On yesterday's Meet the Press, Arizona's John McCain, the crankiest Senator from the nuttiest state, told host David Gregory that Republicans might want to consider dropping this whole uterine crusade thing and focus on things that don't make people think conservatives hate women. You know you're doing something wrong when the guy who unleashed Sarah Palin (and, by extension, Bristol Palin's turn on Dancing with the Stars) onto the world is giving advice on how to not fuck things up.
Gregory sensibly asked McCain whether he thought there was a war on women being waged by Republicans in light of this sudden, bizarre fascination with whether women are having sex they enjoy without suffering the divinely-prescribed consequences. McCain responded,
I think we have to fix that. I think that there is a perception out there, because of the way that this whole contraception issue played out. We need to get off of that issue, in my view. I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives, and make that clear, and get back on to what the American people really care about: jobs and the economy.
Oddly, McCain's assertion that the GOP should "get off" the issue of contraception and babies and onto things like jobs and whether or not all these babies born of compelled pregnancy will ever be able to find jobs comes on the heels of McCain's vote in favor of the Blunt Amendment. That stinker of a bill would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse to provide any sort of insurance coverage they found morally objectionable. Nudge nudge wink wink birth control.
And last week, Republicans in the Senate voiced their opposition to renewing the expanded Violence Against Women Act on the grounds that they thought Democrats were "playing politics" by ruthlessly clarifying the definition of domestic violence to include stalking and violence between same-sex partners and heartlessly offering temporary visas to undocumented women in abusive situations.
McCain's sudden about-face coupled with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski's warning to her colleagues that their acting like irredeemable assholes was probably going to lose them votes this fall may be indicative of a change in tune for Republicans, who seem to slowly be realizing that they're digging their own political graves with shovels made of ultrasound wands. But will the rest of the party realize they're shooting themselves in the foot in time to change the message? Or has the GOP painted itself into a corner by depending too much on the support of conservative extremists?