Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wedge Issue Update: Birth Control?

How can the Republican Party believe that their path to electoral success in 2012 could possibly involve alienating every woman in America by holding an all-male congressional hearing on contraception today? When I asked last October which wedge issue would win the Republican Primary in this election cycle, I suggested some normal suspects: Birtherism, Guns, "In God We Trust", the Dirty Filthy Hippies in the Occupy Movement, Abortion, Flag Burning, Evolution, Gay Marriage and Illegal Immigration. But never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that anyone in the GOP might actually be stupid enough to make run-of-the-mill garden-variety birth control an issue, supporting the all-male hierarchy of the Catholic Church in their demand to deny birth-control insurance to their female employees, and doing so with an all-male congressional panel telling why the rights of a foreign patriarchal power structure trump those of their American wives and daughters.

And not only that, but they have made the one candidate with the strongest record of speaking out against birth control their new front runner in their race to lose to Barack Obama in November:

"I'm not a believer in birth control ... artificial birth control."  
-- Ex-Senator Rick Santorum

With unemployment on the way down again today, "Government Motors" announcing record profits, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearing 13,000 (up from 8,000 at President Obama's inauguration), all the Republicans will have in the general election are wedge issues supported by millions of SuperPac dollars, but taking a stand against birth control is probably not their best choice of tool when choosing a winning wedge.

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