I also like this right-wing lunatic’s attempt to draw parallels between liberalism and Islam, when fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity have such similar contempt for gays and women and absolute intolerance for all other beliefs.
You almost have to admire the GOP’s courage in staking out a position that, if not exactly pro-rape, is not entirely anti-rape either. And emphatically not pro-rape victim. So far, I’ve counted three ways in which Republicans act as rape apologists:
1) De-legitimizing rape: In essence, Republicans believe that, come on, not all rapes are really rapes. That if it doesn’t involve a knife or a gun or physical force, well, it’s only rape in some abstract technical sense – it’s more like a date that just got a little out of control. It’s not only Todd Akin talking about “legitimate rape” as if there’s such a thing as fake rape, but most of the House Republican caucus, which tried to limit the rape exemption for abortion coverage to include only “forcible rape” last year.
(To their credit, the GOP has come up with an elegant way to eliminate this awkward rape caste system: Their 2012 platform calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions, with no rape exemption for anyone. So now all rapes are illegitimate. See also: Voting against the Franken bill to sever ties with contractors that force employees to settle on-the-job rape cases through an arbitrator.)
2) Minimizing the impact: This is similar to the first, but is more about the aftermath. Essentially, Republicans are claiming that rape victims rarely get pregnant. Again, you have Todd Akin’s now-famous claim that “legitimate rape” victims can “shut that whole thing down,” whatever that means. But you also have Rep. Steve King implying that statutory rape and incest victims (which I’m assuming Akins would not consider “legitimate rape”) don’t get pregnant either.
The funny thing about this line of argument is that it’s deployed as a justification for denying abortion exemptions to rape victims. But if they never get pregnant, why worry about the exemption at all? Oh right, because of all the abortion queens who will falsely cry rape just so they can have more abortions. Damn those abortion queens.
3) Accentuating the positive: This is the most perverse of all. You have Mike Huckabee going on about all the wonderful people who are the children of rape, and Missouri Republican Sharon Barnes saying, “if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.” I’m pretty sure most rape victims are not going to view their rape baby as an awesome parting gift, especially if they end up looking into the eyes of their rapist every day for 18 or more years.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter, since if they were legitimately raped, they wouldn’t be pregnant anyway, right?
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a fundamental difference between the way normal people and Republicans perceive rape. Normal people think of rape as a soul-shattering assault, while Republicans appear to think of it as unwanted and not-particularly-good sex. At most, they may view it as something like a punch in the face, where the victim is completely back to normal once they recover from the shock and the pain.
Frankly, the only way I can think of to make Republicans as anti-rape as the rest of us is for Obama to declare that he’s for it.
The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion.
In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can’t be sued for it….
This bill is actually more disturbing than the Republicans seem to realize. Giving doctors such a free pass risks the lives of both the expectant mother and the fetus she carries. Prenatal care isn’t just for discovering birth defects and disabilities. It is also for discovering life threatening issues such as an ectopic pregnancy which often requires an abortion to save the life of the mother. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable anyway, but Republicans are allowing anti-abortion doctors to keep life threatening information from pregnant women all because they are obsessed with stopping any and all abortions. Women may not know they have a life threatening condition until they die on the emergency room table. And the doctor couldn’t be sued.
Insane, horrible, murderous people. And the worst of it is that it was a Republican woman who sponsored this abomination.
Glenn Greenwald and Taylor Marsh helpfully explain why it is impossible to view Obama as a Democrat in any meaningful way other than “less insane and slightly less awful than the Republican candidates”.
No, I’m not going to support Ron Paul or any of the other Republican candidates, but as Taylor Marsh puts it, “Pres. Obama has helped Democrats deliver a climate that this party has threatened since the ’70s would happen if I didn’t vote for them.”
Advocates of stringent curbs on greenhouse gas emissions sued the federal government on Wednesday, arguing that key agencies had failed in their duty to protect the earth’s atmosphere as a public trust to be guarded for future generations.
Most of the individual plaintiffs in the suit, filed in United States District Court in San Francisco, are teenagers, a decision apparently made to underscore the intergenerational nature of the public trust that the earth’s atmosphere represents….
But in some ways the suit parallels a current case, brought by several states against the five largest utilities in the country, that frames greenhouse gas emissions as a public nuisance, legal experts noted.
After all, they’re always looking out for the interests of the unborn, protecting them from abortions, and from inheriting a crushing debt burden. Although, to be fair, they didn’t care about that last one until about five seconds after a Democrat became President.
