Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bare Knuckle Politics: Immigrants and Gays

If I were a Democrat and I was hoping for a single perfect issue to blunt the 2014 Republican midterm advantage I would want something that combined gays, immigration, and women's rights. Thus far, I'd have 2 of the three:
Rubio: ‘I’m done’ if immigration bill includes gay couple amendment
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a co-author and key proponent of the Senate immigration bill, said he will revoke his support if an amendment is added that allows gay Americans to petition for same-sex spouses living abroad to secure a green card.
The real--actual--issue around Immigration is border security in the form of a wall. Walls, after all, do tend to actually secure a border. There is nothing wrong with a nation physically enforcing its sovereignty and, if immigration policy is actually improved, a wall--save for the cost--should be a rational compromise. After all, if we started getting actual terrorists coming over--instead of sub-minimum wage laborers--we'd build that wall right quick, wouldn't we?

The issue that's being discussed, however, is whether or not the marriage rules (which allow spouses to immigrate) should apply to gay couples. This is an incredible non-issue: sure, millions of immigrants might declare they are gay in order to immigrate but in terms of hypotheticals that doesn't even rate a raised eyebrow. Any position you can defeat with the Incredulous Stare argument shouldn't be taken seriously.

So why are we having that conversation? It's because presidential hopeful Marco Rubio needs to keep his credentials as untarnished as possible (he's already getting called a traitor) and the base simply will not tolerate immigrating gays. On the other side of the scale is the youth-vote which is so gay-friendly it's ridiculous.

This rule creates a win-win for the Democrats: if the immigration bill gets shot down? Recruiting issue! If it goes through? Gay-friendly-issue. It's the kind of fight the Democrats want: the kind where their opponent is forced to tie one hand behind their own back before getting in the ring.

On the women's rights issue? Well, the GOP is going after abortion again. That's actually good for them: the public generally believes that at some point a 'fetus' becomes a 'baby' and while that point may not be conception there's enough gray zone that a lot of caution is called for. I've got no problem with that--and I'm not even sure it needs to be a per-state thing (although that's the safe way to talk about it).

On the other hand, women have zero tolerance for Republicans blabbing about rape. So what do they do?

  • (A) Just entirely shut up about the r-word.
  • (B) Adopt the position that rape is always bad and that a woman should not be forced by the state to bear the child of her rapist.
  • (C) Blab about how rarely rape results in pregnancy.
If you don't know the answer you aren't reading enough. It's always (C). So let's look:
"The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks, R-Ariz., said during a Judiciary committee markup of his legislation today as he expressed his opposition to a Democratic amendment to allow exceptions for rape and incest.

“When you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours and, in this case, that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation and that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose of such an amendment.”
Now--what he's saying here is, uh, supposed to be perfectly reasonable:
In other words, it’s basic statistical analysis, nothing more. Using Chait’s numbers on overall abortions, the percentage that a rape exception would allow would be about 10% of all abortion requests — which leaves 90% as elective abortions for the purpose of convenience. And as Franks was trying to point out, after a 20 week period in which abortions would still be legal if this bill became law, the percentage of abortions under that exception should be much. much lower.

Is it? Perfectly reasonable? No. If the total number of abortions from rape (some stats show that 5% of rapes result in pregnancy) is low that is an argument in favor of an exception. After all, if you think someone is doing a bad thing some of the time you want a lot less of it, right? If you think that once in a teeny-weeny while the bad thing might not be so bad you can let a little of it in.

Now, this does create a problem: if the woman says she has been raped, what do you do? The answer is: you provide the abortion, motherfucker. It isn't rocket science. Yes, it may lead to some bogus rape allegations (or, even more frightening, rape charges), but if your goal is the fewest abortions you can get this actually gets you closer than 'the fewest abortions you can think of which is a position that will cost you the votes of young women'--which is the option Franks wants.

But even beyond the simple 'math' and 'logic,' there is this: Akin thought his statement was both scientific and perfectly reasonable. So did Franks. Is a 5% estimate "very low?" Well, maybe: if it's the chance of rain? Yeah: I schedule my picnic. If it's my chance of dying horribly when taking a new drug? No: 1 in 20 is way too high. That goes for 1% too. 

You know who gets to decide if this statement is reasonable? If the percentage is low? Voters. We have to remember that 'The Base' are voters too--in the mid-terms, maybe most of them--but if I were a Dem-strategist looking for a wedge to drive between women and Republicans? To turn 'em out to the polls? Rape is a pretty good one.

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