There's plenty of crazy left in her.
In a setback for the far-Right wingnuts who are trying to take over Idaho, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin lost her bid to replace incumbent Gov. Brad Little, a more conventional right-wing Republican. The final tally isn't in yet, but as of 3 a.m. "Mountain Time," Little had 53 percent of the vote in the seven-candidate Republican primary, with McGeachin well behind with 32 percent. An "Ed Humphreys" managed to get 11 percent, and the other four candidates all got less than two percent of the vote. High Plains Grifter Ammon Bundy had originally filed to run in the GOP primary, but dropped out in February to run as an independent, so look for him to try this fall to capture votes from McGeachin supporters who consider Little — a bog standard very conservative Republican — some kind of radical socialist.
McGeachin had made her absolute devotion to Donald Trump and his Big Lie about winning the 2020 election central to her campaign, which won her Trump's endorsement. She also blasted Little as a "RINO" for having left it up to local officials to decide whether to require masks during the pandemic, although Little never ordered a statewide mask mandate.
The day before the primary, McGeachin also accused Little of "cowardly parroting leftist talking points" [sic] for having expressed sympathy for George Floyd (while also praising law enforcement), and for having condemned violence during the January 6 insurrection. Only a crazy communist would consider violence "inexcusable," after all.
A record number of people moved from California and Washington to Idaho in the last 2 years because they watched their cities burn to the ground as their politicians stood by and did nothing. Brad Little is no better, cowardly parroting leftist talking points. #idpolpic.twitter.com/McgQfXqDQV— Janice McGeachin (@Janice McGeachin) 1652726051
A record number of people moved from California and Washington to Idaho in the last 2 years because they watched their cities burn to the ground as their politicians stood by and did nothing. Brad Little is no better, cowardly parroting leftist talking points.
Fact check: No cities in the United states have burned to the ground, apart from some smaller towns destroyed by wildfires. (But maybe Antifa set those fires!)
Adieu, Crazy Bible Gun Lady, For Now
Idaho runs separate elections for governor and lieutenant governor, so McGeachin and Little were not running mates when first elected in 2018. In October 2020, as Idaho faced record rates of Covid infections and hospitalizations, McGeachin went into full right-wing crazy mode, joining Republican legislators in declaring absolute resistance to all government measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus, because Liberty. She's a darling of the far-right Idaho Freedom Foundation, and we won't be the least bit surprised if she ends up getting a job there when she leaves office in January. The IFF and the crazies in the Lege even made a fun video!
McGeachin made national news last year when she twice used her temporary powers as governor, while Little was out of the state, to issue batshit executive orders that Little rescinded the minute he returned to Idaho. The first time, in June, she banned all local governments and school districts from requiring face masks, although nobody took it seriously. Then in October, Little was out of the state again, so that time McGeachin issued an order banning vaccine mandates and mandatory testing, and also explored calling up the National Guard to deploy it to the US-Mexico border.
Again, Little rescinded the order and condemned McGeachin's "political grandstanding," a charge that might have carried a bit more weight were it not for the reason Little had left the state: He'd flown to Texas, which for you geography fans is nowhere near Idaho, to meet with other Republican governors to complain about the immigration "crisis" at the border. How dare she interrupt his political grandstanding by attempting an even more ludicrous political stunt?
More recently, McGeachin called on Little earlier this month to convene a special session of the legislature so it could fix Idaho's trigger law banning abortion. She wanted to strip out the existing law's exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of a pregnant person who might die if they continued a pregnancy. McGeachin said those were simply too many loopholes, although the rape and incest exceptions already require that a police report be verified before any procedure.
In a press release, McGeachin explained that even the life-saving exception was likely to be abused:
I believe that life begins at conception, and no child should be killed because of the circumstances surrounding his or her conception. Of course I understand that there are rare medical emergencies in which it may be impossible to save the life of both the mother and the child. In such rare occurrences, a difficult decision may have to be made, but Idaho law must never allow for elective abortion masquerading as medical necessity.
You know how doctors and pregnant ladies are -- they'd probably just use medical emergencies as an excuse to sneak in some baby-killing.
