Last week I had some fun with the now infamous Virginia bill that would have required women seeking abortions to be, for lack of a subtler term, vaginally probed. Virginia Democrats won a rare victory by getting that provision withdrawn from the bill, with an assist from the massive amount of publicity given the issue by pro choice groups.

Wait, I don't think "victory" is the word I'm looking for here. From the Washington Post story on Gov. Bob McConnell's change of heart on vaginal ultrasound:

Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions, but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.

This is yet another example of a technique that the modern GOP uses with great success: a kind of legislative Red Herring wherein they add something blatantly ridiculous to a bill and then "compromise" by agreeing to remove it. And then they pass the bill they wanted all along. The Democrats are forever playing defense, then celebrating their big win when they manage to get the Trojan Horse provisions removed. Good job, guys. Too bad the rest of the bill sucks too. They make themselves relevant by occasionally limiting the worst excesses of Republican insanity. It's inspiring.

This trick is probably as old as humanity, dating back to the first time one caveman tried to buy something from another. Start by demanding the moon and then "compromise" by accepting a little less than that. Psychologists have labeled this the "Door in the face" technique. Of course this only works on the uninformed, the inexperienced, and the gullible. So yeah, it pretty much works all the time in American politics. Some legislature debates a bill consisting of tax cuts for the wealthy and a swift punch to the balls for the working class. After much emotional debate and fierce Democratic opposition, the Republicans grudgingly agree to drop the ball punch.

And this would be hilarious if it didn't work all the time.

19 thoughts on “THE GRAND BARGAIN”

  • Your cynism in this case is spot on.

    The problem we have is that the Left plays nice and thinks that Freddie Kruger will too, and won't mess us up too badly. We tend to be the mother of the child who'd rather let it be stolen rather than cut in half. Unfortunately, we don't have a King Solomon to see through the insanity.

    Hopefully to gauge the reaction we've seen in some of the states eg Walker, the Debt CeilingSE fiasco and w OWS the Left is starting to wake up to the smelling salts to fact that the house has been set afire.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    The Democrats in Virginia have little or no choice. The Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches. The Republican leaders in VA have their feet firmly in the antebellum. The AG, for instance, is a bright individual with a mind set around the time of the Spanish Inquisition. VA's congress makes Saudi Arabia look liberal.

    We are not talking political tricks, we are firmly set in the dark ages. The painful reality is that the Democrats are MIA. Led by the ambassador of the rich, i.e. Obama, we are in deep dudu.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Oh goody!
    Now, the "Dicks for Dildos" only want to stick their finger in, instead.

    At least they'll say it's their finger – and the Democrats will believe them.

    What a sorry lot we have defending women.
    Sorry, women – you deserve better.

    Conservatives are using "The Handmaid's Tale" as an instruction manual.

  • I don't think that is necessarily always a conscious strategy on the part of the GOP, but instead results from having so many completely looneytunes in their caucus. The GOP 'leaders' have to walk the loons back, sometimes, but in some cases, I'm sure that they would prefer not to have to.

    Of course, in the next election, 'caving on the vaginal probing' will make candidates unacceptable to the base. Squishes!

  • I was wondering if they weren't going to do the same thing here in cheesehead land with the recently revoked 'Equal Pay Act' which makes it harder for women to sue when they are paid less than men for equal work. It passed one house of the legislature, and will go to the other this week. It could pass and end up on Scooters desk. He, however, could veto it and look all helpfulltowomenny. That may be a little too 3rd level Jedi mind chess for these clowns, however.

  • Thanks to Fiddlin' Bill for the URL. I can never index enough smart, entertaining blogs, which are themselves balms for these times. Slightly overwritten compared to Ed, not to nitpick.

  • In other words – propose the patently insane so that the merely outrageous looks "reasonable" in comparison.

    Meanwhile the Overton Window gets dragged catapultedfurther to the right.

  • Anyone see the last Tom Tomorrow?

    Oh, I wish he hadn’t given them any ideas!

    And thus, was a new right wing movement born:
    “Conservatives for Clitorectomies!”

    And the women have to pay for them out-of-pocket.

    If we have to have some form of health care in this country, the least we can do is demand that it doesn’t pay for anything involving lady parts.

  • You are starting from the false premise that Democrats are actually pro-choice. Unfortunately, over and over again, Democrats have made women's access to abortion a negotiable idea. Much of the party is quite happy to live with restrictions on the right to choice while blaming the Republicans.

  • Much of the party is quite happy to live with restrictions on the right to choice while blaming the Republicans.

    Particularly delightful, of course, is the election-time chorus of liberal commentators, including bloggers and those writing in the MSM, advising women to sit down and shut up on reproductive rights because 'it's not the time'.

    The best, it would seem, that can be elicited from Dems on abortion, is a tight-lipped equivocation that it be 'safe, legal, and rare'.

