Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vote Yes on Rape

I have known several women who were victims of rape and child sexual abuse. I have a deep sensitivity to the effect it has on women—and men for that matter.

But this post is not about the Jamie Leigh Jones case, but rather the political fallout from the vote on the Franken Amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. I state this up front so as not to seem insensitive.

So, having said that, I have said in this space two or three times before that if Democrats and/or progressives work real hard in 2010 they could unseat a few Republican Senators and Representatives over health care reform because they were so blatantly against the will of the people.

Now, another issue has emerged to further batter them into oblivion—
30 of their Senators having voted against the Franken Amendment which prevents government contracts from being awarded to companies that prevent—as KBR did—employees from suing their employers for rape and assault.

The case of Jamie Leigh Jones is particularly egregious because it shows the arrogance of contractors under the Bush Administration’s fatal folly in Iraq such as Blackwater seeming to, literally, get away with murder. It also shows the arrogance and insensitivity of Republican lawmakers who are used to voting like this in a business as usual/status quo approach.

But there is a backlash against the 30 Senators. In
newspapers in their states, editorials are popping up against the Senators’ votes throughout the Midwest and the South.

This is exciting news because it is Republican Senators being called out by constituents in their own conservative communities.

I particularly hope Saxby Chambliss of George is defeated because of his Swift Boat-style dirty tricks against Max Cleland in the 2002 election.

An Obama strategy I saw in an Associated Press story was to appeal to women on health care to get reform passed. With this horrific story revealing the relationship between contractors and the Republican side of our government in the “terror-industrial complex”, Obama may have an opportunity to change business as usual in Washington and Democrats may have an opportunity to also change business as usual in Washington.

Right now the Republicans are not only imploding and exploding but they are doing it to themselves by themselves and not from anything the Democrats are forcing upon them.

Imagine what can happen when Democrats and progressives begin working to defeat them in the 2010 elections. Republicans are simply on the wrong side of issues that benefit the American people and that has to be the basis of election strategies in the midterm.

This is why progressives have to organize, fundraise and work hard to defeat Charles Grassley, Tom Coburn, David Vitter, Johnny Isakson and Mike Crapo. They may lose Harry Reid but still be able to gain seats if they lose no others.

And if progressives really work hard there are a few Democrats who should be defeated as well. Unfortunately, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad and Max Faucus (cheap joke) are not running.

I think Democrats should throw the controversy surrounding this vote in the face of the Cheneys and make them shut up.