To no one’s surprise, Gov-elect Ducey’s Budget Study Committee is a bunch of rich white people

17 Nov 2014 05:54 pm
Posted by: Donna

Arizona’s soon-to-be Governor, Doug Ducey, has assembled a team to advise him on the budget.

PHOENIX (November 17) – Governor-elect Doug Ducey announced today the formation of a Budget Study Committee, led by a team of public and private sector professionals charged with studying the budget and providing expertise and feedback to the governor-elect.

Throughout his campaign for governor, Ducey made clear he intended to go through the budget line by line in order to ensure Arizona lives within its means and invests in priorities for the state with a focus on economic growth and education.

“Before we can address the challenges facing our state, we need to do our homework,” Ducey said. “This team of professionals will provide a diverse set of perspectives on our state finances. It’s important to me to hear from those who have dealt intimately with the state budget, in addition to receiving an outside perspective from the private sector, so we can adopt mechanisms to be more effective, accountable and efficient with our resources. I look forward to working with them to get our arms wrapped around the budget and examine the best ways to balance it while also growing our economy and ensuring there is money in classrooms to help teachers teach and students learn.”

Behold them:

John Arnold, AZ Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting

Jennifer Stielow, the Vice President of the Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA)

Michael Hunter, Governor Janice Brewer’s Director of Policy and Special Adviser on Tax Policy & Reform

Tom Manos, Maricopa County Manager

D. J. Cole, chief executive officer for Capital Consultants Management Corporation and former CFO of Cold Stone Creamery

Alan Maguire, President and Principal Economist of The Maguire Company

Norman Stout, consultant with True North Venture Partners

Note the broad diversity in, um, hairstyles among this crew that appears to be an assemblage of right-leaning bureaucrats, business finance types, and the vice president of a quackadoodle “taxpayer rights” group. Notably absent are any representatives from public education, health care, poverty advocacy, or child welfare organizations. Not that it comes as a shock or anything, but it’s kind of looking obvious the backs from whom those “line by line” cuts to the budget that Ducey keeps promising are going to be taken. It will not be from anyone who wrote big campaign checks to Doug Ducey, I can promise that.

I’d like to think Doug MacEachern is just trolling me with this.

14 Nov 2014 01:14 pm
Posted by: Donna

Doug MacEacern, who inexplicably maintains employment as an Arizona Republic editor, has weighed in on the recent report that the Arizona NARAL Executive Director was contacted by the Arizona Department of Health Services on a tip that she was providing health care services (read: ABORTIONS!) in her home:

You can guess how any homeowner who just lives in her home would react to that. She’d be outraged. And she’d be right to be outraged. Sabine herself said it was “bullying” to have been sent such a letter.

She went to the ACLU, whose lawyers sent a 5-page letter to ADHS, demanding they stop bullying Sabine. The director of the local chapter of the ACLU said the agency’s letter to Sabine constituted borderline harassment.

And, assuming all she did was live in her home, some outrage may have been in order.

But despite Sabine’s whining protests to the media – the “bullying,” the borderline harassment caused by the horror of having received a government letter in the mail — her home isn’t just her home. Or, at least, wasn’t. And the evidence that it’s not comes from none other than Sabine herself.

On the Attestation Letter she returned to ADHS, Sabine wrote: “The facility is a community education, advocacy, or recovery support group that is not owned or operated by or contracted to provide services with a healthcare institution.”

Not just a “home,” as Sabine repeatedly claimed. But a “facility.” It would have been bullying to get Sheriff Arpaio to land a SWAT team on Sabine’s roof. But does it really seem so out of line for a government agency to want to know what kind of “facility” she’s running?

MacEachern’s “factual” assertion rests on Sabine having conducted some NARAL work, which consists no providing of health care whatsoever, out of her home in the past. NARAL AZ now has an office whose address is, understandably, not made public. The reason Sabine described NARAL AZ (not her home) as any type of “facility” is because that was the only choice available to her in the form she was given. Sabine says that NARAL AZ was not even given the option to indicate that the organization engages strictly in education and advocacy work, which would exempt it from any health care provider licensing or inspection requirements.