  • It's working far better than that because as a result a bunch of wingnuts woke up and realized "ZOMG MY STATE MANDATES CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE EVUL SOCIALIST MURDER MURDER." And now we have states like New Hampshire already working to roll back their state mandates which no one gave a shit about a month ago.


    On the other hand. Republicans are now the party that's against birth control and sex in a very obvious way. And I wonder if in the long run this won't hurt them? Probably not as much as we liberals would like to think.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Southern Beale,
    Here's some people's mentality on sex and birth control:
    My significant other and I make love – THOSE people FUCK!

    And my significant other and i can afford birth control – why can't they?

    My father is dying with Stage 4 cancer. He's thinking about chemo to extend his life a little longer (mostly for my mother's sake).
    I read the warnings on the chemicals they may use.
    Both of them state that men and women MUST use birth control, because the chemicals can cause radical deformities in fetuses.

    There are other medications that can do the same thing.

    Will it be against the religious beliefs of these assholes who CHOOSE to work in pharmacies, or as Doctors, Nurses, etc., to deny birth control in that situation?
    Or, is their religious belief that cancer patients must also have deformed children, whether they survive or not?

    Where does this end?

    If I were Muslim or Jewish, and worked in a grocery, can I now refuse to ring-up your bacon, frank’s and beans, pork loin, shrimp, and lobster? Or, a ham and cheese sandwich you got at the deli?
    “Non-Kosher TRAIF!” “Non-Halal!!!” “Unclean! UNCLEAN!!! I refuse to touch these things, they’re against my religion! Get back in line at the next aisle!!! The goy/infidel there will be happy to serve you. No, wait, he prays to the God of Pork, and Mother Seafood, and is against the killing of their dieties earthly representations, so maybe come back late tonight, when the DFH’s are working. ”

    And, in many religions, suicide is a sin, so would selling Cheeto’s, Mountain Dew, and bacon bits, to fat people, or Oreo’s and Twix bars to diabetic’s, be against my religious convictions, so I can refuse to sell those as well because I believe I’m helping in you shortening your life?

    This is the f*cking stupidest sh*t I’ve ever heard of in my entire in my life!

    And, yet, the Conservatives seem willing to make this argument – and the supply of stupid and ignorant Americans seem endless, so it may very well work. The fact that people aren’t dying in the streets from laughter is frightening.

    But, then again, look at the people who,for religious reasons, don't want their kids to be immunized – no one seems too overly worried about sending their kids to schools with the WMD’s that are other people children, so, wtf do I know? If I found out my child got sick of a disease that was preventable from your child, I would sue you for the cost of healing, or burying, my child, because of YOUR neglect.

    How much more f*cking insane can this f*cking country get?
    Wait! Don’t answer that…

  • @Southern: "On the other hand. Republicans are now the party that's against birth control and sex in a very obvious way."

    Sounds like they no longer follow Jesus, but have converted to Nugginism. The god Nuggin forbids his followers from partaking of the evils of garlic *and* chocolate. (credit T. Pratchett; The Last Hero)

    @CU: Brilliant! [NSFW]'s whole latest spiels have absolutely pandered to all things anti-intellectual. From NCLB, Obama's educational "snobbery" and his lies about the Nederlands.

    It's one thing to point out the failures in the system of education, eg no set national standard of base level education, MS education system is abysmal compared to OR. Drop outs because frankly not everyone is academically inclined, but America doesn't honor the trades and apprenticeships (oh wait that could lead to unions), so people attend College for no other reason than to acquire a debt.

    The whole anti-vaccination argument isn't just the Right. My hippy cousins are hardcore no vaccination, and they're "educated". This is where the "Right to Privacy" is bad for society.

    I like your idea. Though I'd like to expand it to where the proponents of this stupidity (Dr. Jenny I'm looking at you) are also liable and cannot gain incorporated or asset transfer protection status, making their personal assets vulnerable. Nothing like a bit of skin in the game eh?

  • "How much more f*cking insane can this f*cking country get?"

    The transmission is stuck in "f*cking insane" gear and we've got the pedal to the metal.

  • the Democrats help and abet the Republicans. the Money is too good.

    what really is interesting is to see where it stops. if it stops. that's what has me really curious. the Women are the first casualties we see. it definitely is roll back time for the Civil Rights Act, and every forward step America took the Right disapproves of.

    only if the "Others" unite can something be done. i just wonder if the damage is past amelioration.

    have we gone too far already? i don't see any great outpouring from the non Republicans. the insanity is mind boggling. it is amazing to see state after state roll back the tide to the Feudal Ages, like i have heard it once was.

    who said you can't go back in time. America is, thanks to the Democrats and Republicans. Such a fascinating time. And i thought the Weimar Republic was a good read. to live through this is even more frightening than living through the 60s.

    Frightening is such a mild word for it. to see Santorum impose his Christianity upon America and the Churches help.

    Getting out of America may be the best thing you could do for your children. at the rate it is going. unless you are a straight white male, your future here is looking worse as the days pass.

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