If America were filling out a women’s magazine questionnaire about its relationship with the GOP, it’d be hard to deny that it’s fallen into a nightmare marriage with an abusive spouse. And we don’t even have to go into the House Republican bill that would weaken the Violence Against Women Act, to the point that it would actually leave some women open to more abuse.
Here are three of the serious warning signs that every spouse should heed. Ask yourself:
Does he impute bad motives to everything you do?
On WNYC’s and PRI’s The Takeaway yesterday, Republican strategist and former Dick Cheney aide Ron Christie was asked (at 6:20) about a tweet he’d sent out about Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. It read: “I wonder if #freechen was pro-choice rather than pro-life whether the Obama Admin would have been more forceful in protecting him.”
While it’s true that Chen has been supported by a church in Texas, lumping his case in with anti-abortion protests in the United States is really a stretch (Chen was protesting forced abortions, not endorsing personhood laws or forced ultrasounds for women seeking abortions).
Farai Chideya, also on the show, asked Christie, “Do you think that a…pro-choice dissident would get more favorable treatment? That I just don’t follow.”
Christie immediately backed down—and then denied he said what he said. “No, I will concede that. I think that’s right. But,” he added, “I put it out there [sic] how our administration’s dealing with it.”
To which the only possible reply is, Huh?
Does he send you messages that mention mass murderers?
If you believe in climate change, then you’re like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based right-wing think tank, says its other billboards feature Charles Manson and Fidel Castro.
“The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society,” Heartland’s website explains. “This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
“Of course,” it adds helpfully, “not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.”
Does he routinely dismiss your achievements?
This week, Veterans for a Strong America, one of those anonymous, Citizens United–birthed black ops groups, tried to Swift Boat Obama on his greatest foreign policy victory, the killing of Osama bin Laden. They can’t exactly claim that Obama lied about it, as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth insisted that Senator John Kerry lied about his Vietnam record during his 2004 race against George Bush. But they are saying that Obama is stealing the credit from the heroes who really deserve it.
Now the comeback to this ad—that Obama repeatedly gave credit to the Seals, the military, the intelligence agencies and everyone else involved—was made earlier, by Jon Stewart:
Stewart says, so yeah, the ad’s “a little bit of a cheap shot,” but then, as he notes earlier in the segment, “Bush landed on an *#!*ing aircraft carrier with a football-stuffed codpiece. He spiked the football before the game had even started.”
For all these reasons and more, the ultimate question for all victims of abuse is: If you can’t change him, when will you leave him?