Home / General / Republican Pretexts For Opposing the VAWA

Republican Pretexts For Opposing the VAWA


The latest. I think this is the most instructive:

The random “welfare bill” accusations. This one is a wild card that is fairly unspecific. Last week, original VAWA sponsor Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said that the expanded provisions took his “landmark legislation, only to come right in and change it to make another welfare bill.” There’s nothing new in the bill that represents “welfare,” unless that’s just code for “groups I don’t really want to help.”

I think that pretty much gives away the show on multiple fronts.

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  • Caroline Abbott

    Wow. Hatch demagoguery is boundless.

    • CaptBackslap

      The DSHEA is still his finest hackwork, all these years later. God only knows how many people have died because of that.

      • I’d never heard of that. From the FDA’s web site:

        Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement or dietary ingredient manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement or ingredient is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements.* Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading.

        On first reading, it almost looks like the DSHEA created or strengthened regulation, but then you realize that “the manufacturer is responsible” means “the FDA isn’t responsible, it’s totally up to them.”

        • Josh G.

          As Roger Moore put it:

          The normal practice is that any potential drug is illegal until it goes through a testing process to ensure that it’s safe and effective. […] The real problem is the idiotic “dietary supplements” law, which leaves an enormous gaping loophole in the FDA drug approval process. Drug peddlers are allowed to sell their wares as long as they claim that their naturally occuring substances that might exist in our diets and they avoid making specific claims about their effects. It effectively eviscerates the FDA, and is one of the most ridiculous things that Congress did in a long time.

          • sibusisodan

            Worst. Bond Movie. Ever.

  • Joe

    Haven’t heard from that guy for awhile. Haven’t missed much, I see. Used to be he was now and again “one of the sane ones.” His changing position on the legislation is sorta telling on that front.

  • Murc

    Well, Hatch is right.

    The VAWA is a welfare bill. It is a bill aimed at improving the welfare of women, and thereby that of the populace in general.

    Any statement Republicans make regarding anything being a welfare bill should get a response of “You’re damned right it is. We’re pro-welfare. Want to make something of it?”

    • JKTHs

      It is a bill aimed at improving the welfare of women

      I think that’s their objection.

      • DrDick

        More particularly, it improves the welfare of suspiciously dark skinned women.

        • wembley

          Don’t forget the lesbians!

    • commie atheist

      Come on, everyone knows that welfare is handouts to Queen Latifahs who drive Cadillacs and black bucks who buy t-bones (or was it the other way around?). Oh, yeah, and Obamaphones.

  • Playing the welfare card against the VAWA is the most strategically brilliant political move since John McCain spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and days of the late-stage campaign telling America that his opponent wanted to spread the wealth.

    Hey, guys, I’ve got this great idea! You know how the public hates “welfare?” Well, let’s make them equate “welfare” with things like protecting women from domestic violence!

    • Karate Bearfighter

      Wait, are you saying Congress’ failure to renew the VAWA is … good news for John McCain?

      • Absolutely.

        John McCain has never been closer to the Presidency than he is right now. I mean that.

        • dmsilev

          That’s not true. This coming Tuesday, for instance, John McCain will be roughly 50 or 100 feet away from the Presidency as he sits and watches Barack Obama give the State of the Union address.

          • Pffffftttt! Soup out the nose.

            Ach! Mein freude! It is schaden!

    • JL

      Hey, guys, I’ve got this great idea! You know how the public hates “welfare?” Well, let’s make them equate “welfare” with things like protecting women from domestic violence!

      It’s right up there with making them equate “socialism” with things like “any health care reform advanced by Democrats” (or really, any policy at all advanced by Democrats).

    • ExpatJK

      It’s not welfare, it’s special rights. How come women want special rights? They claim they want equality and then they ask for special rights. Liars!

      -pretty much verbatim comment made to me on an Internet message board re the VAWA. I don’t think it’s possible to engage with that level of stupid…

  • Karate Bearfighter

    The “welfare bill” rationale is pretty stunning, but the fact that a mail order bride service is the leading lobbyist against the U-visa provision is not far behind.

    • rea

      a mail order bride service with a CEO who has been convicted of abusing his mail order bride, no less.

  • I remember when one of those creepy “men’s rights” groups in Massachusetts put on a big push to…I swear to God I’m not making this up…to allow men fighting restraining orders in court to have greater access to their accusers’ medical and psychiatric records.

    These fellas are exactly who they seem to be.

    • commie atheist

      They are who we thought they were?

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        Crown em!!!

        • JKTHs

          We let em off the hook!

    • Murc

      to allow men fighting restraining orders in court to have greater access to their accusers’ medical and psychiatric records.

      Greater than what, exactly?

      You can already get your hands on damn near anything during discovery.

