Republicans Favor Sexually Transmitted Disease

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 16:29


OMG! Flashing Red Siren! Democrats want to prevent sexually transmitted disease!

Democrats may have eliminated provisions on birth control and sod for the National Mall in the "job stimulus" -- but buried on page 147 of the bill is stimulation for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases!

The House Democrats' bill includes $335 million for sexually transmitted disease education and prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

And, just in case the link between Drudge and Republicans needed to made any clearer, the National Republican Congressional Committee immediately began attacking freshman Democrat Bobby Bright for his role in trying to prevent sexually transmitted diseases:

The question is: Will Bobby Bright still support the massive spending bill now that it has become public that  the House Democrats' so-called "stimulus" has been stuffed with an  astonishing $335 million to fund prevention programs of sexually transmitted diseases?

So, by this attack, are we to take it that Republicans favor sexually transmitted disease? Are they really going to hang their messaging on "Democrats fund prevention programs of sexually transmitted diseases?" Really? Would "vote against Congressman X, because he supports stopping STDs" really be an effective campaign message?

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Republicans Favor Sexually Transmitted Disease

Am I the only one who thinks that a government-funded program to prevent sexually transmitted diseases would actually be pretty popular?  About 55% of the country thinks that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (the specific numbers vary on how the question is asked.)  I am going to take a wild guess that support for government-funded STD prevention is even more popular than government support for legalized abortion. While there really isn't any specific questions on this subject at Polling Report, 67% of the country believes schools should hand out free birth control to teenagers, as long as there is parental consent. Only 30% of the country opposes schools handing out birth control under any circumstance. That is a pretty good proxy for the Republican arguments about the stimulus, since they are focused on government funding of birth control and / or STD prevention.

It is baffling and frustrating that Democrats are worried about, and even giving into, attacks on overwhelmingly popular government programs. Are we worried that we might appear to be opposed to such wildly popular institutions such as teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? About two-thirds of the country supports government funding for stopping STDs and supporting birth control. Given the polling numbers in question, Republicans might as well attack us for breaking with Bush policies, or for not immediately sending in 300,000 ground troops to Iran.

Democrats need to remember that just because Republicans are attacking us doesn't mean that those attacks will actually hurt us, even if those attacks are true and we don't respond to them. This is one of those cases where Republicans are scoring political points on our behalf, and we should just let them continue to do so.


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Yeah, but (4.00 / 1)
how does preventing STDs stimulate the economy? :)

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


STD's are a multiplier, no? n/t (4.00 / 2)


[ Parent ]
Crazy stuff (4.00 / 6)
Republicans love the clap.

Actually, I don't think this is about trying to win over the public generally, or that they really believe that most Americans are going to be upset about STD prevention. This is just about making some noises to keep their base energized. Their base hates the government doing anything useful, and thinks VD is God's Righteous Punishment for Sexual Deviants.

Congressional Republicans know they're powerless, so making hay out of crap like this is the only thing they can do to actually keep their base motivated. If they actually get some concessions out of gullible Democrats, that's just a bonus.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


Look, (0.00 / 0)
both this provision and the provision for funding contraception are very good, very defensible policy for Democrats.

But do you really not grasp that it is pretty boneheaded politically to take such value-laden provisions (even if the values are relatively popular), and pack them into a bill that is explicitly designed to deal with a very different problem, namely, recovering the economy?

I would infinitely prefer that Democrats push as hard as they possibly can for additional tens (or, given my real preferences, hundreds) of millions for infrastructure improvements -- including public transportation -- than that they spend (I would say waste) political capital on these relatively minuscule provisions. While infrastructure improvements may likewise be characterized as progressive, they are clearly of an economic nature, and address economic problems.

The political capital lost on the extraneous "value-laden" measures is considerable: it makes the stimulus proposal look like it is being offered in bad faith. Indeed, the relatively small size of these programs provides only further evidence that it might be being generated in bad faith, because it is so implausible that such a small amount of money would materially affect the economy.

I'm no great fan of Obama, God knows, but I think his move to take out the contraception provision is on the money politically.

And I think it does not even further progressive ends to try to sneak in such provisions under the cover of night into such an unrelated bill. Better by far that such programs be defended in their proper place with the clear, emphatic, highly public arguments that they deserve. Let the Republicans try to argue against such provisions when they come up in, say, a health care bill. That is when and where they will truly and decisively lose the moral and political battle.

