On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life.
When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue.”
Although National Right to Life’s letter [PDF] was sent in July, it hit the news this week when Cleveland Right to Life decided to fight back, releasing the letter to the media, alleging “coordination” between Sen. Portman’s office and the national group and asking, “How can you be for the child if you are not for the family?”
Yesterday, Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith took the group’s case to the Steve Deace show, where she speculated that National Right to Life dropped her chapter because they are “terrified about Sen. Portman’s position and the fact that they might lose his support on his pro-life stance.”
Smith told Deace that she had met with Portman and that “he assures us he’s never going to abandon the pro-life cause when it comes to abortion and the issues we’ve just spoken about.”
“But when it comes to gay marriage, he’s 100 percent behind his son,” she said. “That’s not pro-life!”
Deace was skeptical that Portman would hold onto his opposition to abortion rights. “Does that mean that if he has a daughter that has an abortion, he changes his mind on that too, Molly?” he asked. Smith responded, “Absolutely.”
Smith concluded her interview with an odd caveat: “Even as I say all of this, Steve, I feel so terrible, because this is a very private matter for Sen. Portman’s family.”
Linda Harvey says gay people aren’t all that different from those who struggle with eating too much and obesity. The Mission America president argues that, like overeating and having unhealthy appetites, homosexuality is not innate and can be unlearned:
Many people struggle with appetites for food that lead to obesity but very few were born with a hormonal imbalance leading to weight gain, almost everyone learned these appetites along the way so unlearning them will also be a step-by-step process but it is most certainly possible, starting with facing the truth. It’s kind of similar with homosexual feelings. But no, the world’s message today is go for it, declare yourself and join the out-and-proud community.
Harvey claims the gay community relies on “feelings, identity and behavior: FIB…. And yes, that’s exactly what homosexuality becomes if acted upon. It’s a big lie.”
Ohio-based Religious Right activist Linda Harvey today expressed outrage that a district court judge ruled on behalf of a gay couple, who are both Ohio residents but were married in Maryland, against the state’s ban on same-sex unions. One of the men has Lou Gehrig’s disease and is seeking to have his partner listed on his death certificate as his surviving spouse and be buried in the same family plot.
Harvey called their lawsuit “nonsense” and charged that if the men wanted to be married, they should have married women: “There’s no discrimination or inequality, either of these men could be married to a woman.” She said that the couple is in a pretend marriage, just like a girl who pretends to be a doctor simply because she believes she is one:
Can marriage just be what anyone thinks it is? Here’s a possible analogy. Sophie wants to be a doctor, she’s never gone to medical school but in her mind she’s qualified to treat patients, even perform surgery. But the law only allows the practice of medicine by those who have attended medical school, passed the state board exams and so on. But isn’t this unequal protection? Aren’t Sophie’s fantasies valid? She believes she should be allowed to practice medicine therefore the requirements to be a licensed MD are unconstitutional for her.
That’s right: a married gay person is no different than an unlicensed surgeon.
Linda Harvey yesterday hailed Cleveland Right to Life for adding opposition to marriage equality to its mission statement, which previously focused on issues like abortion rights and stem-cell research. During a radio alert, Harvey said that Cleveland Right to Life leaders recently met with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and “made it clear that going forward his support for same-sex marriage will put him at odds with any official endorsement they are willing to give.”
“As part of that meeting, Portman revealed that he would throw his support behind any upcoming effort to overturn our Ohio marriage amendment.”
While Portman announced that he backs marriage equality earlier this year, the Associated Press reported this month that “the senator has indicated he doesn’t want to take a position as a campaign operative.”
Harvey later recounted her experience at a Pride Parade this year to rant against same-sex parents, suggesting that their kids intrinsically know something is wrong and are disturbed by their parents’ relationship: “Children know and sense deep deception and most children will sense something is not right with being proud of homosexuality.”
She found it “heartbreaking to see homosexuals haul their children proudly in front of thousands of people in the recent Columbus Pride Parade,” particularly a family with an “exploitative sign” which read “I love my two dads.”
