Rep. Wasserman-Schulz: GOP Congressmen ‘Repulse Women’

11 11 2009

Saturday morning, I sat down with my coffee and newspaper to watch the House debate healthcare reform on C-SPAN.  And no, I don’t normally spend my Saturday mornings watching C-SPAN, but in light of Sacalait Killa’s recent admission on my Guilty Pleasures post that he DVRs British Parliament sessions, I don’t know if any of you are in a position to judge.  

Now, I’ve never seen an episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8, but I assume that a show about two immature spouses who can’t get along and their eight attention-starved children is probably pretty similar to what I saw on the House Floor Saturday morning.  

Members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus had lined up to give short blurbs about the ways this healthcare bill benefits women in their states and their objections to the legislation’s restrictions on abortion coverage, and the Republicans did everything they could to rudely and boisterously censor these women’s speeches.  

It sounded like this:  “I ask OBJECTION for unanimous OBJECTION! consent to revise and EXCUSE ME, I OBJECT! I OBJECT! I OBJECT!…” and so on.  Here’s a clip so you can see for yourself: 

Poor 83-year old Congressman Dingell, whose life work has been healthcare reform, was given the “great honor” of presiding over this debacle.  I couldn’t tell if he was standing or sitting for most of the debate, but it was clear that he was one “Objection!” away from aggressively poking each and every Republican Congressperson in the face with his cane.  I’m surprised his gavel didn’t split in two, he had to hammer it down so many times and ask the Republicans to grow up and stop disrupting the class.

Democratic Congresswomen are understandably outraged at the the way they were treated by the GOP men, even after Rep. Dingell repeatedly assured the Republicans that they would have an opportunity to speak if they would just let the women finish.  Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) told ThinkProgress on Monday:

“…male members of Congress got up and started shouting down — trying to shout down the Democratic women. I thought it was loud, I thought it was rude, I thought it was disrespectful, and I thought it was sexist. […]”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schulz (D-FL) issued a similar statement about the 90% male GOP, saying,

“This is a party that doesn’t respect women, a party that doesn’t believe women are equal to men. I don’t think they attract women to their party. I think they repulse women.” 

I wonder what those GOP Congressmen are so afraid of, why they so desperately felt the need to censor these women?  They already knew which way they were going to vote, regardless of what the women said in their 30-second blurbs.  I’m quite sure they would not have been so inflamed and disruptive had men been trying to speak.  Those Congresswomen were raising some really important issues about what this healthcare bill means for millions of women across the country, and the GOP not only refused to listen, but took pains to ensure that no one else heard them either.  The women in these Congressmen’s districts should be especially outraged at their elected “representatives” for showing a complete lack of respect for and interest in women’s health issues; I know I would be. 

On the bright side, two good things came out of Saturday’s debate– the healthcare bill passed in the House (a baby-step in the right direction), and Animal Planet has purchased all future House debates from CSPAN.  They will be airing right after Meerkat Manor on Fridays at 10 pm e/p, so gear up for a dramatic new season!

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15 responses

11 11 2009
BS

Watching that video finally made me understand why there are executions after revolutions….

But to address the healthcare reform point, i’m not convinced that this is in anyway, shape or form, bad for the health care industry and good for the american people.

If the public option gets approved, it will be so limited and neutered that it will not provide any real competition to private insurance. Insurance companies will then be able to increase rates on their high cost patients to the point where they will be dumped into the public option (meaning that the government will start footing the bill on these unprofitable customers).

Add to that it makes health care mandatory, meaning that the insurance companies will get an influx of new customers and new money.

[I’d try to verify this, but the bill is 2000 pages long. If you’re keeping a tally, the original bank bailout handing over close to 1 trillion dollars to private banks was THREE pages long. And the health reform bill that could have been 3 words long (“Medicare for All”) is 2000 pages long]

Now the right will be able to show the failed system is an example of socialized medicine.

In other news, Harvard Medical School study claims: “a new study estimates four times as many US Army veterans died last year because they lacked health insurance than the total number of US soldiers who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same period.” (Happy Veterans Day!)

11 11 2009
bros

yes. good post.

and you are absolutely right that this is a handout to the insurance companies. the reason most of this doesnt even go into effect until 2013 is so those companies have time to prepare for the influx of 40+million new customers.

11 11 2009
BS

yes we can…?

11 11 2009
Geof Boyle

Gadfly says:

They pissed me off, too, and let me preface by saying I’m pro-choice. But, might the GOP defend their actions by saying they were using accepted parliamentary procedure to protect the lives of unborn children. I’m not arguing what constitutes a human life, I’m pointing out that they think they are defending it, in this instance, which is what makes them think it’s ok to behave this way. GOP sicked their bulldog on the speakers, and he happened to be a man. Of course, GOP has way more men than women, but that is underlying issue. I don’t think he showed up an said “You know what? Today, if bitches be talking, I be objectin.” Also, wouldn’t nutty pro-life women love this shit? They definitely don’t repulse all women, b/c there are women who vote for them. The appearance of sexism here is circumstantial OR an emergent property of underlying issues. Certainly, deep issues here regarding reproductive rights with underlying theme of patriarchal rights and men are the boss according to bible etc., which help to define the debate surrounding the sexes.

