Organization” on their website.”
Rep Moon, however, seems to be somewhat bewildered by the attention Senator McCaskill’s response has focused on his effort to pander to that especially tribal segment of the Republican base that gets upset whenever anyone suggests that our government has an obligation to work for the well-being of all its citizens. Not only does he think the issue is just language, but he also seems to be bewildered by the way language works:
“It is just like going to war,” Moon said. “You want a soldier to fight like a man. If a woman is in the trenches, you want them to fight like a man, too.”
Because the measure of bravery is manliness, right? But Rep. Moon wasn’t through, though, ramming his foot down his throat:
Moon said he does not believe that being a male makes him a better lawmaker than his female colleagues. “I know there are some women who are much smarter than I am and I tip my hat to them.”
Well, I’m glad to know that Rep Moon knows “some” smart women – not to mention that he’s now tipped his hat to them. Isn’t this line of reasoning similar to the “friends” fallacy. You know: “I’m not a racist, some of my best friends are black,” I’m not homophobic, I know some gay people,” or “I’m not a murderer, I know lots of living people”?
But of course, the real offence isn’t that Rep. Moon is the foot-soldier in the GOP War on Women he has already revealed himself to be by his actual legislative agenda, but that that agenda, as Senator McCaskill correctly points out, is just plain mean, and, worse, mean for no practical reason. In Moon’s mind the real message he was trying to send was that members of his own party who are calling for Obamacare to be replaced are weak (and, yes, he does seem to think that equates to femininity); he wants to make it clear that the real problem with Obamacare isn’t in how it does what it does, but rather that it does anything at all. Moon wants government totally out of healthcare, he clearly believes it has no role to play in the well-being of its citizens. In his own words:
… . “It was not meant to downplay their womanhood at all. We just want them to know, every man and lady who is representing us, that we are demanding, as citizens of Missouri, that Obamacare be repealed and make it clear we don’t want a replacement.”
And the folks who can’t afford to provide their own healthcare can just die. This isn’t just misogyny, it’s misanthropy. It’s so mean the mind boggles. We can do lots better in the United States. McCaskill was right to aim her metaphorical kick at his metaphorical backside. Good on you, Claire.
*Slightly edited for clarity.