Harvey hopes listeners tell the kids of same-sex couples that they should urge their parents to become ex-gays: “No one has to pursue a homosexual lifestyle and anyone with sense and genuine love for both the child and for our God and for his plans for us will tell that child the truth: lots of people have left homosexual desires and behavior to live lives consistent with the way God clearly made us.”
Ohio anti-gay activist Phil Burress, head of Citizens for Community Values, is gearing up to fight a proposed ballot measure to make same-sex marriage legal in his state, and he’s not letting the facts get in his way.
Burress tells the Canton Repository that polls showing increasing support for marriage equality are just plain wrong:
“On no other issue in America is the polling data is so wrong,” he said. “The real polls are when people go to the polls and vote.”
He then warns of the “slippery slope” created by marriage equality. “What are you going to do for bisexuals?" he asks. "They have to have a man and a woman to make them happy.”
“Ask the question, how do you prohibit polygamy?” Burress said. “Or anything? You’ve gotta give them anything they want. When you start using words like ‘equal protection,’ or when you can say there’s discrimination, what are you going to do for bisexuals? They have to have a man and a woman to make them happy.”
On Sunday night, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law some of the most restrictive anti-choice measures in the country, including requiring that women seeking an abortion undergo costly and medically unnecessary ultrasounds, mandating that physicians give a pre-written anti-choice speech to women seeking abortions, preventing rape crisis centers from counseling women on abortion options, and dramatically cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and redirecting some of that money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers,” and even redefining pregnancy.
The bill also includes a requirement that all abortion providers have formal “transfer agreements” with local hospitals…but bans public hospitals from signing these agreements. This transfer agreement provision is a classic TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) law, meant to place such unnecessary and burdensome requirements on abortion providers that they are forced to shut their doors.
Generally, anti-choice activists defend TRAP laws by claiming that they are merely looking out for women’s health and safety. But in an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday, Ohio Religious Right activist Phil Burress admitted that the goal of Ohio’s new law is in fact to force abortion clinics “out of business.”
Perkins, recognizing that Burress had strayed from the anti-choice movement’s talking points, tried to get things back on track by insisting that “these agreements are generally good health practices.”
Burress: Not only did we pass pro-life legislation, but in Ohio $1.4 million in federal money that will be diverted from Planned Parenthood to many of the crisis pregnancy centers.
Perkins: That means President Obama’s going to have to go out and do another fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.
Burress: Exactly. They’re reeling, aren’t they, they’re really hurting for money. But, you know, $1.4 million is a lot of money, but in terms of the amount of money that Planned Parenthood spends, it’s a drop in the bucket. It’s a statement. And we praise Gov. Kasich and the Republicans that put this through. And they also have passed legislation called a transfer agreement, that every abortion clinic has to have a transfer agreement with a hospital, but they are prohibited from signing one with a public hospital. So we can put pressure on hospitals to not sign agreements, and we may see some abortion clinics go out of business.
Perkins: Yeah, and these agreements are basically good health practices.
Warren Throckmorton reports today that Ohio’s Springboro School District is planning to offer a summer course on the Constitution…taught via video by revisionist historian David Barton and his Christian Reconstructionist pal John Eidsmoe, and sponsored by the extreme Christian-nation group Institute on the Constitution.
The announcement for the course offers families an opportunity to “learn your Godly American heritage and birthright”:
As RWW readers know, David Barton is the discredited “historian” whose most recent book on the nation’s “Christian heritage” was pulled by its conservative Christian publisher because it was riddled with factual errors. John Eidsmoe is a leading Christian Reconstructionist thinker and intellectual mentor of Michele Bachmann.
Springboro’s school board made national headlines last month when it debated adding creationism to its curriculum.
Not content simply to pass a definitively right-wing budget, in recent weeks the extremist Republicans in control of Ohio’s legislature tacked on a slew of amendments to a substitute budget bill that read like a Radical Right Christmas wish list, including:
If you live in Ohio, please help STOP this budget bill by calling now and urging your state representative to OPPOSE Sub. H.B. No. 59. Click here to find your legislator.
