The passage of the Violence Against Women Act, tardy as may be, is not only a great thing for women (and even men, in same-sex marriages, who are protected as well); the inability of the GOP to stop VAWA is the most dominant demonstration of how huge Obama’s 2012 victory was. Despite desperate attempts to stop the Democratic-backed version in the GOP House, 87 Republicans eventually had no choice but to vote for the Dems’ bill. November 6, 2012, and the re-election of President Barack Obama is still pounding them over the head.
As is their fear for November 2016.
The full version of VAWA did not pass because some Republicans supported the policies championed by the Democrats in Congress. Almost the entire GOP caucus fought hard against language that extended the protections under VAWA to lesbians and gays; after all, that would be tantamount to admitting that, ugh, teh gayz are in real relationships! The Republicans in the House were appalled at the idea of allowing red savages (ie, tribal legal systems) to put a white man on trial, visualizing, I guess, Richard Harris in “A Man Called Horse”, with spikes shoved through his manboobs and buffalo skulls attached until the muscles ripped away. They wanted a watered-down version that only protected women. In the 1950s.
Eric Cantor and John Boehner finally had to admit that the politics was against them. Too many of their own members were not worried about a tea party primary challenge but a Democrat in 2014 running ad after ad after ad asking why they hated women so much. Those in the GOP who caved and voted for the Dems’ VAWA are the ones who see what’s coming at them down the road: voters who do not share the Republican’s attitudes towards women, minorities, the middle class, the environment, the economy….
These Republicans are not afraid of the right-wing fanatics in a primary; they’re afraid of the sane voters in a general election. Yet they find themselves tethered to a party that refuses to acknowledge women have a right to make their own medical decisions. They’re hamstrung by a party that will not allow the President to advance a rational immigration policy. They’re trapped by a party that refuses to believe in science. And they see themselvs doomed to ride a sinking ship of a party that is destroying itself by standing in vicious opposition to the majority of Americans.
So, today, these scared Republicans in the House caved, passed the full version of VAWA, and told the world, loud and clear, just how decisive was President Obama’s victory in 2012. There was no nonsense about the country wanting “shared power”; the VAWA vote was acknowledgement, without pretense and without excuse, of Obama’s superior standing in the nation. When it came time to show if they would hold the party line and fight without ceasing for an ideology most Americans reject, or if they would capitulate to the man twice elected President, 87 Republicans tucked their tails between their legs, abjectly voted for VAWA, and then slunk off to lick their wounds.
President Obama pulverized them in November. And they are still being battered by the fallout.