The Vest Pulls Out


Rick Santorum has dropped out of the Presidential race.

And I? Am a little sad, perhaps.

No doubt: the man is a bigot, a misogynist, and a homophobe. And one of the worst order: a true believer who’s certain that it’s God who told him how and who to hate.

But he did the nation a great favor, accidentally.

He said things publically that most conservatives will not. He spoke the crazy to the people and started conversations that began “Rick Santorum” and “WTF”?

It’s more difficult now, I think, for Republicans as a whole to claim that they only care about jobs, that they’re focused on the economy, when, thanks in part to Santorum, they’ve been  shouting about the evils of birth control and Planned Parenthood and women’s health for three months.

So Rick: thank you for your service. For whipping out the ol’ talking points on porn, on abortion, on the steady degradation of the “American family” under Democratic economic policies and repeating them, straight-faced, into the camera. As a country, I think we’re better off having stared the crazy in the face than having continued to pretend that it wasn’t really there at all.

Oh, and thanks for being a good sport about the whole inspiration-for-hot-Wincest thing. Appreciate that.

First He Came For The Porn. And Then He Came For Me.


Rick Santorum wants to revoke your right to jerk off.

As this story from the [right wing] Daily Caller points out, the Vest has a [missionary] position paper up on his website in which he boldly declares his desire to focus the [throbbing] power of the Justice Department on the new Great Satan: porn.

Indeed, Santorum argues that:

Every family must now be concerned about the harm from pornography. As a parent, I am concerned about the widespread distribution of illegal obscene pornography and its profound effects on our culture.

As a producer AND distributor of “illegal obscene pornography”–some of it featuring you, Rick–I’d like to say: thank you. You are a living example of the horrors that await Americans who don’t masturbate.

Let’s begin:

For many decades, the American public has actively petitioned the United States Congress for laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core adult pornography.

Name one member of this “public” of which you speak. And you don’t count, Vest. Neither does Mr. Hat.

Then Rick channels his inner Catherine MacKinnon:

Pornography is toxic to [STRAIGHT] marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women.

No wonder you hate porn, darlin’: you’ve got misogyny covered all by your lonesome, don’t you? [And notice the assumption here: women? We don’t use porn. We’re just used by it.]

I’m always amused when right-wing nutjobs break out the old school feminist talking points. And by amused I mean pushed into A Handmaid’s Tale flashback. Yes, baby, sure; that’s why you’re against porn. Because you’re trying to protect us women from the animal passions of you beastly, beastly men, whose passions are so hot and so easily aroused that they cannot. be. contained, goddamn it!

This is what I don’t get about this view of porn: doesn’t it assume that men are one Jenna Jamison [or James Deen] away from turning into Vikings? One porno too many at just the wrong moment and average Joe Zinfandel will be raping the nearest female-owned orifice, burning down the split-level, and sailing to San Francisco?

Does Rick Santorum really live in fear of his cock?

Look, there’s no question that porn has a history of exploiting women (and men) [see: Boogie Nights]. But so does capitalism. So are we all all Marxists now, Vest?  You wanna take on porn that’s “obscene”? Then go after child pornographers, those who exploit children for sexual and material gain. Leave the consenting adults out of your Jesus Nanny state.

Frankly, I have a hard time taking Santorum’s “feminist” ideals seriously. This is the same man who thinks that contraception is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Who argues that there should be “no more leading from behind for America.”

I don’t know: “America: Catcher to the World” does have a certain ring to it.

Rick, do this country a favor: lock yourself in a bathroom with whatever gets you off–if you even know anymore–and take it all out on your cock. Leave the rest of us, the rest of our private lives, our desires, our bodies, the fuck out of it.

28 Days Later (Rush Still Can’t Keep It Up)


Ok, Rush.

So part of the paradigm you’re operating in–on which your rhetoric relies–is that women should be ashamed of being on birth control.

Because using contraception, in your mind, means, ipso facto, that we are sluts. That we have what is, in your opinion, “too much” sex.

Your rhetoric relies on the power of shame, that central tenant of control wielded by the dominant [male] discourse.

I cannot alter the fact that this sense of humiliation over our own sexuality is deeply ingrained in many women. That it was once dug into me.

But what I can do is deny you and Santorum and Darrell Issa and any other dickless wonder with a bully pulpit the opportunity to shame me.

See the image above, Rush? This is my birth control pack for the month. Just one active pill left, one bullet in the ol’ hormonal chamber until my next cycle starts. Look closely: you can almost see the loose morality oozing from the bubble pack, can’t you?

I’ve been on birth control since I was 21. And yup, it’s kept me from getting pregnant for over a decade now. And it’s also regulated my cycle in a way that my body could not by itself. But mostly, it’s kept me from getting pregnant. When I have sex. With a man. Quell horror!

Rush, frankly, I don’t give a fuck what you think of, well, anything, but you must know–you have to learn–that your on-air idiocy has consequences for those whom you attack and, mercifully, for you, too.

Any woman’s decision to take birth control–to take control over our own bodies, over our own reproductive systems–is none of your damn business.

