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PORTSIDE  November 2010, Week 1

PORTSIDE November 2010, Week 1

Subject:

No Anti-Choice Mandate, But Don't Worry, They'll Make One Up

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Date:

Wed, 3 Nov 2010 22:05:53 -0400

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text/plain (274 lines)

No Anti-Choice Mandate, But Don't Worry, They'll Make One Up 

By Jodi Jacobson 
November 3, 2010
RH Reality Check
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org


Yesterday's election did not, in my reading of polls,
votes and analyses, represent an anti-choice mandate,
an anti-health reform mandate, nor an anti-environment
mandate.  But don't worry, that won't stop anti-choice,
anti-health care, climate-change-denialist politicians
from "creating" said mandates both in their rhetoric
and in their actions.  And it won't stop groups with
huge sums of undisclosed corporate money from funding
campaigns on these issues to distract from the reality
of what is happening in the United States: increasing
inequality, eroding wages and quality of life, eroding
retirement security, and a mounting climate of hate.

In fact, I predict fights over these very issues will
take precedence in the next two years--despite the
sixties-like "listen to the people" refrain of the
Republican party leadership and Tea Party candidates on
this day after the election--especially if President
Obama and Harry Reid continue to govern as weak
conciliators rather than principled and articulate
fighters for a cause.

Exit polls, voting patterns and the fate of various
ballot initiatives underscore that there were two basic
issues driving the majority of voters. One was the
economy, and the other was dissatisfaction with the way
President Obama has been "handling things," which in
fact is not so much a repudiation of his policies per
se, in my opinion, but rather with the priority he
placed on specific issues over others, the long-time he
allowed things to fester in Congress without a clear
"ask" from the White House and without strong and
impassioned leadership to get those things done, and
without the transformational leadership he promised in
the 2008 campaign (as so eloquently laid out here by
Marshall Ganz [8]).  In terms of the President, it also
seemed lack of motivation and lack of feeling they were
heard drove many potential voters--younger voters to be
precise--not to vote.  The voters who showed up
yesterday were on average older and whiter than during
the 2008 election and more conservative.

As ThinkProgress notes in today's Progress Report [9]:

    Riding a wave of discontent, Republicans overtook
    the House of Representatives by great numbers, but
    foundered in the U.S. Senate, where the media
    spotlight on Tea Party candidates like Sharron
    Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado, and
    Christine O'Donnell in Delaware turned off voters.
    Newly ascendant Republicans are full of advice for
    where the country -- slowly recovering from the
    economic collapse caused by President Bush's
    deregulatory policies and tax cuts for the rich --
    should now go. "[T]here's a Tea Party tidal wave
    [10] and we're sending a message," senator-elect
    Rand Paul (R-KY) said, "that government cannot
    create prosperity." "Across the country right now,
    we are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a
    repudiation of big government [11], and a
    repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to
    the people," said a tearful presumptive Speaker of
    the House John Boehner (R-OH). "We hope President
    Obama will now respect the will of the people,
    change course [12] and commit to making the changes
    they are demanding."

What was the wave of discontent based on?  To borrow a
well-worn phrase from the Clinton-era: It's the
economy, stupid.  Not the health reform bill, not gay
marriage, not abortion.  It's not even "illegal
immigration" despite the best efforts of folks like
Sharron Angle to play to people's basest emotions in
inspiring fear of "others."  Instead, as polls show, it
is the fact of a bad economy and the fear it won't get
better that drove most voting patterns in most places.

CNN [13] and the Associated Press [14] both report on
polls that underscore these facts:

    The economy wasn't just the most important issue to
    voters this year -- with unemployment hovering
    around 9.6 percent, it was roughly twice as
    important to them as the other top issues of
    concern combined.

    Sixty-two percent of voters named the economy as
    their most important issue this year. Health care
    ranked a distant second, at 19 percent, with
    illegal immigration and Afghanistan trailing at 8
    and 7 percent.

That repudiation of health care reform was and is not
the issue the Republicans and Tea Party adherents are
making it out to be seems self-evident: Voters in only
two states--Arizona [15]and Oklahoma [16]--approved
ballot initiatives in which voters attempted to
prohibit mandated health insurance, but these are
largely symbolic as state law can not trump federal
law. Despite a close race between Democrat Michael
Bennett and Tea-Party/Republican Ken Buck, Colorado
voters defeated a state constitutional amendment that
would have banned requiring people to have insurance.
That initiative, Amendment 63, failed 53 to 47 percent.
It would have also blocked penalizing people who don't
enroll in insurance plans and protected patients'
rights to make direct payments to their health care
providers.  And Amendment 62 [17]--the initiative that
would have declared life beginning at conception and
conferred full rights of "personhood" on fertilized
eggs--failed miserably in a more than two to one
defeat.

