The Republican Party must have a death wish.
It cannot win a national election without the support of (a) Latinos (b) Women (c) African-Americans, and (d) Independents.
Yet The Grand Old Party appears to be doing everything in its power to alienate these voters forever.
A couple of weeks ago, when California Representative Darrell Issa convened an all-male panel on birth control, he contended that the issue was not women's health, but "religious freedom." So he refused to invite Sandra Fluke, a young law student to speak. .
Later, furious Democrats held their own hearing. As Diane Roberts recounts it in The Guardian, Fluke testified there that while Georgetown, the Roman Catholic-run university she attends, provides some health insurance, it does not include contraception -- and the pill can cost $1,000 per year. Women take contraception for a variety of medical reasons, not only to prevent pregnancy, she said, recounting the story of a friend, a fellow student, who needed the pill to treat cysts. She couldn't afford it, got sick and had to have an ovary removed.
Fluke's reward for being candid? A profane and uninformed trashing by potty-mouth Rush Limbaugh, who called her a prostitute and a slut because she wanted to get paid (presumably insurance premiums) for having sex. He also demanded that she post videos of her sexual encounters on the Internet "so we could all see them." Limbaugh lost a ton of sponsors, but conservative bloggers, radio interviewers and Fox News continued their attack on Fluke.
And the response of Republic Presidential candidates and their funders? Well, frontrunner Mitt Romney said meekly of Limbaugh's insults, "it's not the language I would have used." Newt Gingrich blamed "the media" for exploiting the story and said there were far more important issues -- Barack Obama's "war on religion", for example. Santorem's Daddy Warbucks reminisced on television that "back in the day" women used aspirin to keep from getting pregnant: "The gals put it between their knees. Santorem himself described contraception as "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said about a bill that would require ultrasounds for women seeking to have abortions, that those who didn't want to see the fetal images could "just ... close your eyes."
And in another big GOP idea that will further endear the front-runner to women and independents, Romney's is cheering up his Republican caucus in Congress by proposing to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood, which provides vital health services to women all over the country. Its abortion practice represents less than three per cent of its total care, and no federal tax dollars are involved in that part of the practice. For many women, Planned Parenthood is their sole health care provider. So its destruction would be exactly what you'd propose if your mission was to completely lose your last vestige of credibility with women voters.