But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:
“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[…]
The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”
The bill does more than compel sexual assault victims to carry pregnancies to term, it makes it a felony to perform such an abortion and allows spouses and relatives to file legal injunctions against physicians who break the ban. The bill also sets up a fund that can accept donations to defend the bill — a needed provision since the Idaho attorney general has issued two legal opinions declaring the bill unconstitutional for violating the Roe v. Wade decision’s viability standard.
If rape is just God moving in mysterious ways to produce serendipitous miracles, then why should it even be illegal? Shouldn’t we be thanking the rapists for opening up all these “wonderful” divine opportunities?
A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.
The godless anti-life hippies of the left want to legalize pot, the pro-life authoritarians of the right want to legalize potshots.
I wouldn’t worry about it, though – it’s not like conservatives ever actually advocate or threaten violence against anyone they disapprove of, right?
1 commentFebruary 16th, 2011 at 07:04amPosted by Eli
If you think interest-rate regulation is a bad idea, nothing in the Whitehouse amendment should bother you. It merely shifts the power to make decisions about interest-rate caps to the states and away from Washington bank regulators. California can enact laws appropriate for the conditions there, just like South Dakota can enact laws appropriate for its citizens. The Whitehouse amendment does not take any position on whether the appropriate law is a high cap, a low cap, or no cap at all. California or South Dakota or Delaware or any other state just would no longer be able to export their interest-rate laws to other states. It would allow the states to be laboratories of democracy, as the saying goes, and experiment with interest rate regulation.
The beauty of it is that it puts the Republicans in the position of opposing states’ rights, and pretty much everything they say in opposition to this idea can be used against them in the Roe v. Wade debate (“Reversing it wouldn’t ban abortion – it would just put the decision in the hands of the states! What’s wrong with giving more power to the states?”)
I have zero sympathy for them, but I think it’s hilarious that the Stupocrats are being targeted by pro-life organizations after doing more to limit women’s choice than any of those organizations ever have.
Arlen Specter didn’t vocally oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. He single-handedly killed the entire bill.
At the outset of 2009, the Employee Free Choice Act was cruising along quite well. With a big investment from unions and their allies, and a vocal opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business groups, the debate on the Employee Free Choice Act was in full swing in political circles and the news media. While contentious, there was little doubt in my mind some form of significant labor law reform would pass early that year. (Disclosure: I was working for SEIU’s Employee Free Choice Act campaign at the time.)
Then Arlen Specter acted on the only thing he actually cares about: his own political survival. He could feel GOP primary opponent Pat Toomey breathing down his neck. A poll was released in March showing Specter getting crushed in the primary. So Specter made a move he thought would redeem himself with angry primary voters: without warning, Specter announced he would oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. When I say without warning, I mean no one saw it coming. The first person to hear about Specter’s newfound opposition was freaking Grover Norquist, who announced the news to a roomful of conservatives one morning. Grover knew before union leaders knew.
And so today, the unions of almost 1 million working Pennsylvanians have thrown their support to Specter’s re-election, promoting the fallacy that Specter is “the strongest advocate and supporter of…workers’ rights.”
Hey, remember when NARAL and Planned Parenthood told their members to thank Lieberman and Chafee for pretending to oppose Alito’s Supreme Court nomination by voting no on the nomination but yes on cloture? When are supposedly progressive interest groups going to wake up and stop supporting their enemies and fair-weather friends?
If the Catholic Church were as tolerant and protective toward gays as they are toward pedophiles, same-sex marriage would be legal in every state by now.
And if it were as committed to peace and compassion as it is to outlawing abortions, we probably wouldn’t have invaded Iraq, and the healthcare reform bill would have contained a public option at the very least.
Kathleen Parker wrings her hands over Bart Stupak’s terrible, horrible betrayal of the pro-life movement (and I’m pretty sure she’s not the only one):
Poor Bart Stupak. The man tried to be a hero for the unborn, and then, when all the power of the moment was in his frail human hands, he dropped the baby. He genuflected when he should have dug in his heels and gave it up for a meaningless executive order.
Now, in the wake of his decision to vote for a health-care bill that expands public funding for abortion, he is vilified and will forever be remembered as the guy who Stupaked health-care reform and the pro-life movement.
Alas, Stupak couldn’t hold.
Ultimately, he was weak and overwhelmed by raw political power. History is no stranger to such moments, but this one needs to be understood for what it was. A deception.
When I first saw this in my inbox, I thought maybe it was sarcasm, but no:
Thank you, Progressive Caucus, for improving health care reform
Dear Progressive Members of Congress:
Thanks to you, and the tough positions you took on reforming the health insurance industry, significant progress was made towards reforming health care in this country. We thank you for representing the majority opinions on health care reform throughout the debate and voting for change.
[Insert your name here, etc, etc.)