ADHS quickly closed out the complaint upon learning that Sabine’s home is just a home and that NARAL AZ is not some rogue health care (read: ABORTION!) provider in any way, shape, or form. Certainly, the Google Maps search that Sabine told reporters ADHS ought to have done (that would have indicated that it was a home that was the target of the complaint) should have clued the agency in to the possibility (nay, probability) that the complaint was spurious. It should have led to further searches by ADHS into NARAL AZ tax and corporate filings, which would have explained both the location and mission of the organization, rendering any further investigation pointless. But no, they had to go forth with a demand letter (because ABORTION!).

That aside, MacEachern’s main argument is that Sabine and other publicly pro-choice women (and you know it will mostly be women targeted with this crap) should expect a certain amount of harassment for it. Again:

Not just a “home,” as Sabine repeatedly claimed. But a “facility.” It would have been bullying to get Sheriff Arpaio to land a SWAT team on Sabine’s roof. But does it really seem so out of line for a government agency to want to know what kind of “facility” she’s running?

Apparently, Kat Sabine was just supposed to respond to that ridiculous summons meekly and quietly and then to whatever else anti-abortion zealots throw her way and not make a sound about it in public until a SWAT team has landed on her house. What MacEachern is doing here is similar to when people say that women and gays in the West don’t get to complain about the discrimination they experience because they’d face beheading in Saudi Arabia. My response to that is always that if we wait until people are being beheaded to stop bigotry and bullying here it will be too late. As a formal logical fallacy, it is known as the Fallacy of Relative Privation and it is often wielded by powerful people against less powerful people to silence them. In the case of anti-choice laws, the path to women being harassed and even prosecuted for simply advocating for reproductive rights and merely for living as a woman of reproductive age is both historically and currently proven.

Just in case you weren’t sure of his meaning, MacEachern reiterates his belief that publicly pro-choice women deserve harassment:

Abortion politics being what they are, the pro-life crowd no doubt is going to continue suspecting something fishy was going on at Sabine’s house. The pro-abortion-rights people, meanwhile, will remain outraged that Sabine had to endure the emotional trauma of getting a certified demand letter from the government.

In the real world, however, it is impossible to miss the absurdity of Sabine’s “bullying” claim.

No, the real world easily understands that a recently passed law allowing for surprise inspections of abortion clinics would embolden some anti-choice crank to look up where the director of NARAL AZ lives and then send some bullshit complaint to the ADHS, fully expecting that the department would act on it. Anti-choicers defend their policies with syrupy platitudes about “life” and “protecting women” but hatred and bullying is at the root of all of them, as what happened to Kat Sabine so amply demonstrates. It shouldn’t take women being frogmarched to jail right in front of you to realize that.

If ACA subsidies are gutted by Supreme Court, what will Ducey do?

11 Nov 2014 10:44 pm
Posted by: Donna

While many legal experts express confidence that the upcoming King v Burwell Supreme Court decision will be in favor of the Affordable Care Act, the Court did cause alarm by agreeing to hear it in the first place. Here is what is at stake:

At the heart of the King case are the tax subsidies offered by the federal government to those who cannot afford their own insurance. These subsidies are critical to achieving Obamacare’s goal of insuring even the least well off. At present, those eligible for subsidies can get them whether they purchase on the federal exchange or a state one. That could change on account of a glitch in the ACA, which can be read to say that you can only get a subsidy if you signed up on a state-managed exchange. If the Supreme Court signs off on this interpretation, the federal government cannot subsidize insurance for the less well-off in any state that has declined to set up its own exchange.

In King v. Burwell, a unanimous decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit sided with the Obama administration, rejecting the challengers’ argument that the provision of the ACA that authorizes tax credits for insurance purchased on an exchange “established by the State under section 1311” doesn’t authorize tax credits for insurance purchased on an exchange established by the federal government. Supporters of the ACA call this a mere “drafting error.” Opponents claim this is a clear case of statutory interpretation: The law says “state” exchanges, and that is what was intended. If this interpretation prevails, more than four million people lose those subsidies.