One Wingnut Loses, Another Wins
In other Idaho primaries, the lieutenant governor's race was won by another "establishment" (and still hyper-conservative) Republican, state House speaker Scott Bedke, who defeated an absolutely awful far-right candidate, state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, who was also an absolute trainwreck. She was censured by the state House last year after sharing a blog post that identified by name a 19-year-old intern who had accused then-state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape. Von Ehlinger resigned from the House and was convicted of rape last month; he's awaiting sentencing. Giddings was also an antivaxxer long before the pandemic, pushing legislation that would have prevented employer "discrimination" against unvaccinated workers. We're sure shell keep doing the crazy after she leaves the Lege, too.
Oh, yes, perennial candidate "Pro-Life, a person formerly known as Marvin Richardson" -- that's how he's listed on the ballot -- will be back in the fall, as the Constitution Party candidate for LG.
But in a big win for righties, former congressman Raul Labrador has won the R nomination for attorney general, turfing out incumbent AG Lawrence Wasden, who's very conservative but relatively sane. Wasden has occasionally been a voice of sanity in the state, pointing out when various bills pushed by the Lege are blatantly unconstitutional, and that's made him some enemies. As Boise State Public Radio reports,
Labrador used those instances as an argument for electing him instead, saying the Legislature doesn’t trust Wasden anymore, even when he gives good legal advice.
Now Labrador can start issuing terrible legal advice that will make right-wing legislators happy, we assume. Wasden, for instance, declined to join Texas's insane (and unsuccessful) lawsuit to throw out the 2020 election, but Labrador said that was exactly the kind of lawsuit he'd love to get involved with, to fight "federal overreach." Labrador is a big fan of free speech, like that time in 2017 when his congressional office in Lewiston called the cops to complain of "threats" from elderly voters who were petitioning to preserve the Affordable Care Act. He also drew widespread condemnation when he declared at a town hall that there's no need for Obamacare, since after all, “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” He later explained that his phrasing "wasn't very elegant."
But now that the Supremes are about to overturn Roe, Idaho no longer needs Wasden cautioning that insane abortion bans are unconstitutional, so the state can pursue other extremist legislation, and Labrador will no doubt cost the state millions and millions of dollars defending them against lawsuits.
Idaho's Two-Party System: Right-wing Republicans And Barking Insane Wingnuts
Since Idaho is such a heavily Republican state, the GOP primary effectively decides most statewide races well ahead of the general election in November, so Little is likely to cruise to a second term against Democratic nominee Stephen Heidt, who was the only Dem on the ballot. There were also two write-in contenders for the Democratic gubernatorial race, Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, and sweaty antisemite David J. Reilly, the far-right dick who lost his 2021 bid for a school board seat and thought it would be hilarious to try getting the Democratic nomination for governor, because what if he won? Then he could promote the "great replacement theory" and claim that Jews "pretend to be white" as a Democrat!
Oh, yes, Reilly was also among the Kootenai County Republicans who tried during the spring to take over the county Democratic party by running as precinct captains. Had the scheme worked, the goal was reportedly to install him as the chair of the local Dems, both for the lulz, because wouldn't that make Dems mad, and also so he could direct party funds and donations to right-wing causes.
But we digress. Democratic write-ins received only a fraction of the vote anyway, so Mr. Heidt will be the sacrificial opponent to Little this fall. And Janice McGeachin can crawl off to cry with the Freedom Foundation until the next election cycle. She'll be back.
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Fuck it, we'll watch it live on WonkTV!
There's a hearing about abortion rights today in the House Judiciary Committee. And because this is Congress, even vile misogynistic authoritarian nationalist Republicans will get to talk.
So if you're in the mood to hear some shit to keep you mad and motivated to get yourself and others to the polls, listen to this shit:
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The Sunday shows, as always, were a festival of horribleness this weekend.
So let's talk about abortion with some GOP governors!
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on 'Fox News Sunday'
On "Fox News Sunday," host Shannon Bream interviewed Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt about a law he signed that would make performing abortions punishable with up to 10 years in jail and $100,000 in fines. Bream cited research showing up to 51 percent of Oklahomans believe abortion should be legal. Stitt countered with alternative facts:
STITT: Well, some of those -- your -- some of those different facts or those newspapers that you're quoting are not what we find with the people in Oklahoma. [...] The representatives are elected from all over the state of Oklahoma, probably 80 percent to 90 percent passage in our state. So, I totally disagree with those numbers.
Bream pointed out his anti-abortion bill doesn't make exceptions for rape or incest. When asked what he'd say to women in such situations, he sounded tone deaf and insincere:
STITT: Well, first off, super compassionate about that. I have daughters, cannot even imagine what that would be like and that hardship. [...] We're going to do everything we can to protect life and love both the mother and the child.