Finally, a ballot initiative seeking to repeal
environmental regulations failed in California.

While clearly in some extremely conservative states so-
called social issues are the be-all- and-end-all
priorities for some in the far right wing, at a much
broader level it was the economy on one hand and the
deep disappointment of the progressive movement in
Obama and the Democrats on the other that drove the
outcome of this election. Economic fears drove older
and more conservative voters to the polls in a campaign
funded by anti-incumbent, anti-progressive campaigns
themselves fueled by undisclosed corporate money, and
the younger voters who propelled this Administration
into office on the basis of the transformational
promises made by Obama and the Democrats in 2008
largely stayed home because those promises were
abandoned right after Obama took the oath of office.

It seems to me right now that "listening to the people"
would translate to "focusing like a laser-beam," to
borrow another phrase, on the economy.  According to
the Progress Report, however, Congressman Eric Cantor
(R-VA), now poised to become the House Majority Leader,
said the election results are "a clear mandate [18] for
smaller government, less spending and new jobs" but
promised to try to repeal health care [19] reform
"right away because that's what the American people
want."

Not so much.

Neither do the "American people" want a Congress
focused on efforts to undermine women's reproductive
rights and health nor focusing on undermining the
rights of gay people. The polls don't support this, the
outcomes of ballot initiatives don't support it, the
concerns about the economy underscore the real
priorities.  People want to eat, pay their rent, send
their kids to school and save for retirement.  They
want to be able to fulfill their responsibilities and
enjoy their lives to the greatest extent possible.  But
there is so much corporate money involved fueling a
"let's keep the public distracted campaign" and so much
energy engaged in supporting this effort, it makes it
easier to slip through those tax cuts to the super-rich
and gut environmental regulations.

But here is my prediction:  We will see almost
immediately a range of efforts to focus on restricting
reproductive and sexual health and rights.  A House of
Representatives led by the Republicans and Tea Partiers
will give full reign to the likes of Congressmen Chris
Smith (R-NJ), Mike Pence (R-IN) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) to
constantly push for restrictions on women's rights in
U.S. international policy.  They will try to pass a law
codifying a global gag rule, try to reinforce and
strengthen abstinence-only until marriage funding in
U.S. global AIDS funding, and turn a blind eye to
efforts to pass heinous laws targeting homosexuals as
criminals in places like Uganda.

There will be grandstanding on and efforts to eliminate
the non-existent funding of abortion in health reform
and there will immediately be pressure not to include
contraceptive coverage as preventive care in the
regulations to be written by the Department of Health
and Human Services.  Senator-elect Rand Paul is
chomping at the bit to introduce legislation conferring
rights on fertilized eggs at the national level, and he
will have lots of support among the right-wing
contingent in the Senate and perhaps little push-back
from the relatively weak Democratic leadership that is
there now.  And much time will be spent trying to
repeal health reform, if not wholesale, than those
things such as mandated coverage for children with pre-
existing conditions that cause a health care executive
or two to take a few million less in compensation from
their stiil-exhorbitant profits and cry foul for
"business productivity."

These and other efforts, having nothing to do with the
election, but will nonetheless most likely be a large
part of the result.

. . . . . 1 comment Please login [20] or register [21]
to post and rate comments... Comments are rated by
readers on a scale from 1 to 5. Comments with a rating
of 2 or less are hidden. Click on hidden comments to
view them.

    * Election 2010 * anti-choice * personhood * pro-
    choice * Republican * Tea Party

Source URL (retrieved on Nov 3 2010 - 10:02pm):
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/11/03/antichoic
e-mandate-dont-worry-theyll-make

Links: [1]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/user/jodi-jacobson [2]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/category/election-20
10 [3]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/tag/anti-choice [4]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/tag/personhood [5]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/tag/prochoice [6]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/tag/republican [7]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/tag/party [8]
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-
oe-1103-ganz-obama-20101103,0,486277.story [9]
http://pr.thinkprogress.org/ [10]
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/us/politics/03kentuck
y.html [11]
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44593.html
[12]
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44621.html
[13]
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/03/election.pol
l.wrap/ [14]
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2010/11/03/politics-us-
exit-polls-glance_8070206.html?boxes=
Homepagebusinessnews [15]
http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/arizona [16]
http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/oklahoma [17]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/11/03/election-
2010-amendment-defeated-people-still-have-born-colorado
[18]
http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/112010/11032010
/585922 [19]
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20021573-503544.
html [20]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/user/login?destination=
print%2F14706#comments [21]
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/user/register?destination
=print%2F14706#comments

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