I’m supposed to thank them for caving? I’m supposed to thank them for backing down from their pledge to vote against any healthcare reform bill that didn’t have a public option, even though a public option was almost surely attainable through reconciliation? I’m supposed to thank them for looking the other way when Obama and Pelosi made their deal with Pelosi and legitimized the Hyde Amendment with an executive order? Are you kidding me???
The progressive caucus had the power to force Obama to choose between the healthcare industry and anti-choice fanatics or passing his signature reform which he wanted more than anything… and they threw it away without getting anything in return.
President Obama says “every American will finally be guaranteed affordable, high quality health care coverage.” The DSCC says “insurance companies won’t be able to drop people who get sick.” And MoveOn calls it “a major progressive victory.” But what did we actually get?
We got mandates that deliver a huge captive market to the insurance companies whose callousness and greed caused the healthcare crisis in the first place, and no public option to provide an honest alternative. We got government subsidies for low-income families who will be forced to buy insurance they can’t afford to use. And worst of all, we got the biggest giveaway ever on women’s reproductive rights, and an executive order enshrining the Hyde Amendment into official government policy… issued by a president who once pledged to repeal it.
We didn’t get legalization of drug reimportation from other countries, or permission for Medicare to use its bargaining power to get better drug prices. And we sure as hell didn’t get the public option that Obama claimed to be such a huge supporter of, but never raised a finger for – even when it was attainable through reconciliation. I am also not entirely convinced that the anti-rescission language is all that much stronger than current law, nor that the bill provides for any effective means to enforce it.
This was not a triumphant victory for anyone but the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the enemies of a woman’s right to choose. It was a monstrous, multi-directional sellout, and Obama and the Democrats will reap the electoral whirlwind in November and 2012 for passing a bill that most Americans hate.
If this is victory, then why do I feel so defeated?
Perhaps I’m just imagining it, but the enemies of womens’ choice seem to be a lot more universally opposed to the Nelson “compromise” in the Senate bill than liberal healthcare advocates are to its lack of a public option. Despite the fact that Nelson is a lot closer to Stupak than No Public Option is to Public Option, and the fact that reconciliation could be used to pass the public option, but not to pass Stupak.
At any rate, I certainly don’t see a whole lot of bishops or Blue Dogs saying, “Come on! This is a historic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to roll back women’s rights! Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”
I really really hated having to choose between choice and the public option, but choosing between choice and forcing people to buy crappy private insurance policies they probably can’t afford to use isn’t very difficult at all. But one that, amazingly, Obama and the Democrats are still on the brink of getting wrong.
It’s a double epic fail. Like saying that everyone has to give up their bathroom privileges in exchange for mandatory shit sandwich lunches every day (“But look! Now everyone gets a lunch! Isn’t that awesome?”).
According to Ken Blackwell, Dawn Johnsen’s (still disgracefully languishing) nomination to head OLC is exactly like Stalin exterminating millions of Russian Jews.
President Obama is big on civility. He talks a very good game. But his nominee for a top slot at the Department of Justice–Dawn Johnsen–is a leading exponent of incivility. Johnsen worked with the ACLU for years. And she joined ARM–the so-called Abortion Rights Mobilization–to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status because of its pro-life advocacy. The Catholic Church eventually won that case–but not until it had spent years and millions of dollars defending itself. The Catholic Church was just the biggest ARM target. If they had succeeded against the Catholics, they surely would have come after the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals, and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
If Mr. Obama is serious about civility he needs to withdraw Dawn Johnsen’s nomination. If she is confirmed, we will see a radical anti-Catholic, pro-abortion zealot influencing policy thoughout the Justice Department—but also policy throughout the entire federal government.
What we are witnessing right now is an anti-Christian programmatic pogrom. What is a “pogrom” it’s the word that describes anti-Jewish raids by Cossacks and others in czarist Russia, but a programmatic pogrom best describes what is happening right now. These are not isolated attacks. And while we no longer have Cossacks to threaten, we now have left-wing bloggers who actually call themselves Kossacks (after the Daily Kos).
Those poor beleaguered Christians. It’s a wonder they’ve survived this long with all the adversity and persecution they must face as a tiny disempowered minority.
1 commentFebruary 18th, 2010 at 07:22amPosted by Eli
Up until today, I could at least say that for all its faults (and it is truly a politically poisonous trainwreck in every way), at least the Senate bill didn’t screw women over as badly as the House bill. Well, so much for that:
Mr. Reid’s amendment includes tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions sought by Mr. Nelson. Health insurance plans would not be required or forbidden to cover abortions, but states could prohibit the coverage of abortions by plans that are offered for sale through new government-regulated marketplaces.