Super-duper compassionate that Oklahoma will force you to have your rapist's baby.
Bream showed these stats, which suggest Oklahoma's concern for mothers and children essentially ends at the moment of birth:
But once again, Stitt had alternative facts. That, and a Freudian slip:
STITT: Well, I mean, here's the deal. Is the answer to the socialist Democrat left to abort poor kids? I mean, that's just ridiculous to even kind of quote those types of stats.
No one said anything about "aborting poor kids."
George Carlin called out how little anti-abortion conservatives actually care for mothers and children a very long time ago. Some things never change:
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on CNN's 'State Of The Union'
On CNN, Dana Bash interviewed Nebraska GOP Gov. Pete Ricketts, who wants to ban abortion completely in Nebraska once Roe v. Wade goes away, with no exemptions for rape or incest. He's got some alternative science about life beginning at "conception." Bash tried to appeal to some sort of non-existent sense of decency:
BASH: Including in the case of rape or incest?
RICKETTS: They're still babies too. Yes, they're still babies.
Once again, we refer you to George Carlin.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on CNN's "State Of The Union"
On the same show, Bash asked Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi about criticisms of Democratic leadership's failure to see the GOP's long game on abortion. Here's what Pelosi had to say:
PELOSI: Well, I mean, no, I mean, the point is, is, who would have ever suspected that a creature like Donald Trump would become president of the United States, waving a list of judges that he would appoint, therefore, getting the support of the far right, and appointing those anti-just freedom justices to the court? So, this is not about long game. We played a long game. We won Roe v. Wade a long time ago.
Referring to the length of time since Roe was decided is not "playing the long game." The judges Donald Trump nominated would have been the same without Trump, because they were not really picked by Trump. By Pelosi's own admission, the GOP has made its intentions on Roe clear for a long time. They should have been taken seriously.
Democratic leadership needs to stop longing for a "big, strong Republican Party" from yesteryear. Today's conservatism is an existential threat. The GOP is not an opposition party. Hell, just sample a few Wonkette headlines from the last 24 hours, you'll get a pretty good idea of what the GOP is.
Have a week.
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Let's talk about it!
On Thursday, the Pro-Choice Caucus, led by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), released new messaging guidelines to help their colleagues address abortion more effectively. So far, there's been a lot of pushback from a lot of people (mostly cis men who will never need to have an abortion themselves) who are mad about it for one reason or another. For some, it's because we shouldn't be talking about words and messaging at a time like this, for others it's because they are particularly attached to some of the messaging that this messaging is meant to replace.
The interesting thing here is that the messaging guidelines have moderates complaining that the new terms will alienate people who aren't totally into abortion but might be okay with it under some circumstances and those on the opposite end who feel that these terms are probably focus-group-tested changes invented by "messaging gurus" that are even less direct than the terms they are replacing. As if Barbara "Literally The Only Member of Congress to Vote Against Letting Bush Invade Afghanistan" Lee has any history at all of that.
And of course there are those complaining that this is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and we shouldn't be doing this, we should be doing some other thing.
One thing that is very much worth understanding is that these are not "focus group" tested changes. Rather, many of them are changes that have been asked for and encouraged by actual abortion rights and access activists for a long time now, working within a reproductive justice framework and geared towards destigmatizing abortion and addressing the realities of today rather than those of 1973.
Another important thing to understand is this was meant to be an internal memo for politicians writing bills, not for literally everyone discussing abortion, ever.
But hey, we've got them now, so let's discuss.
Choice vs. Decision
So! While many of us still use it a lot (in my case mainly due to the fact that it doesn't take up much headline space), "choice" has largely fallen out of favor among reproductive freedom advocates for a variety of reasons — a big one being the fact that even with abortion being legal, not everyone has access to it.
The language of “choice” centers one person’s decision to get an abortion or not; a choice is something one person makes. Focusing on someone’s “choice” erases the structural, societal factors that determine how and if someone can get health care, and the quality of that care. These factors are not incidental or insignificant: they leave many people with no choices at all..
“Choice” assumes that everyone can get an abortion, and someone just has to choose whether or not they want one. Not everyone can get an abortion when they want one. Black feminists and feminists of color have pointed out that this isn’t the case: the legal right to choose to have an abortion does not always mean someone can actually get an abortion. “Choice” ignores the lived realities of people, especially Black people and people of color, who face barriers that are often compounded by racist and classist policies that keep them from the care they need.