It will be decided next June and, should a majority of Justices find for the plaintiff, Arizonans currently receiving subsidies to help them pay their insurance premiums on the Federal exchange will lose that, since our state opted out of creating our own exchange.

Governor-elect Ducey has described the ACA as a “monumental failure” and has characterized the Medicaid expansion portion of it extending coverage to adults at 138% of the federal poverty level as a “massive new entitlement” that is “now being expanded as a middle class entitlement”. Since 138% FPL is considered middle class(!) by Doug Ducey, my guess is that people earning between 138 and 400% FPL – the group eligible for subsidies on the exchange – are wealthy to him.

A key theme of Ducey’s primary and general election campaigns was resisting “federal overreach” and in a pledge to Arizona voters, he vowed, if elected Governor, to “support all efforts by our congressional delegation to repeal and replace Obamacare”, while pursuing “every available means to negotiate a Medicaid waiver for Arizona, allowing us to take care of people who genuinely need help without turning it into a vast and unaffordable new entitlement”.

Again, if “genuinely need help” is defined by Doug Ducey as having an income significantly south of 138% federal poverty level, which is around $15K for an individual and $32K annual income for a family of four, it does not bode well for him agreeing to the creation of a state health insurance exchange providing subsidies to people luxuriating with slightly higher incomes than that. This is not even taking into consideration the inclinations of the Legislature, which remains in GOP hands.

It’s possible that business and health care provider interests will again prevail upon the new Governor and some GOP legislators to do the exchange so that thousands of Arizonans will not drop off the rolls of the insured. But I’m not holding my breath that Doug Ducey, who is far more of a right wing ideologue than Jan Brewer was and is openly hostile to the ACA, would go along with that.

So hope for the best in the Supreme Court decision and be reminded, once again, that elections have consequences.

Not treating Cathi Herrod with the utmost politeness is exactly the same as taking rights away from people, according to Channel 12 anchor Cooney

09 Nov 2014 02:42 pm
Posted by: Donna

Last Thursday, just two days after a midterm Republican sweep that left many liberals, including LGBT activists, in Arizona feeling devastated and worried the future of their newly won marriage rights, Channel 12 Phoenix aired a softball interview between anchor Lin Sue Cooney and the woman considered the mastermind of all of the anti-gay legislation in our state, Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod.

(Link for video, since embedded ones from Channel 12 open automatically.)

I’m not sure why there was this great need to “humanize” Herrod at this time. Her humanity was never in doubt. She’s a white, straight person of wealth and privilege. Furthermore, framing the interview as one with “one of the most outspoken Christians in Arizona” is a none-too-subtle way of implying that there is one true faith, and even one true kind of Christianity, in our state.

It’s mildly interesting that Herrod’s parents got divorced when she was a small child and that it affected her but Herrod’s childhood problems are not a basis upon which to give her, as a powerful religious lobbyist, a mostly uncritical platform to spew her dogma. My parents divorced when I was four but I didn’t go off on a spree of trying to shut down gay people’s and women’s rights as an adult because of it so why don’t I get an interview?

Herrod and Cooney closed out the interview with pearl-clutching over some tweets directed at Herrod by people angry over her constant attempts to deny them of basic human rights. Lin Sue Cooney signed off the segment by telling opponents of Cathi Herrod to “look at whether they’re guilty of hate, themselves”.


I have some helpful reading/viewing suggestions for Ms. Cooney, starting with:

The 13 Times the Reagan White House Erupted with Laughter over AIDS.

How to Survive a Plague People acting in very uncivil ways over a disease that was killing many of them, with no help from the same government that would bend over backwards to help Cathi Herrod with any problem she had, including the imaginary ones.

And The Band Played On. The seminal work of Randy Shilts on AIDS, who died of the disease in 1994.