The amendment also includes a special extension solely for Nebraska: increased federal contributions to the cost of an expansion
The previous language about segregating private vs public funds within the exchanges is reportedly tougher on women. We’re still reading the details, but from what we’ve seen, this is the general framework:
So . . .
1. The Feds will require you to purchase insurance
2. Feds say this is fair because we’ve got these nifty exchanges that will magically transform the currently concentrated insurance markets and make them competitive, affordable [not possible].
3. Only these exchange plans will have any significant federal enforcement for even the weak insurance regulations and price oversight.
4. States may ban abortions for all plans in the exchange, so women are not only stripped of current rights but left completely unprotected.
Between Stupak and now Reid, it’s looking more and more like “centrist” Democrats are more interested in turning healthcare reform into a pro-pregnancy, anti-woman trojan horse than they are in actually, you know, reforming healthcare.
Just when it appeared that Congress was about to erase one of the social-conservative legacies of the George W. Bush administration — abstinence-only sex education programs — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to bring it back.
Even though House and Senate appropriators voted four months ago to eliminate all spending on the programs, which according to most research do not keep teens from having sex or reduce teen pregnancies, the Nevada Democrat included a provision in the Senate health care bill that would restore some of the money.
That has thrown advocates on both sides of the sex education debate for a loop.
The president of the social-conservative Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, who has been and will continue opposing the drive for a health care overhaul, conceded that the Senate bill “would give a surprise boost to an abstinence movement.” By contrast, Marcela Howell, a spokeswoman for the liberal Advocates for Youth, a longtime opponent of abstinence-only programs, said Reid’s addition to the bill was “an unfortunate move.”
Awesome. You know, I had always hoped that the Democrats would finally find a way to render the GOP irrelevant, but I never thought they would do it by making it unnecessary.
Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples.
“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” it says.
If those are the fig leaves they choose to hide behind, then why don’t progressive Democrats call their bluffs by introducing amendments that actually do what the Watt and Stupak amendments purport to do? Even if they don’t pass, it would be revealing to watch Watt and Stupak and their allies insist that these alternative bills are bad without being able to clearly explain why.
Actually, since the Stupak amendment has already passed in the House, the alternative would have to be introduced (and passed) in the Senate, and then prevail in the conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions. The final vote on the merged bill would therefore be the point at which Stupak would start to have trouble articulating.
It’s one thing to call these wankers out – it’s quite another to actually force them to either give in or admit that they’re liars.
(NOTE: I’m not a huge fan of the Hyde amendment either, but it’s still far better than Stupak and probably politically impossible to repudiate altogether. I’d like to see a fight to repeal it, just not as part of the fight for healthcare reform, which is uphill enough as it is.)
Look, if Kennedy’s constituents are pro-choice, then Patrick Kennedy is not doing his job if he opposes it. Remember when his Uncle John had to reassure the American people that we would be his boss, not the Catholic Church? Isn’t that still what we want from our elected officials, that they’re accountable to the voters first and foremost? If Kennedy’s constituents don’t want freedom of choice, then they can vote him out.
The latest offensive stupidity from Sarah Palin, who, quite frankly, is capable of little else:
Speaking to a fund-raising banquet of Wisconsin Right to Life, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee asserted that if policy-makers don’t believe a child in the womb is valuable, then “perhaps the same mind-set applies to other persons.”
“What may they feel about an elderly person who doesn’t have a whole lot of productive years left,” Palin asked an audience of about 5,000 who paid $30 each to hear her speak in an airplane hangar-like exhibition hall at the Wisconsin state fairgrounds just outside of Milwaukee. “In order to save government money, government health care has to be rationed… [so] than this elderly person that perhaps could be seen as costing taxpayers to pay for a non-productive life? Do you think our elderly will be first in line for limited health care?
“And what about the child who perhaps isn’t deemed normal or perfect per someone’s subjective measure of their use or questionable purpose in the eyes of a panel of bureaucrats making our health care decisions for us,” she continued.
Well, you know, if Grandma or Trig is camped out inside a woman’s uterus, then yes, I believe that woman has the right to remove them. But I don’t see what that has to do with healthcare reform.
1 commentNovember 8th, 2009 at 01:32pmPosted by Eli
Oh yeah, all those accusations about the right wing inciting violence are totally overblown…
Internet radio host Hal Turner — accused of inciting Catholics to “take up arms” and singling out two Connecticut lawmakers and a state ethics official on a website — was taken into custody in New Jersey late Wednesday after state Capitol police in Connecticut obtained a warrant for his arrest.