People For the American Way’s 2012 Right Wing Watch In Focus report, “Predatory Privatization,” included a section on the pernicious private prison industry. The report documented that, for all the talk of efficiency and accountability among lawmakers pushing privatization, the evidence pointed to a different reality: private prisons often deliver worse service, at higher costs to the taxpayer, with little accountability. One reason: massive spending by prison corporations on lobbying and political contributions.
Today, Think Progress points to new evidence: a sordid tale of prison privatization in Ohio. It links to a timeline produced by the ACLU of Ohio that chronicles the abysmal record of the Lake Erie Correctional Institute in the 18 months since Ohio sold the prison to the Corrections Corporation of America.
In that short period, the prison flunked two inspections, with independent reports documenting “filthy, broken facilities, as well as much higher rates of crime and violence in and around the prison.”
What about accountability? Think Progress notes:
Despite Lake Erie’s multiple violations of state standards, Ohio has stubbornly maintained its infatuation with private prisons. The state plans to outsource prison food to Aramark, a private vendor already under investigation in Kentucky for multiple contract violations, including serving old food that had not been stored properly and overbilling the state.
Republican-dominated state legislatures are all too eager to ignore the private prison industry’s dismal record. CCA and other companies like GEO are paying well to maintain their massively profitable government contracts; the industry spent $45 million on lobbying in the past decade. CCA has done especially well for itself, rebounding from near bankruptcy in 2000 to rake in a net income of $162 million in 2011.
Still outraged by Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on marriage equality, Ohio-based Religious Right activist Linda Harvey of Mission America used her radio bulletin today to urge people to pray that the Senator’s openly gay son will become “a former homosexual” who will “exercise the option he has right now” of marrying a woman.
Harvey dubbed Portman’s endorsement of marriage equality “a betrayal of the first order” and lamented that conservative Ohioans are stuck “with a Senator who has caved because apparently he believes things that just aren’t true.”
The highest court in the land this week is hearing arguments to overturn man-woman marriage and if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, families here in tomorrow just experienced a betrayal of the first order by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. Because his own son is involved in homosexuality, Sen. Portman has rationalized away his former objections to same-sex marriage; he now says he wants the same opportunity for his son. Are you as frustrated by this as I am, friends? First of all, his son already has the right to marry now, he can marry a woman and someday when he is, we can all pray, a former homosexual, perhaps he will choose to exercise the option he has right now. I do hope you will join me in praying for this young man.
Rob Portman had obligations beyond his family however, when you’re a public figure you have enormous influence over public opinion by the policies you support or refuse to support. People in this state worked for Rob Portman and not for a candidate with liberal social values, one more like Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, for a reason. People thought they could count on Portman if and when the going got tough on these issues. Well here we are with a Senator who has caved because apparently he believes things that just aren’t true.
Sen. Rob Portman has, unsurprisingly, been faced with a barrage of criticism from Religious Right groups since he announced that, inspired by his gay son, he had changed his mind to support marriage equality. But perhaps no one has been more upset with Portman than Ohio anti-gay leader Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values. Last week, Burress called Portman “a very troubled man” who is “distraught over what’s happened to his son.”
On Wednesday, Burress took to “ex-gay” activist Michael Brown’s “Line of Fire” radio program to recount a conversation he had with Portman shortly before the senator’s announcement. Portman was “dejected” and “basically sad throughout the conversation,” Burress says. And while Burress had initially thought Portman was “looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle” through "ex-gay" therapy, it eventually became “obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way.”
Burress knows who to blame for this change of heart in father and son: Yale University, where the younger Portman is currently a freshman. At Yale, Burress says, Portman’s son was “probably associating with the other homosexual activists” and ultimately “forced his dad’s hand on this thing.”
Burress: He called me the night before he went public and told me that he was the first one that he wanted to call, and we shared ideas and thoughts. And when he first called me, I thought he was looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle, because I’m pretty sure that he knows that I spent four and a half years on the board of an international organization helping people walk away. And he dropped the bomb on me by saying he was going to change his opinion, which I still today cannot believe that he did that because this is a principled issue and you just don’t turn your back on principled issues.