Some people in this country know what it is like to be so hated that their government and fellow citizens would allow them to die. I was a teenager when the AIDS epidemic hit and I remember most of the adults around me treating it as either a joke or as just desserts for a “sinful” lifestyle. I don’t know what Herrod’s feelings were on AIDS back in the ’80s and ’90s but I did learn that a few years ago she wasn’t too keen on girls getting the HPV vaccine that would spare them from cervical cancer as adults.

The vaccine has become a hot-button issue across the U.S. with social conservatives rallying against requiring it because they say it sends the wrong message to young people about sex.

“This is not a disease that schoolchildren catch sitting at a desk,” said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which backed the prohibition.

Can’t you just feel the warm Christian love in that statement? Since Herrod thinks death is an appropriate punishment for slutty straight women, I’d say It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that she feels the same about the sodomites. But do go on about those “hateful” tweets, Lin Sue Cooney. This is yet more of the tiresome civility politics that treats every dispute as if it’s a disagreement in taste rather than a battle between powerful people and less powerful ones over the latter’s human rights and very lives.

“Reasonable” anti-choice law led to AZ Health Dept demanding to inspect a private home

06 Nov 2014 08:31 pm
Posted by: Donna

I recently had this little dudebro who supports Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) for reelection to LD09 House mansplain to me how Orr’s motivation for voting for HB2284 this past session, which would allow surprise warrantless inspections on abortion clinics, was “reasonable”, as if those of us who were angered by it were being hysterical overreacting bitches.


NARAL AZ, and its Executive Director Kat Sabine, are being represented by the ACLU in their complaint against the Arizona Department of Health Services. Here is their press release:

Arizona Health Officials Cannot Use Inspections for Intimidation, Harassment

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

CONTACT: Steve Kilar, ACLU of Arizona, 602-773-6007,

PHOENIX – Following a threat by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to search the home of a reproductive rights leader, the ACLU of Arizona is demanding records that will help establish whether intimidation tactics are routinely being used by the department against reproductive health service providers.

“Over the last few years, I have rallied against legislation targeted at reproductive health care providers,” said Kat Sabine, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona. “During this year’s legislative session, when our officials passed a law that allowed warrantless inspections of reproductive health clinics, I sounded the alarm, warning the public that such a law could be abused to intimidate health care providers and invade women’s privacy. Little did I know the state would turn around and target advocates like me.”

Three weeks ago, Ms. Sabine received a letter from ADHS stating they received a complaint alleging Ms. Sabine was providing health care services without a license. The letter threatened an inspection of Ms. Sabine’s Phoenix home.

Neither NARAL as an organization nor Ms. Sabine as an individual provide medical services. NARAL’s activities consist of “public education, citizen lobbying, and pro-choice voter mobilization.” ADHS gave no basis for its conclusion that Ms. Sabine’s home might be a health care facility.

“Our health department is basing its fishing expeditions on baseless complaints and using its authority to harass people in their homes,” Ms. Sabine said.

The response form ADHS required Ms. Sabine to return was faulty and could have misled her as to her legal options. It provided no space for her to deny the state’s allegation that her home is a healthcare institution nor did not provide a complete list of licensing exemptions, leaving off the statutory exception for community education and advocacy groups like NARAL.

“While it may be that these errors were all innocent, the circumstantial evidence is discomfiting, and you should be aware that further harassment of Ms. Sabine could subject you to liability for abuse of process or malicious prosecution,” ACLU of Arizona Senior Counsel Dan Pochoda wrote in a response to ADHS on Ms. Sabine’s behalf.

Following the ACLU’s reply, ADHS said they had “closed out the complaint.”

But, as the ACLU stated in its response, the concern remains that the state’s actions were “not intended to actually enforce the licensing laws … but to harass” Ms. Sabine.

Reproductive health care providers have reported an increase in inspections since H.B. 2284, permitting warrantless inspections of reproductive health clinics, went into effect several months ago. The request for public records the ACLU sent today to ADHS should clarify the criteria the state considers before demanding an inspection.

“Abusive enforcement of Arizona’s warrantless inspection law further erodes women’s expectation of privacy,” said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona. “Women should not fear intimidation or harassment by their government when making reproductive health choices.”
Click here for a copy of the ACLU’s letter on behalf of Ms. Sabine and NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona.
Click here for a copy of the ACLU’s request for public records relating to ADHS’s inspections of health care facilities.