      • I think, perhaps, there were some protections that judges were enforcing to prevent them from going on fishing expeditions through their victims histories.

        And we can’t have that now.

  • TT

    There’s nothing new in the bill that represents “welfare,” unless that’s just code for “groups I don’t really want to help.”

    Now that DADT has been repealed, I’m sure that defense spending will become another “welfare” bill if/when benefits for same-sex military spouses are proposed.

    • Ken

      Some were, just this week.

  • FlipYrWhig

    This makes perfect sense in the conservative lexicon. “Welfare” means “the government helping Those People in ways they haven’t properly earned.” “Socialism” also means that. So does “The Deficit.”

  • Joe

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    • efgoldman

      …promote the general Welfare…

      I’m sure their argument is that Madison didn’t have a good enough Thesaurus.

    • BigHank53

      Well, that’s the general welfare, see, and VAWA protects individual women, right? So totally different things. Something that enhanced the general welfare would be a capital gains tax cut, which would benefit everyone.*

      *Everyone rich enough, anyway.

    • UserGoogol

      That’s really lazy “we’re a republic, not a democracy”-type argumentation. Language evolves. Welfare in the sense of general well-being is something very few politicians will ever state opposition to because it’s such a vaguely benign concept. But the word welfare has also taken on the more narrow meaning (although ultimately rather vaguely defined) of providing financial assistance to those in exceptional need, which wasn’t an idea completely foreign to the founding fathers but wasn’t what they were talking about either. It’s certainly quite easy to argue that the mentions of “welfare” in the old general sense in the Constitution justify the administration of welfare in the new narrower sense, but it’s extremely pedantic to conflate the two to try to trip conservatives up.

      • UserGoogol

        Of course, in this particular instance it’s hard to figure out what the hell Orrin Hatch is talking about (maybe pro bono legal assistance is a sort of in-kind welfare in his eyes?) but that’s separate from the question of whether playing the preamble card is just cheap wordplay.

        • I think the commonality between VAWA and welfare is the lack of empathy that Republicans have innately. Throw in folks with disabilities as well.

          In the case of poor, disadvantaged people – they haven’t been favored by the Republican god of money because they must be undeserving.

          And apparently in the case of women that get raped (see Akin, Mourdock) or abused, they must have done something to deserve it. After all if they were chaste, obedient women they would have married good Republican men because the Republican god of money thought they were deserving.

          Phil Gramm captured it best when talking to Jim Jeffords about not fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

          “They aren’t our folks.”

          That narrows it down to employed or wealthy, healthy gun owning white conservative heterosexual males and the chaste wives that do what they are told so that they never have to risk getting abused.

          It’s a simple world for them. Anything that complicates it is socialistic evil welfare by definition.

          • Here’s another example:

            January 31-February 3, 2013
            Survey of 508 Republican primary voters

            What do you think is a bigger safety threat in
            America: guns or violent video games?

            Guns 14%
            Video games 67%
            Not sure 19%


            These are your neighbors, folks.

            • rea

              Kinda makes you want to beat them over the head with your copy of Civilization V . . .

              • Njorl

                I beat a Republican over the head with Civ V for about an hour or two, then went back to beating him with Civ IV. It was much more satisfying.

            • daveNYC

              Unfortunately even my Mom thinks that video games are too violent and that ‘something should be done’. Hard core liberal on everything else, so I guess it’s just part of the general ‘get off my lawn’ old person complaint thing.

              • OzarkHillbilly

                For what it’s worth, I don’t like the violence in video games either. Guess that’s why I don’t buy them.

                • sharculese

                  You’re the reason Curt Schilling was forced to abandon his principles and take all those government handouts.

              • Cody

                Well, I think if you haven’t actually played video games and just listen to the media you form your opinion.

                It never seemed a logical argument to me, but if they’re going to limit violence in video games they better get rid of everything violent on TV.

                (Except Elementary, they can’t cancel that!!)

  • J. R. in W. Va.

    Well, the VAWA seems, to me at least, to be one of those things that can define whether one is a decent human being, or not. I mean, you either beat your wife when she needs it, or you let her run over you, right?

    Clearly, Senator Hatch is one that beats his wife, regularly, to keep her in her place, beneath his foot. Or wants to, anyway.

    I on the other hand, rarely even raise my voice to my wife, lest it start her off on something.


    But I’m dead serious about Senator Hatch, no gentleman he! Happy to facilitate the violence against women the best he can! Just another little monster wearing a Republican mask. Turns my stomach.

    I’m beginning to think almost all Republicans have some fundamental thing wrong in their brains, that results in a quite finite quantity of empathy, and most of them use it up on their puppy while a mere child. Except for those who torture the neighborhood puppies for sport.

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