The Guardian asked me to join their panel of experts to weigh in on the U.S. government shutdown. Here’s my take:
When President Lyndon B Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he reportedly said to his aide Bill Moyers, “We have given away the South for a generation.” A southerner, a politician’s politician, a legendary vote counter, in full possession of his reason, decided to use his much-prized power to do right. Johnson knew he had signed away his party’s control over the federal government for a generation. The GOP needs its own LBJ. READ MORE
You’d think the GOP would have learned not to meddle in our sex lives. But that’s not the case: In red states, Republican politicians are cracking down on abortion, sex education, access to birth control—even divorce. It’s as if the 2012 election never happened.
Consider Virginia, where Republican attorney general Ken Cuccinelli pursued a felony sodomy conviction against a man who’d solicited oral sex from a female. Sodomy laws are unconstitutional, of course, something the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had to remind Cuccinelli of not once but twice. North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would send couples to marriage counseling and enact a two-year waiting period before they would be allowed to divorce. Ohio Republicans want to slap sex-ed teachers with a $5,000 fine if they talk about “gateway sexual activity” in a way that leads students to “any touching of an erogenous zone…for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.” South Dakota got creative with the concept of time: Weekends and holidays no longer count toward the 72 hours a woman must wait before having an abortion. READ MORE
Will Republicans win control of the US Senate in 2014? Election analysts now think the GOP has even odds of picking up the six seats needed to win the majority.
No sweat! All Republicans have to do is defeat an incumbent woman Democrat in North Carolina, land of omnibus motorcycle-and-abortion bills, where the GOP governor and legislature are less popular than pro-abortion rights protesters. Republicans just have to hold Georgia, where one candidate thinks Todd Akin was “partially right”: “We tell infertile couples all the time … don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.” READ MORE
That the United States lacks anything resembling a 21st century family policy is not an oversight. It is not because American society refuses to come to grips with the reality of working mothers. Rather, it is the result of a political hijacking so fabulously successful it wiped away virtually any trace of its own handiwork. READ MORE
Your sex life is destroying America. That’s according to Iowa Republican Steve King, who took to the floor of the House last summer to explain that sex for pleasure—instead of for creating babies—would make Americans extinct. A year later, his colleague Mike Kelly called a press conference to sound the alarm that affordable birth control was a plot to destroy the nation. “I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7. That’s Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11.… I want you to remember August 1, 2012”—the day a mandate went into effect requiring health insurers to provide free contraception coverage. “That is a date that will live in infamy,” the representative from Pennsylvania declaimed on the steps of Congress, his face reddening as he rallied fellow patriots to join his fight. READ MORE