Brown: Phil, do you think, and you wrote a very gracious but firm editorial that’s getting a lot of national exposure, do you think that he was unaware before this that his son felt that his homosexuality was not a choice? Because he announced it as if this was a new revelation.
Burress: Well, he knew about it for two and a half years. So, apparently in thinking back, he, they learned about it while he was a freshman in high school, and now he’s a, excuse me, a junior in high school, and now he’s a freshman at Yale. And I don’t think there’s any coincidence to this whatsoever that he came home, probably associating with the other homosexual activists at Yale, and I think maybe he forced his dad’s hand on this thing because, that’s just my gut feeling, because Rob started off the conversation by saying, ‘I’ve got some really bad news,’ and he was dejected and basically sad throughout the whole conversation. And it ended up being a conversation, a dad to a dad, but it was obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way. And I told him that it’s not innate, it’s a learned behavior.
Later in the program, Burress promised electoral defeat for Portman if he runs for reelection in 2016. Burress notes that former Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine lost his bid for reelection in 2006 after opposing a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Burress neglects to mention that DeWine, who supported a federal gay marriage ban, in fact lost to Democrat and gay-rights supporter Sherrod Brown.
Brown: What do we do now? Do we just say, ‘Another loss, throw in the towel, America’s capitulating,’ or can we bring about change?
Burress: We can bring about change alright, and what’s surfacing now is what happened to Mike DeWine, Senator Mike DeWine, when he opposed us in 2004. I chaired the marriage amendment in Ohio to change the constitution here in Ohio and Senator DeWine came out against us. And he’d been in the Senate for, I think, two or three terms, and obviously that cost him his election. When he ran again, he got beat because he switched his position. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the same thing’s going to happen, based on the emails and the calls we’re getting, is that people are not only devastated but are angry that they have somebody up there that they voted for to represent their point of view and their values and he’s turned his back on them. This is a non-negotiable issue with our organization and he will be listed on our annual, what we call Ohio Election Central, our reporting agency where we endorse candidates, as ‘unacceptable for public office.’
Last week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced that, inspired by his son’s coming out, he now supports marriage equality. Religious Right activists are, of course, responding with a characteristic lack of tact and grace.
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, for example, denounced Portman for trying to “accommodate his son’s abhorrent lifestyle.”
“... Perhaps [the senator’s] love for his son has deceived him in not being able to differentiate between loving his son and helping his son to do the right thing, versus changing his entire worldview and his view of the natural institution of legitimate marriage in order to accommodate his son's abhorrent lifestyle,” says Barber.
Portman told reporters his previous views on marriage were rooted in his Methodist faith and his change of heart came because of "the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion." Barber challenges that interpretation.
“This provides us a perfect example of the danger of looking at things through the jaundiced prism of our own feelings rather than on objective truths,” says the Liberty Counsel attorney.
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wondered how Portman would respond if his son came out as a serial killer:
I’ve heard some wacky excuses by politicians for changing their minds on some of the most important moral issues facing American, but Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s rationale for flip-flopping on same-sex marriage takes the proverbial wedding cake.
In case you haven’t heard, his son is a homosexual.
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in a commentary published Friday in the Columbus Dispatch.
I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer.
People like Todd Akin and Steve King don’t represent a threat to the future of the Republican Party. People like Rob Portman and Karl Rove represent a clear and present danger to its future.
What they are pushing is not liberty, it is licentiousness. What they are pushing is not morality, it is moral relativism. What they are pushing is not the kind of virtue and personal responsibility that makes self-government possible, it is the kind of pop-culture immorality that makes self-government impossible.
Ohio-based activist Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, lamented Portman’s decision to support his “rebellious” son’s “disorder” and “delusion”:
It’s not that I can’t empathize with the position his son has put him in. Every parent hopes never to face a rebellious child. But Portman has decided not to call this rebellion. Whether it was pressure from his wife or some kind of ultimatum by his son, Portman now issues editorial statements that ring with “gay marriage” advocacy. What a slam on Ohio families!