11 11 2009
bros

in this case the symptom is the cause. what do you mean he ‘happened’ to be a man? when 90% of your members are male, it ceases to be an accident or a random occurrence due to chance.

11 11 2009
Geof Boyle

I meant that sometimes the face of a political power structure is not always one whose interests are furthered by said structure, and so, a woman might have yelled objection over and over again, but it happened to be a man. IN terms of calling the GOP an inherently sexist instutution that results in sexist behaviors in its members, I think we are dealing with correlations and not proven causality, although I suspect an underlying causality and it sounds like you do to. It’s my uncertainty that makes me want to hold back from calling a foul a la sexism and stick with saying they were rude and disrespectful.

11 11 2009
districtramblings

The GOP has a right to their opinions, of course, and while they were using accepted parliamentary procedure, they were using it in a way that was incredibly rude, immature and disrespectful. No one was trying to perform an abortion on the House Floor– it was a debate. In a debate, one side offers its position, and then the other side offers its position. I sincerely don’t think any of the Democratic Congresswomen would have wildly flaired their rights to object in the face of GOP men who were simply trying to present their side of the debate. Dingell acknowledged GOP objections repeatedly, and asked them to stop being crazy and disruptive, but they refused to let the women speak. I think that kind of behavior is unacceptable.

11 11 2009
bros

this really should come as no surprise-they are using the same playbook they gave to their crazed lemmings for the townhall meetings-interrupt, intimidate, talk over, and generally make communication impossible so that there is no debate, which, ironically, is the one thing they are supposed to do in their hallowed halls. this makes me think of my assertion in your ‘opposites attract’ post about drawing the line at finding social conservatives being at all attractive or compatible in any way for a relationship. I would rather be with a maggot-infested carcass of a mangy goat than one of these loathsome trolls.

11 11 2009
Geof Boyle

Yes, its in the political tactics playbook! I think its unfair to say all social conservatives subscribe to this playbook and that some of them probably make good friends or neighbors, if not partners. I always try to differentiate between political alignment and behavior. The craziest, most highly driven people are the ones who end up on television. Narcissistic sociopaths who don’t really represent anyone but themselves are disproportionately represented in Hollywood, DC, and New York, aka centers of power. I just saw an article about this somewhere.

11 11 2009
Christina

I watched the entire debate and the first couple hours were revolting. A baby?! Really?! He brought a baby?! The Republicans were upset because so long as the comments were left to 30 seconds, they wouldn’t count against the clock (which is the standard rule.) They insisted that the Dems were taking advantage, but in fact the Republicans were offered the same chance, but many were just too verbose (shockingly full of hot air.) It was discouraging to see how these reps represented their constituents and had it not been for an overall positive outcome, it would have been a very sad, very discouraging day for politics.

As an aside: I’m loving your blog, girl! Keep it up 🙂

11 11 2009
graber

Seeing stuff like that makes me embarrassed to be an American. It’s truly awful. I remember the debate we had in 5th grade to see who would be mayor of our classroom. It was thoroughly more graceful and democratic than that shit-show.

You’d also think that women from those dudes districts would be horribly offended, but lets face it – they voted for those douches because they hate abortions and if they ever wanted one, they’re husband would disown them, so it’s best to keep their “big world communist ideas” to themselves.

check this out too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPMjC9mq5Y

11 11 2009
VJane

What bothered me most was the total disrespect by the GOP congress people for Congressman Dingell. I mean total disrespect. What has happened to our congress ?? If you ask me, no member of congress should be allowed to vote for this health care reform. They all have the best insurance paid for by us and no, should not be allowed to vote. Only those who have had their insuraance cancelled for an illness they couldnt help or those who have lost their insurance due to their jobs being sent overseas or their workplaces down sizing. Let them vote and members of congress, sit down and shut up.

11 11 2009
VJane

bros – let me know when you find a maggot-infested carcsss of a mangy goat and I will throw it in the door of the next town hall meeting here and that should put a”gag” on the disrupters.

11 11 2009
swirlz

this bill is BS. Although he visits with Aliens, hear it from one of the few lucid Democratic congresscritters:

http://kucinich.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=153995

11 11 2009
districtramblings

You know what, I completely agree with what Kucinich is saying there– “healthcare reform” without the public option is only going to worsen the problem. I am still in favor of the public option, though, and I hope Congress can make it happen.

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