Two years ago, Tea Party madness swept Republicans into state and municipal offices throughout the country. In Arkansas, Republicans took control of both the state house and senate. The last time they accomplished that feat was 1874.
Jason Rapert won a seat in the Arkansas state senate in 2010 and, with the backing of the Koch brothers’ Americans For Prosperity, won again in 2012. The result has been the type of loony tunes legislation we’ve all come to expect from teabagging politicians.
On Wednesday, the Arkansas legislature lurched forward with a radical measure to ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected within six weeks of a pregnancy, a requirement experts say will force the state to insert a probe into a woman’s vagina to detect.
The bill also penalizes doctors who perform abortions after the arbitrary cut-off date with a Class D felony, carrying up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The chief sponsor of the measure is Republican State Senator Jason Rapert, a fiddle-playing financial planner with his own evangelical outreach center that hosts mission trips to Uganda, Ghana, and the Philippines. He has been among the loudest anti-abortion politicians in the state, and has sponsored a number of other radical bills, including a very strange effort to organize a constitutional convention to give state legislatures power over the national debt limit.
Did the 2012 election not teach them anything about messing with women and their reproductive rights?
Some Republicans (i.e. those with national ambitions) have softened their harsh rhetoric toward minorities. The Marco Rubio, Christ Christie and Jeff Bush types in the party understand that the GOP will never win another general election without the votes of Hispanics, Asians and other minorities. And therein lies the problem the Republican party is forced to deal with. Namely, Tea Party-sponsored bigots and assholes like Jason Rapert.
Here’s a clip of Rapert at a Tea Party rally in 2011 where he says:
“I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don’t represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is not going to save us. We’re going to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in!“
“I wonder sometimes, when they invited all the Moslims to come into the White House, and have ‘em a lil’ Ramadan supper, when our president could not take the time to go attend a National Prayer Breakfast. I wonder what he stands for.”
As NYmag points out, President Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast in 2009…and 2010…and 2011…and 2012. And for the record, George W. Bush attended the Ramadan dinner in the White House every year of his presidency. You can add ‘liar’ when describing Rapert.
So what is the GOP going to do with the racists and bigots who populate their party? How do they outreach to minorities while they still attract hate-mongering race-baiting politicians like Rapert? The problem for conservatives is that Rapert is not an anomaly in the Republican Party. The GOP is a haven for racists, bigots, Christian fundamentalists, climate change deniers, gay bashers and Fox-loving, government hating, low-information idiots. And contrary to Republicans’ claim that their problem is finding the right people to articulate their message, the real problem has less to do with the messenger than it has to do with the message. It has been soundly rejected by the majority of Americans.
It’s 2013 and the times are indeed changing. Republicans just don’t know it.