He opines about “civil marriage rights” as if they don’t exist now. These unions will be a stabilizing force bringing “renewed strength” to the institution, he thinks – but Portman is either woefully uninformed or deliberately ignores the mounting evidence against these lifestyles and the political militancy they are unleashing . There is no excuse for a sitting senator to jump on board a movement that viciously targets challengers, forces indoctrination of children in taxpayer- funded schools and bullies the corporate culture as well as the Boy Scouts into bowing before its altar of deviance.
And it’s so unnecessary. Every person out there who claims a “gay” identity has the ability to get married in Ohio or anywhere else now. He or she can marry someone of the opposite sex, because that’s what marriage is and because a “gay” identity is a delusion. Two men, no matter how sincere they feel, or two women, will never be a marriage. The person who believes this disorder is “who he is,” as apparently Portman’s son does, has tragically internalized a lie.
The deception of the culture is easy to accommodate if your principles are weak at the core. Homosexual feelings may seem unchosen, but we do have a choice about what fantasies and desires we nurture and feed. And we always have a choice about public identity and behavior.
His son needs to hear the hope of change and the stories of the thousands of former homosexuals in this country. But his father is apparently not going to tell him. How sad!
Phil Burress of the Religious Right group Citizens for Community Values, which is based in Ohio, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that Portman is a “a very troubled man right now” and is “distraught over what’s happening with his son.”
Burress added that Portman had assured him that he won’t help any campaign to repeal Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage despite his new position: “Rob did tell me that he would not campaign for the same-sex marriage issue if it got on the ballot in Ohio. He would not be their spokesman or participate in their campaign.”
Phil Burress is chairman of the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values Action Political Action Committee. He says Portman, who is a personal friend, talked with him Thursday night.
"I just have a feeling that his son was pushing him into this for political reasons,” Burress tells American Family News. “But Rob did tell me that he would not campaign for the same-sex marriage issue if it got on the ballot in Ohio. He would not be their spokesman or participate in their campaign."
But Burress says Portman's comments on CNN seemed to contradict what the senator told him.
"Now I'm seeing some of his remarks that he gave the news last night about repealing DOMA, and it seems contrary to what he told me [in our conversation] last night,” says the traditional values advocate. “So I think he's a very troubled man right now. I think he's distraught over what's happening with his son."
Burress now wonders if Portman can be trusted on the pro-life issue as well. “If he had a daughter and she became pregnant, would he change his position on abortion, too?” he asks. “Because he told me last night that [he had not] changed his position on abortion or any other issue. You don’t change your mind on principled positions.”
And Burress says his political action committee cannot support Portman in light of his new position. "CCV has what we call non-negotiable issues; if you're wrong on any of these issues, we cannot support you for public office – and two of those issues are abortion and same-sex marriage,” he explains. “So therefore Rob cannot receive our endorsement for his next election."
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today called on the Republican governors of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio to reject plans to rig their states’ electoral vote apportionment. Today, a Virginia state Senate committee resoundingly rejected a similar plan by a vote of 11-4.
A People For the American Way petition denouncing the election-rigging scheme has gathered over 80,000 signatures.
“The GOP should be trying to earn the respect of voters, not rigging the system against voters’ wishes,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “The Virginia Senate’s rejection of this plan should be a warning for those proposing it in other states. This is an extremist gambit, and it damages the credibility of those who support it. It is stunning that this scheme has gotten as far as it has. Governors Walker, Corbett and Kasich should take the lead in their states and stop this undemocratic plan before it goes any further.”
Out of State Money Floods Contests in 2012
Washington, DC – Today People For the American Way Foundation unveiled new state-by-state fact sheets detailing outside spending in U.S. Senate and House races in 21 states. Each report analyzes the outside spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spenders in the down ballot federal races from the 2012 election cycle. The fact sheets reveal that, on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs. And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.
The release of the “Outside Spending, Outsized Influence” reports coincide with the weekend marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC to draw attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. The reports – a partnership between PFAWF and U.S. PIRG – are part of the Money Out/Voters In campaign. As part of that campaign, People For the American Way Foundation, its affiliate People For the American Way, and other organizers across the country are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 76 cities in 33 states this weekend. Members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council will be leading Money Out/Voters In events in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.
