Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just another wave of social conservatism

In light of the controversy surrounding Republican Representative and Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, some Tea Party supporters have been trying to distance themselves from Akin. They insist that their brand of conservatism is fiscal and above the petty distinctions between the Democrats and the Republicans. Tea Party people, they tell me, are bipartisan with diverse opinions on social policy who are united only by their shared concern over runaway government spending.

I call bullshit on that. The Republicans elected in the wave of Tea Party support in 2010 are instead full bore conservatives, up to and including being extreme social conservatives. And that is exactly what their voting record shows. In the US Congress as well as many state governments, as soon as Tea Party Republicans got seated, they began to work on that hallmark of social conservative issues: anti-abortion legislation. They were very successful at it too.

In the first six months of 2011, state legislatures enacted 162 new provisions concerning reproductive health and rights. The majority Republican US House of Representatives passed federal restrictions on abortion and reproductive health care funding in the Protect Life Act which even included some now familiar redefinitions of rape to be only “forcible rape” in early drafts. Incidentally, every single House Republican voted to pass the Protect Life Act. All told, 2011 was a record year for laws restricting abortion and limiting reproductive rights for women.

Even if I did agree with Tea Party Republicans on their economic and fiscal ideas (I don’t by the way) I would still not vote for them, because of their social conservatism. That they lie about that facet of their political agenda makes them even more repellant to me.

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