Generally speaking, we've moved away from choice and towards terms like pro-abortion, pro-abortion access, reproductive freedom, reproductive justice, etc.
That being said, "decision," as a term, has a certain amount of gravity and finality that choice doesn't necessarily have, and is more consistent with the view of abortion as a health care issue. It also includes the many people who have abortions not because they want to, but for their own health or because of a fatal foetal abnormality.
Reduce abortion/"safe, legal and rare" vs. Safe, legal and accessible
The reasoning for this should be obvious — it reduces stigma. It's also some pretty crappy language to use when, again, not everyone has access even when it is legal.
But it's also particularly contentious among moderates who believe that this is a magic phrase that makes people who are not comfortable with abortion more likely to support it being legal. This is some deeply flawed logic.
When people are excessively self-deprecating, it's often because they want to soften what they imagine is an incoming blow to their self-esteem. It's wanting to make the joke first so no one else can. Except that it actually also reinforces whatever terrible thing you say about yourself in the mind of the person you're talking to, because you are the foremost authority on yourself and if you think you suck, who are they to disagree?
It's the same deal with policy. The people who want to say "safe, legal and rare" think they are softening the blow from those who believe it should be entirely non-existent while also sounding very reasonable, but everyone else, whether consciously or in their lizard brain, hears it as "Wow, even those who think it should be legal admit that it's bad, so it must be really bad." If you think something is good, say it's good.
Abortion is GOOD.
Unwanted pregnancy vs. Unexpected pregnancy
It's better because it's just more immediately relatable, is all. There's the fact that anti-choicers have had too long to work with it and create a narrative around those who have an "unwanted pregnancy" as being selfish and cruel for not wanting it — not to mention feeling like they can reasonably respond to it by telling the pregnant person to just give the baby up for adoption and ignore the fact that it is also entirely reasonable to not want to be pregnant or give birth.
Conscience clause/Protections vs. Refusal of care/Denial of care laws
Well this one should be obvious.
Back-alley abortions/Coat hangers vs Criminalizing healthcare
This is another one people had a big problem with, especially one guy who just would not stop arguing with me about it. I get it, because when I first heard this from Robin Marty, I was highly skeptical. Admittedly, I had used the scene from Mommy Dearest in more than a few articles (though really, given that I also think Christina Crawford was kind of full of shit — for reasons which are well known to me — it wasn't that big of a loss).
There is a reason why those whose primary concern is the safety of pregnant people and access to abortion have been the ones leading the charge on this — no one wants anyone to think that their first option if they have an unwanted pregnancy in a state where it is illegal is a wire hanger or throwing themselves down the stairs. There are safer options for self-managed abortions, particularly in the first trimester, and it's important that people are aware of that. We have medication abortions and there will be ways of getting it to people.
The reality of abortion in 2022 is very different from the reality of abortion in 1973. This is not to say that it is not dangerous to make abortion illegal, because it absolutely is, but we don't need to make it more dangerous than it has to be.
Any value that this has rhetorically is just vastly outweighed by the potential danger it might cause.
Times have changed with abortion, and as we rise up against those who would oppress us and take away the right to abortion, I ask you to not use the coat hanger as a rallying cry, because that is the symbol of my era, a time when a pregnancy could only be ended with a procedure. The symbol for this era is a pill. And while it may be hard to get, and we need to work on improving access, we don’t want to give people the idea that in desperation a coat hanger or injecting Lysol or throwing themselves down the stairs is the best option. Because they’re not. If people are going to access a self-managed abortion that may be clandestine as far as the State is considered, the best option for many may be misoprostol.
Mifepristone and misoprostol together is ideal, and while I think everyone should have that option, it may not be possible for everyone to access. So it is important that people know how effective misoprostol alone is and where they can get it. And as I have written here, there is no way any doctor or nurse or police lab can determine if you have taken it as long as you take it under your tongue or place the tablets against your cheek.
Everyone needs to know this.
Additionally, sending people to prison for having or performing abortions, for getting any kind of health care, is also horrific in and of itself.
It feels really important to note that Barbara Lee herself actually did have a "back alley" illegal abortion in Mexico before Roe v. Wade passed. This is not some hypothetical for her, it is her lived experience.
The way we talk about things is important, the way we frame things is important, and it just can't always be about what is personally satisfying for those saying it.
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