Thursday, May 14, 2009

"the Bush Administration, the most nefarious, right-wing hellbeast of anti-choice social conservativism to soil the White House in five generations"

Mark Morford is a columnist for SF Gate/SF Chron. This was originally published 5/13/9 here.

The Last Hotbutton
What do Judy Blume, bleating bishops, and the Supreme Court have in common?

And then came the swell tale of sweet Judy Blume, she of tender, coming-of-age "Are you there, God?" 'tween lit fame, sending out a letter on behalf of Planned Parenthood that dared to suggest that Mother's Day might be a terrific time to make a donation, and wouldn't it be nice to help women in need on this most charming of maternal-themed days, so sayeth the woman who taught you about masturbation and hormones and unbearable teen angst when you were 12 and bepimpled and tingling in the most interesting of places?

Can you guess what happened next? Of course you can.

Yes, the desperate anti-choice groups got a hold of Blume's letter and went appropriately apoplectic, accusing her of besmirching our most beloved of soft-focus Hallmark holidays by endorsing a group that "kills babies" and eats live kittens for breakfast and oh yes also helps women get informed and take charge of their own health and sexuality lest they accidentally get pregnant and give birth to uptight right-wing zealots who never have sex.

Upshot: Blume reportedly received a flood of hate mail, verbal attacks, even death threats. Planned Parenthood, smart enough to know a hunk of invaluable PR when they see it, did the right thing by leveraging news of the harassment and reportedly received a flood of donations in response. Thanks, zealots!

It was all trifling and forgettable on its own, were it not for other recent, related developments in the same righteous vein, most notably a cute flurry of conservative Catholic outrage over the fact that Notre Dame University has invited President Obama to deliver this year's commencement address.

Obama, apparently, accepted. And then Angry Catholic God (ACG) spewed coffee through His nose.

It's true. From what I can glean, upon hearing the news, ACG made a quick collect call to numerous conservative archdiocese around the nation and woke up a very tired army of old, peevish white men who also never have sex but who fantasize more about vaginas than any gaggle of humans on the planet, and told them to rally the faithful and launch a protest against Obama's speech, clearly not realizing that most Catholics love this president and no one really cares what conservative cardinals or bishops have to say. About anything. Ever.

No matter. See, the president is pro-choice. He is also pro stem-cell research. He is also thoughtful and deeply intelligent and far, far wiser and more supportive of women and women's rights that his lug-nut misogynist predecessor, and he has a fantastically smart, outspoken, pro-choice wife to show for it. This makes him a tremendous threat to grumpy male church leaders everywhere who, as a general rule, wouldn't know a vulva from a rototiller.

But wait, there's more. Perhaps you've heard that the GOP is preparing to fight like feral cats against Obama's nomination for the Supreme Court? Perhaps you've heard that they are ready to fight regardless of who the nominee might be, because s/he will doubtlessly be -- you guessed it -- pro-choice, pro-women, or (even worse) might actually be a woman? The horror.

As a warm-up, the Republicans have already reaffirmed their inept misogyny by bogging down the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius because, of course, Sebelius dares to be both intelligent and pro-choice, and heaven forefend we have a Secretary of Health and Human Services who A) actually understands female sexuality as it functions in this millennium, and B) is a woman.

Perhaps you are seeing a pattern. Perhaps you notice that maybe, at long last, we as a nasty divisive political culture have landed on the very last of the wedge issues, the final hot button in America, the last tepid little arrow in the GOP's limp quiver.

Could it be true? Because it appears the Right, having run out of ideas and leadership and viable agenda items of any kind, have now (re)turned to abortion as their last-gasp issue to prod and provoke and enflame what remains of their exhausted, burned-out flock.

It's not difficult to see why. After all, a huge chunk of the eastern seaboard has now hopped the glory train to all-consuming Hell and legalized gay marriage. That once all-powerful wedge issue is done and cooked. Even social conservatives admit it's now just a matter of time before gays nationwide are allowed to be just as unhappy and imminently divorced as everyone else. Glory be.

How about the War on Drugs? Not so much. Hell, even the Republican governator of the largest and most economically powerful state in the union admits he fired up and says legalizing pot is now a viable discussion topic. The hypocrisy and demonization regarding the world's safest natural inebriate might finally be nearing its end. It seems potential tax revenue trumps pseudo-moralizing every time. What a surprise.

Immigration still has some spark as a wedge issue, but mostly in committee and mostly among the border states, and everyone pretty much agrees it's low on the priority list these days, considering. Gun control? Ditto. Despite the inbred paranoid nutballs buying more ammo and going on murderous rampages, even Obama is steering pretty clear, except to renew the assault weapons ban.

So at the moment, abortion it is. The right appears to be kicking it around, seeing if there's any fire left and if they can get anyone to care beyond a few die-hard misogynists, bishops and Newt Gingrich.

Can we make an easy prediction right now? Can we just state the obvious? The effort will fail. It's already failed. In fact, it failed a number of years ago.

Put it this way: If the Bush Administration, the most nefarious, right-wing hellbeast of anti-choice social conservativism to soil the White House in five generations, with its Republican congress and front-loaded Supreme Court and Ted Haggard and Jerry Falwell fluffing the president on a weekly basis, if that vile, ultraconservative crew couldn't inflict permanent damage on Roe v. Wade and crush women's rights forever, it simply cannot and will not be done. Not now, not ever.

Here is your final evidence, ultimate proof of the forgone nature of the Right's pitiable abortion battle. The anti-choice groups have already announced they have given up on this liberal baby-killing president, and are looking to the future, to their very last hope, to the one person who might be able to overturn Roe once and for all and put women back in their place.

Yes, they are kneeling and praying for a Sarah Palin presidential victory in 2012. Hell, even Judy Blume is laughing at that one.
Thank LR#4. Heal fast.

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