While few people think that John McCain did himself any great favors with last night's blink-and-Plumber-filled debate performance, there are nonetheless a few things for Spencer "Cavalier Activity Machine" Ackerman and I to wonder about. Things like whether we can have a substantive discussion of Obama's idea of cavalier activity, what Joe The Plumber would do with all the extra money he won't have to pay in taxes and when the fuck McCain embraced the Culture of Life so hard he messed up his face.SPENCER : Enough with this Joe-the-Plumber shit already. At my debate-watching get-together last night, I wondered who would be the first douchey pundit to proclaim that JTP won the debate, and sure enough this guy said it and so did That One . The internet means your cliches have a shorter half-life. In other news, good morning. What did you think of what McCain had to say about, why... women's issues! MEGAN : I guess I would start with... wow, when did Sarah Palin's positions start to seem less extreme than McCain's on reproductive choice? SPENCER : Might you be referring to his dismissal of "women's 'health'"? MEGAN : Like, since when is having an abortion to avoid dying an extremely infanticidal decision? SPENCER : Extremely Infanticidal should be the name of my band's EP. MEGAN : You're totally welcome to it! When did "choose life" become "there's only one potential life that matters, and it isn't yours"? SPENCER : On the basic political calculation behind his 15-minute long attack on women: I had thought he was trying to peel off HRC voters. Do you think he (a) figured he can't, and might as well consolidate the anti-choice base, or (b) acted without any regard to strategy? (As illustrated by this .) MEGAN : I think the crazy just came out of his mouth. I mean, only 10 percent of people think abortion should be illegal without exceptions. At that point, he's more extreme than most of his own party, male or female. Even South Dakota wrote exceptions into their fucking referendum this year. Speaking of, I have to say, I thought Obama's point about not letting states decide the applicability of our constitutional rights by referendum was good. I also wish he'd pointed out that, by amending the Constitution, we'd sort of already taken states' feelings into account on those things. Of course, I thought that while I was typing just now and not at the time, but bygones. I think where he was probably trying to go but failed to articulate properly was this fucked-up right-wing idea that a "mental health" exception is an extreme exception that someone tagged Obama with having for late term abortions months ago, but it was way past Peepaw's bedtime at that point. SPENCER : One quick thing, and this isn't really directed at you so much as it is the Culture: everyone, I want you to stop using cutesy goyische nicknames for "grandfather" and "grandmother." This shit is really annoying. Remember what I said earlier about the internet accelerating the halflife of cliches? Anyway: back to McCain and women's issues. So he starts talking about the Culture Of Life and such —
But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn. Of course, we have to come together. Of course, we have to work together, and, of course, it's vital that we do so and help these young women who are facing such a difficult decision, with a compassion, that we'll help them with the adoptive services, with the courage to bring that child into this world and we'll help take care of it.— and here I just thought I heard this from Bush for the past eight years and abortions have increased. The "Culture of Life" — is this all the right has to talk about abortion, aside from shaming women? IS THIS IT? MEGAN : I love how there he ignored Obama's whole point about sex education and economic well-being would be better ways to reduce abortion, and just went straight for "y'all bitches can just adopt" as though that's difficult, logistically speaking. Yeah, I mean, there's only one life the Culture Of Life embraces, and that's the tadpole in one's uterus. Your life? Pshaw. The lives of convicted felons? Hardly. Save tax money and whatever, because that's a defensible moral position. Your quality of life? Also not important, only the fetus gets to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness before you even expel it from your womb because you obviously forfeited your rights to any of those by having sex you dirty, dirty slut. Also, here is your scarlet S, please staple it to your breast plate and carry on, you need to be marked so men will know your sin. SPENCER : You really need to start a band. Times like this I miss Adrienne Droogas . But I want to press you on the politics of this, since I have a feeling this blog's readership agrees on the substance here (and rightly so): did McCain just write the women's vote off? MEGAN : I think that to have done so would require some forethought, which his answer didn't have. Also, women make up 52 percent of registered voters in this country and slightly more of a percentage of participating voters and when independent women swing, they tend to swing en masse and get the guy elected. See: GWB. So, Hillary's voters aside, I don't think it was deliberate. What I think it was last night was some combination of fatigue and not parsing his words, and his mask that he's not really into the culture wars and meh on criminalizing abortion slipped. James Dobson apparently didn't look deep enough into his soul during the primaries to notice that, beneath his convenient political veneer, McCain is a solid, extremist anti-choice politician like any other. SPENCER : I guess it's just hard to know what McCain actually thinks on an issue he seems not to really care about, but his cavalier-to-contemptuous attitude toward women in general would surely color his politics here. And speaking of cavalier, that brings us to the best moment of the entire debate. Obama's excellent, excellent, excellent answer on Roe — full throated defense, "correctly decided," "right to privacy," etc; when was the last time you heard a Democrat say things like that in a general election? never — preceded a gracious-to-awesome acknowledgment of a substantive division in the country on the issue. And then came this:
But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, "We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby."Let it be known that I want my imaginary Jezebel byline to be Spencer "Cavalier Activity Machine" Ackerman. MEGAN : Seriously, you had a kitchen full of women going, what the fuck does Spencer have to do with UVA with your Twitter about "cavalier activity wanted" last night. SPENCER : That's how I do, girl. MEGAN : See, now, at the time, blogging away, I heard that as "having unprotected sex" but seeing it written out, I guess he did mean promiscuous. Oh, Barack, I didn't avoid teenage pregnancy because I had sacred, loving sex. I avoided it because I used condoms when I boned. Plus dumb luck a couple of times when I did have serious, relationship this-will-last-forever sex with my boyfriend when we stupidly neglected the condoms. SPENCER : Wait, is there a serious point to make about "cavalier activity"? MEGAN : I think there's a serious point about legislating and trying to teach morality in public institutions, but SILLY ME I want the government away from my personal life. Gosh, I sound like a Republican only they just pay lip service to that the same way John McCain is paying lip service to cutting spending and Joe the Motherfucking Plumber. Who, by the way, is a flat tax proselytizer and an unregistered voter . You know what that means, right? SPENCER : That he's the Real American we'll never be? MEGAN : I was going to go with crazy, mouth-breathing, close-talking, civic-duty shunning libertarian, but either way. At least he's not a Fair Taxer, those guys are completely insane. But he is a racist . SPENCER : According to Dean Baker at TAP, JTP will see his taxes rise under Senator Government's plan by zero to $900 . The American dream IS DEAD. MEGAN : Dude, that's $900 he could spend on belts and condoms for when the lonely housewives start checking him out.