Bringing up these provisions here allows Republicans, instead, to win the public relations battle, because they can so easily undercut the perceived legitimacy of the measures for their stated purpose. Why should such defensible measures -- in their proper context -- be introduced in a context where they can easily be characterized as something suspect, something not entirely above board?


[Oops, oops, (0.00 / 0)
I intended my comment below, which I now reproduce, to be a reply to this post.]

I meant I'd like to see Democrats push for tens or hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars more for infrastructure improvements.

[I hope my mistakes aren't starting to become recursive.]


[ Parent ]
Cover of night? (4.00 / 3)
Seriously? Reproductive health care is stimulus in the way reducing the burden of medical costs on families is usually stimulus. You may have heard how car manufacturers in other countries are in a somewhat better position because they don't have to pick up healthcare costs in order

The only reason the GOP is scoring points with anyone outside their hardcore base with their very unpopular positions is because the Democrats are caving to the presumption that they should be ashamed of supporting these things. And using the phrase cover of night leads me to believe that you've also bought in, on some level, to the idea that we should be timid in our support of these measures and hope no one notices.


[ Parent ]
I say that this was (0.00 / 0)
done under the cover of night because I'm sure the hope was that these provisions would pass unnoticed in a vastly larger bill. Did you see any attention being drawn to these provisions by the Democrats who composed them, before the Republicans seized on them? I think the answer to that is obvious: you did not, because those Democrats had no desire for anyone to notice them.

Again, I'm am emphatically not saying that the policies intrinsically have anything wrong in them, or not fully worthy of defense by Democrats.

My point is simple: by throwing these extraneous provisions into a bill whose purpose is to stimulate the economy, both the bill itself and the provisions themselves come under a cloud of suspicion -- and neither deserves to come under such a cloud, because they are each, on their own merits, fully defensible out in the open.

As I said, adding these provisions allows Republicans to question whether the stimulus bill is being offered in good faith as a stimulus, and whether the provisions themselves are fully legitimate in their own right. Both the bill and the provisions should carry only the burden of their own merits on their own separate grounds.  


[ Parent ]
Jeff Flake didn't understand why Amtrak is stimulative (0.00 / 0)
The Republicans always notice reproductive health asks. They always complain about them. And there will always be someone who doesn't see why it's economically beneficial to reduce families' medical expenses and health burdens.

But the Democrats should really stop acting as though that matters.


[ Parent ]
Oops (0.00 / 0)
I meant I'd like to see Democrats push for tens or hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars more for infrastructure improvements

I'm Not Sure They Really FAVOR STDs (0.00 / 0)
they like e. coli poisoning, lung cancer, chronic obesity, black lung disease, the list goes on and on.

Hard to tell which one(s)--if any--they favor over all the rest.

In fact, we may finally have discovered an area in which they really do favor equality for all.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


they got disease vectors for everyone (4.00 / 2)
and weekly specials too! This weeks special, peanut butter salmonella and a dessert of mercury tainted high fructose syrup. Yum yum, kids, the Repub I scream truck is here now, open for business, step right up.

[ Parent ]
The whole point of the opposition ... (0.00 / 0)
Is not that they oppose preventative disease but that the entire bill is being framed as a stimulus package by Obama and the Democrats when it is something else.

The Republicans can actually gain traction on this; they are framing the argument in the sense that Obama or the Dems (or both) are hoodwinking the public.

If they keep pointing to different aspects of the bill like this the Senate Republicans will vote it down and gain public support (if they play it correctly)

I believe Obama needs to rework the way he is selling this bill. He should not use or even hint as if this is a stimulus.

Instead, frame this as a long term project. I know he said this but FORCEFULLY and frequently repeat over and over again that this is not just for the short term.


We need a slogan (4.00 / 2)
I don't buy the argument that Republicans can gain traction by claiming these things don't belong in a stimulus bill. Partly because I have a suspicion that incidence of STDs tends to rise during a recession, but mostly just because that kind of nuance is hard to pull off and grabs nobody.

The flip-side is that for us to get traction off it, we need to make this easy to understand, memorable and amusing.

The best I can come up with is "Republicans: We're the reason you're pissing razorblades" but I'm certain someone else here could do far better.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


How about (4.00 / 1)
"The GOP is pro VD?"

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
You forgot to add 'objectively' (0.00 / 0)
The GOP is objectively pro-VD.

[ Parent ]
bash obama (0.00 / 0)
it's easy to go after republicans, but obama ordered democrats to remove this provision -- and we didn't even need (neither did we obtain) support from members of the gop house delegation. maybe he did it for the senate, but i'm just not sure of this. why won't the thing pass in the senate as well? we control it too.

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