Posted 6 hours ago by NARAL Arizona

Hopefully the ACLU will get to the bottom of who the nuisances are making these spurious complaints. One possibility – and I’m just spitballing here but I think it’s within the realm of plausibility – for why they targeted Sabine like this was the belief that she might stockpile abortion pills in her home. That would be illegal, since RU-486 requires a prescription, but anti-choicers could reasonably expect that some inspectors might confuse morning after pills (which are commonly kept on hand by pro-choice groups and activists) with abortion pills. Anti-choicers claim that Plan B is an “abortifacient” anyway so why wouldn’t a home with a supply of Plan B in it be considered an abortion clinic by them?

This perfectly illustrates how anti-choice laws are rarely what they are portrayed to be by proponents and how they can spiral wildly out of control even if their intentions were pristine, given how the anti-choice movement is swirling in absurd beliefs and outright malice toward sexually active women. Just as the Hobby Lobby case wasn’t about “religious freedom”, none of these TRAP laws, whether it’s waiting periods, requiring admitting privileges, requiring clinics to meet hospital-grade building standards, etc. are intended to increase the safety of abortion. They are intended to close clinics or otherwise make abortion difficult to access and sold as “reasonable” safety measures to an inattentive public and gullible journalists. Allowing surprise inspections of clinics was purely motivated by the desire to intimidate providers and humiliate patients. Now that anti-choicers have tried to invade the private home of a woman who disagrees with their views, is it finally time for the mainstream media to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Why don’t Democrats win in Arizona? Answer: Not enough Democratic voters

06 Nov 2014 12:05 pm
Posted by: Donna


Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money wants Democrats to stop trying to woo old white people who hate them:

So what’s up? I think there are a few really important points. Democrats need to just stop trying to appeal to old white people. White men voted for the GOP 64-34. It is a loser strategy. This demographic overwhelmingly votes GOP. Alison Grimes, who ran an utterly pathetic and embarrassing campaign, refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama is the prototype of how not to do it. No one is going to believe you. Heard a bunch about the North Carolina race last night and all the discussion about how Ebola, ISIS, and immigration dominated voters’ agenda. When I hear those three things in this context, I hear three words: racism, racism, and racism. And the Supreme Court supporting racist policies to restrict blacks from voting by eviscerating the Voting Rights Act allowed racists to indeed restrict black voting in meaningful ways that may well have swung North Carolina to the execrable Thom Tillis. Developing entire political campaigns to swing a few of these voters to the Democrats isn’t going to work–as we saw quite clearly last night.

Instead, Democrats need to give Latinos, African-Americans, and the young a reason to vote…

…That means that Democrats have to rethink their midterm election strategy is a very real way. It’s one thing when there’s a presidential campaign. But the politics of midterm elections means that the same types of political calculations don’t work. How do you do that? You make your party about actual issues that young people and people of color care about. You support legalizing marijuana and prison reform. You support a vigorous government jobs program. You embrace immigration all the way, demonizing those who oppose a path to citizenship and the decriminalization of undocumented immigrants as racists. You make a $15 national minimum wage central to your campaign strategy. You have to call for student debt forgiveness. You have to make your party the party of the poor and the non-white, and not just in the passive way. If the racists and the plutocrats don’t like that, well, they weren’t going to vote for you anyway

I’m actually skeptical that young people will ever be interested in midterms. I didn’t start voting in them regularly until I was well in my thirties, which is the time most people do. There’s no historical precedent for it and no amount of scolding or cajoling seems to even get midterms on young people’s radars. That said, Loomis’ advice is good in general and ought to be heeded in Arizona, where Democrats do shitty in Presidential years, even though our demographics would suggest we shouldn’t. To understand why that might be, take a look at our state’s latest voter registration figures:

Democrats 936,417
Republicans 1,114,713
Other 1,157,811

Republicans begin with a nearly 180K voter advantage over Democrats. That means they need to attract far fewer “other” voters to win elections and the opposite is true for Democrats. As the number of non-affiliated voters has risen and Democratic ones have dwindled over the years I’ve been assured that this is no problem because Democrats will reach out to those “independent” voters with a strong message on education and the economy and how we’re the more sane and reasonable ones and…zzzzzz…yeah, you can see how well this is working out.