“Last year’s elections were far and away the most expensive in history,” said People For the American Way Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker. “A major reason was the influx of outside, special interest spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard. Just as important, when politicians push laws to suppress the vote, we turn back the clock on decades on progress to expand and improve our democracy. We need to pursue the full range of remedies to address the problem of too much money in politics, including amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, and we need to stand up against the growing threat of voter suppression. This weekend we are joining with allies across the country to call for a democracy that gets Money Out and Voters In.”
The states featured in the reports are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
For links to each report, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/outside-spending-outsized-influence-big-and-s...
For more information about the Money Out/Voters In campaign or the Days of Action, please visit: http://www.moneyout-votersin.org
Mission America head Linda Harvey encouraged Ohio Republicans to push anti-union right-to-work legislation on her radio bulletin today, and like always linked it back to her zealous anti-gay activism. Harvey maintained that Religious Right supporters should rally behind so-called right-to-work efforts because “unions support all aspects of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activism and have no problem truly with students opting for these life-altering practices” and promote “politically correct agendas.” She went on to falsely assert that without such laws workers are forced to join labor unions and also made the discredited claim that unions can compel non-members to pay for political activities.
Now you might be thinking, why does Mission America care? Here’s why: the leftists in this country and all their destructive anti-family policies have been propped up by the funding of both private and public employee unions. You may have heard me talk about teachers unions like the National Education Association or here in Ohio, the Ohio Education Association. The NEA and OEA are largely responsible for the left-wing tilt of our public schools and the politically correct agendas that now dominate school room lessons. These unions support all aspects of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activism and have no problem truly with students opting for these life-altering practices. Actively opposing more traditional viewpoints, the teachers unions generously support Democrats running for President and Congress while contributing very little to Republican or more conservative candidates. So if we want to get our country back a good place to start is where the left is getting its money, and it’s often from labor union members who had no choice to contribute to that candidate or issue.
On Nov. 6, Americans turned out in massive numbers to reelect President Obama, take away seats from Republicans in the House and the Senate, and pass progressive ballot measures throughout the country. But it seems that Republicans in Washington and in states across the country just didn't get the hint. Despite all the talk of post-election "soul-searching," there doesn't appear to be any self-examination going on among those currently clinging to their seats in Congress and state legislatures.
Just look at Michigan. Just weeks after the state legislature's Republicans took a drubbing from voters, who cut their majority in the state House from 18 to 8 despite recent Republican gerrymandering, the state's GOP leadership went on a right-wing rampage.
First, they passed a package of so-called "right to work" laws that are meant to politically weaken unions and have the side effect of financially weakening the middle class. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder was against "right to work" before he was for it, thanks to some powerful arm-twisting from corporate front groups.
Then, they got to work on some extreme anti-choice measures. One tries to force abortion clinics out of business by regulating them into the ground. It also places unnecessary burdens on women, including requiring them to prove they weren't "coerced" into seeking an abortion; prohibiting them from consulting with their doctor via videoconference; and requiring them to sign a death certificate and hold a funeral for the aborted fetus (this requirement, at least, has just been removed from the bill). Yet another bill would let doctors refuse to provide or employers refuse to cover any procedures they find immoral. This one isn't just about abortion - it could allow employers to refuse their employees insurance coverage for contraception, or even blood transfusions. Sounds familiar? The Blunt Amendment in the U.S. Senate - wildly unpopular except among the Senate GOP - would have done the same thing.
Anybody who was paying the least bit of attention to this year's elections would have noticed that two of the things voters find most repugnant about today's GOP is its blind allegiance to big corporations and its enthusiasm for regulating women's health.
Apparently the Republican Party wasn't paying attention. Or is just too beholden to the interests of the Corporate and Christian Right to care.
What's happening in Michigan is just a microcosm of the whole. In Ohio, immediately after an election shaped in part by the GOP's toxic attacks on women's health, Republican legislators got to work trying to defund Planned Parenthood. And in Washington, DC, Republican leaders are approaching fiscal cliff negotiations with the sole goal of protecting George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.
This isn't what I'd call "soul-searching."