Turner, who has been identified as a white supremacist and anti-Semite by several anti-racism groups, hosts an Internet radio program with an associated blog. On Tuesday, the blog included a post that promised to release the home addresses of state Rep. Michael Lawlor, state Sen. Andrew McDonald and Thomas Jones of the State Ethics Office.
The blog of the “Turner Radio Network” recounted the matter, then included the following remarks in a section labeled “commentary:”
“It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die.”
And, the post continued, “If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they’re going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too.”
Anti-choice groups across the nation are busy insisting that since they didn’t personally pull the trigger, their protests, harassment, and hate speech are not to blame for the murder of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Yet some anti-choice activists — even now — seem only too happy to aid and abet the crazy ones who will resort to violence. Or else why, three days after the assassination of a medical doctor who provides late-term abortions, did Jill Stanek post on her blog photographs of the clinic of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, another physician who provides late-term abortions and who has said he is willing to take over providing services at Dr. Tiller’s clinic?
By way of introduction, Stanek writes, “Let’s take a station break to view photos of Carhart’s “nondescript building,” taken in March 2009 on the day it reopened following refurbishment after a fire (NOT blamed on pro-lifers). It was almost immediately shut down because Carhart reopened without getting an occupancy permit, as I previously reported, and was running his electricity off a generator…” She and her readers just want “to take a look.” Why? She wants to prove her point that it’s a dingy building? Over Carhart’s safety, and the safety of his staff and patients?
Jill Not-Stanek at Feministe has a great comment on the right’s perverse sense of victimhood:
Hilariously, Stanek has the nerve to suggest that pro-choicers are “intimidating” anti-choicers when we say that calling abortion a “holocaust,” referring to abortion providers as “baby-killers,” and publicizing personal information about abortion providers just may encourage violence against them. Get that one straight, kids: Criticizing the terms that anti-choicers use is “intimidation” bordering on a violation of Constitutional rights. Shooting, bombing, assaulting, stalking, harassing and threatening abortion providers, or encouraging others to do so (and providing them with the necessary tools and information), is “a movement of nonviolence.”
Yes, that seems totally reasonable – the Republican perspective in a wingnutshell.
Slightly shorter Randall Terry: We must continue to peacefully call abortion providers bloody mass murderers who thumb their noses at the law, and if some brave Christian patriot poor misguided soul should take that the wrong way, well, what can you do.
Why is it that the Party Of Life, the party that’s supposedly all about God and Jesus, is so positively gleeful about murder? After a right-wing nut with Operation Rescue’s phone number in his car shoots a late-term abortion provider in the head outside of his church, the right-wing’s reaction can only be described as gloating. And it’s not just the smug, sneering “he had it coming” tweets and comments from random crazies. Check out the response from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry:
George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.
“George Tiller was a mass murderer and we cannot stop saying that,” Terry said. “He was an evil man – his hands were covered with blood.”
No regret, no remorse, no sorrow – Terry just wants to remind everyone that Tiller was a mass murderer who committed murder in an evil murdery way. In fact, Tiller is the only murderer in Terry’s statements.
No, the right wants each and every murderer and attempted murderer (and there are many, especially among the Orwellianly-named “pro-life” movement) that they spawn with their violent hate rhetoric to be viewed as just one lone nut, an isolated case that has absolutely nothing at all to do with their political movement or culture, even as they egg them on and celebrate their actions, either openly or behind closed doors.
Just a few bad apples, acting completely on their own with no direction from anyone else, just like at Abu Ghraib.
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moves to ease a backlog of executive branch nominations, he suggested on Tuesday that he does not have the votes to bring up President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.
“Right now we’re finding out when to do that,” Reid said, responding to a question about the status of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to the Justice post. “We need a couple Republican votes until we can get to 60.”
Johnsen has come under fire from some social conservatives, who have voiced concerns over her positions on abortion and the war on terror.
Reid indicated Tuesday that at least a few Democrats would also oppose Johnsen, making the task of reaching 60 votes to avert a Republican filibuster even more difficult.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) “is very concerned” about Johnsen’s nomination, press secretary Clay Westrope said, pointing to her tenure as the legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America as a point of concern.
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who recently joined the Democratic Conference after 29 years as a Republican Senator, has stated that he will vote against Johnsen’s nomination when it hits the floor.
I can’t believe this is actually happening. Johnsen is ridiculously qualified for a job where pro-choice views are barely relevant, and even if they were, she would certainly be a lot better at keeping ideology out of the OLC’s rulings than any of her Bush-era predecessors that no-one had a problem confirming.
And if she’s anti-torture, well, isn’t the OLC supposed to be against stuff that’s illegal? Isn’t that the whole point?