Another problem with being complacent about the low number of Democratic voters is that candidates who think they are close or behind in their races tend to develop a frantic “every man for himself” approach at Get Out The Vote (GOTV) time, where they are trying to get votes everywhere they can, including from a lot of non-Democratic voters. This could mean they are getting votes for themselves at the expense of other Democratic candidates if those voters are splitting their ballots, as non-partisan voters are more likely to do. This vote-splitting is not, contrary to the insistence of Serious Pundits, necessarily borne of careful consideration of the merits of each candidate and it is not without troubling implications to Democrats:

Whether you’re a man or a woman doesn’t matter much in this context; neither does your age or race. While you’re more likely to be a ticket-splitter if you are a moderate or independent, the single best predictor of cross-party voting is still how much you know about politics: the less you know, the more you vote for two parties.

To measure political awareness I used a short quiz. The questions ranged from easy to difficult and asked people to choose the current job or office held by a somewhat prominent government official from a set of five choices. The questions, which were fielded in December of 2011, asked a representative sample of 45,000 people about legislative, executive and judicial branch leaders like Eric Cantor, Nancy Pelosi, John Roberts, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Joseph Biden. Most people (88 percent) knew what job Mr. Biden had, but many fewer (54 percent) knew that Mr. Cantor was a member of the House of Representatives. The least well-known person was Chief Justice Roberts, whom only 12 percent correctly identified.

Consider an otherwise average voter who is a self-described moderate and independent. At low levels of knowledge, this voter splits his or her ticket a third of the time (34 percent). At an average level of knowledge, the rate decreases to 18 percent of the time, and at the highest levels, these voters rarely split their tickets (10 percent). That’s a 24-point difference, which is a shift of nearly the same size as the one observable in the different political environments of Wyoming and West Virginia.

I combined the questions to form a scale of general political knowledge or awareness. In the bottom third, 12 percent of voters cast split tickets between president and Senate in 2012; this share decreased to 8 percent for those in the middle third of knowledge. Among voters with the highest levels of political information, only 4 percent split their votes…

…Despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, it is tempting to think that something as important as control of the Senate lies in the hands of voters who carefully pick and choose which candidates to vote for in each race on the ballot, but this seems unlikely. It is more likely that split-ticket voters are buffeted by idiosyncratic factors, like incumbency status, recent campaign advertising, and the tone and share of news coverage candidates receive.

So that Terry Goddard volunteer getting out the vote for Goddard from a low-efficacy non-Democratic voter may also be unwittingly getting out a vote for Doug Ducey and Mark Brnovich, based on the attack ads that voter has seen about Fred DuVal and Felecia Rotellini. The disparities in results in this year’s statewide races indicate that there was some ballot-splitting, though not enough to make a difference in any race save perhaps David Garcia’s for Superintendent of Public Instruction, which may flip to him as outstanding ballots are counted. In other races it probably does make a difference and getting votes out for Republicans at all simply increases their dominance and the influence of sleazy political operatives.

This goes back to what Loomis said about appealing to Democratic constituencies with proposals that will help them. And then taking them to the people who need to be registered as Democrats and kept informed. More Democratic voters in Arizona should be the number one priority of liberals who want to see a real change in this state.

GOP might get to continue to wage war on women by lying that they are doing that

04 Nov 2014 03:22 am
Posted by: Donna

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough offers this insight on the 2014 midterm election:

What an asshole. This is a guy who rose to prominence vigorously defending the murderer of an abortion doctor and subsequently voted for harsh anti-choice legislation when he got elected to Congress. Here’s what Scarborough had to say about that, on Morning Joe, after Dr. George Tiller was murdered in 2009:

“We’ve got to learn to sit down and talk,” said Scarborough at the climax of this morning’s several minute segment including co-host Mika Brzezinski and Pat Buchanan…
“People who are pro-life like myself can’t call people who are pro-choice murderers, and people who are pro-choice can’t call people who are pro-life — can’t claim they don’t give a damn about women and want women to die in back alley abortions. That is the sort of angry, heated rhetoric over the past quarter century that’s gotten us to where we are today.”

Oh, okay, it really is a problem on both sides, what with one side pushing for laws that treat abortion patients and doctors as if they are murderers constantly and sometimes, you know, actually killing doctors. Where does the other side get these ridiculous ideas about anti-choicers hating women? Gosh, why are pro-choicers so hysterical and ham-fisted?

Scarborough’s reference to the Denver Post was about their idiotic endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner over incumbent Democrat Mark Udall for US Senate.

Rather than run on his record, Udall’s campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman’s call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince…

For that matter, his past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.

Despite how shocked the Denver Post is by Udall so obnoxiously emphasizing Gardner’s record on reproductive rights, the fact is that Gardner is a major league anti-choicer who signed on to a Personhood bill in Congress and supported the Colorado Personhood ballot measure until he changed his tune just in time for the general election. Furthermore, the Post has no basis on which to claim that Gardner poses no threat to abortion rights in the US Senate. The Senate approves federal judges and Supreme Court Justices, after all.

There is clearly conventional wisdom forming that reproductive rights are now a losing issue for Democrats, because Republicans have had it drilled into them to avoid it and obfuscate about it, which many are doing successfully. Also, mockery is playing a big role in the strategy:

A tinny guitar intro leads the show. After a beat of introduction, Caldara cuts right to the issue that has defined the race. “I didn’t know you were that uterus crazy … so let’s just get it out of the way: personhood,” he says. He’s talking about bills put forward by anti-abortion groups in Colorado — bills Gardner supported until he announced he was running for Senate — to define fertilized eggs as people, which doctors warn would make abortion and some forms of birth control illegal. “Go.”

Pundits have taken to calling Udall “Mark Uterus”, which is super droll and really drives home how trivial the important people in the country consider women’s rights to control their bodies and reproduction to be. Then, there’s just straight-up lying about their positions Republican politicians are doing, as Cory Gardner does here:

“Well, I oppose the personhood amendment. Years ago I’d said that I’d supported it— it was the wrong idea. Looking at it, talking to people of Colorado, I don’t support it.” It’s just after 1 p.m., and at least the second time today he’s answered this line of questioning. Earlier, I asked what the federal bill was meant to do, if it wasn’t a personhood bill. “It’s a statement that I support life,” he said. But what’s the point if it doesn’t do anything? “Again, I think you have people who agree with it, and people who disagree with it. It’s a statement of people who support life.”

The Personhood bill in Congress is not a “statement”, it is a proposed law. Furthermore, Gardner’s new-found support for over-the-counter birth control sales means nothing, since it’s the FDA that would determine that, not Congress. That, and Gardner’s seeming reversal on personhood laws are designed to fool mid-term voters and lazy political reporters. It just might work for this election.

But at least in Colorado they are forced to have the conversation, due to the unique political forces there, such as a ballot measure to, um, give personhood rights to fertilized eggs. In Arizona, lucky Doug Ducey has not had to make a single public statement defending his views on abortion in his attempt to win the Governor seat as a Republican. The MSM here are famously squeamish about the issue, so Ducey gets a pass despite agreeing 100% with the Center for AZ Policy on their (practically) no exceptions abortion ban stance.

Whether the conventional wisdom-peddlers are joking about women’s rights or ignoring them, the message is the same: Women, you don’t matter, so don’t even bother. That should not be taken to mean that conservative anti-choice positions have suddenly become popular or that Democrats should stop making an issue of them. If conservatives win by lying they will go right ahead and attack women, leaving the pundits gasping to explain it. Who could have predicted that they would double-down on that stuff? Not us!

Well, we pro-choicers have predicted it, all along.