Neither is the apparently flaccid state of your dick any of mine, but so long as you keep coming after me and mine, I’ll keep posting this and reminding anyone who reads this that your radio show is the audio equivalent of Brett Favre’s cell phone photos of his junk: desperate, misguided, and a goddamn guarantee that you ain’t getting laid anytime this century.

Good, Bad–I’m The Guy With The Gun (it’s true: Rush Limbaugh has no dick)

Pretty sure you'll need a condom for that, babe.

Every time I think that today’s GOP has reached the apex of suck, they come back with a whole new brand of crazy.

Today, Rush Limbaugh made an aggressive push to regain the Raging Asshat title from Rick Santorum, who’s had a death grip on the thing for the last week. Limbaugh, for some reason, felt that he had informed opinion on the [frankly ridiculous] bitchfest that Congress is engaged in over birth control; specifically, over insurance companies and employers covering the cost of birth control, costs which can be prohibitive for some women.

You may recall that the House held a hearing on this issue in which they refused to hear from any, you know, women on the issue. This visual fail was made possible by Republicans’ piss-poor attempts to recast birth control–a matter of women’s health–as one of religious freedom [?!], one in which teh evil evil government was attempting to enforce its questionable morality on the long-suffering penises of America.

That is: some [men] in Congress don’t want to have to pay for birth control, because that goes against God’s plan of sex only being for procreative purposes, for women to be tied to the home and children, and for men to rule the motherfucking world. Or, as Rick Santorum put it in October of 2010 [dude was ahead of his time, right?]:

Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

As Dean Winchester would say: “Okay, you lost me there, sparky.”

The Democrats on the committee had a field day with the all-male panel image and ran with it for a couple of news cycles. Last week, they staged their own hearing–a purely performative one, since they are in the minority in the House, and thus on the relevant committee–on birth control in which they heard from Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student. In her testimony, Fluke:

told the story of a fellow law school student who required access to the pill in order to deal with a medical condition. Not being able to afford it, because it wasn’t provided on the health care plan, the student wound up losing an ovary.

Got that? So a fellow student [not Fluke herself] LOST AN OVARY, which, hey, she might have wanted to use, thanks, because the school’s health care plan didn’t cover the cost of birth control. Pretty clear connection, for me, between women’s health and health care covering birth control.

Rush Limbaugh, bless him, doesn’t agree. He weighed in on the issue today [ETA: On Wednesday, actually]:

What does it say about the college co-ed Susan [sic] Fluke who goes before a Congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? That makes her a slut, right?

Yes, he really said this.

But oh, wait. There’s more:

Makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception she wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the the pimps. The johns. We would be the johns. No! We’re not the johns–well, uuuhhhhh, pimp’s not the right word.  Ok, so she’s not a slut, she’s round-heeled [???]. I take it back.

[I love the metadiscussion he has with himself over the difference between a pimp and a john. Heh! And this is my transcription, for what it’s worth, so any errors are mine.]

So it’s evident, right, that he has no fucking clue what he’s talking about: he clearly did not bother to read or listen to Fluke’s actual testimony, since he a) gets her name wrong; and b) misunderstands the content of her testimony. Could be dismissed out of hand right there.

But it’s Rush, and I imagine this sort of gleeful ignorance is pretty de riguer for him.

I find this conceptual leap completely confounding, if one uses Earth logic, but totally understandable in fake Conservative logic:

  1. Woman wants to use birth control.
  2. Birth control is related to sex.
  3. Woman wants to have sex.
  4. Ergo, woman is a whore.

And this is, in large part, why the GOP is so hot and heavy to recast birth control–women’s health in general, I’d argue–as a question not of morality but of “religious freedom.” Such a rhetorical move–however lumbering and poorly executed–allows them to have their cake and eat it too: they can still have yahoos like Rush and Fox News make the old familiar, always-already argument that women are whores [what’s up, Eve?], while politically positioning themselves as champions of liberty, rather than would-be installers of chastity belts around the scary, scary ladyparts.

But, hey, what about men?

If the government shouldn’t subsidize female sexuality, shouldn’t encourage women to have lots of dirty sex, then it shouldn’t subsidize men either, right? Surely the GOP is pushing for insurance companies not to have to cover Viagra?

Riiiiight.

Rush, you have some experience with this one, don’t you, darling?

As Rick Perry might say: oops.

Here’s what I’d say: Rush, you do not have control over any woman’s reproductive system or her sex life. You are not a moral paragon, nor does any uterus tremble in fear at your opinion. At your dick, maybe, but your opinion? No.

So you keep spewing Santorum about women’s sex lives and I’ll keep reminding folks that you can’t keep it up. A small protest, perhaps. But, given its subject, that seems only fitting.

Freedom’s just another word for liberal dogmatic thought

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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Earlier this week, President Obama called once again for all American children to have the opportunity to attend college. This isn’t a new idea for him; it’s one he’s touted in some form since his 2008 campaign, but one to which he’s returned repeatedly since last month’s State of the Union address.

For Obama–for a hell of a lot of other people–education offers freedom.

Unfortunately, in the world where Rick Santorum spins, a world where other people’s sex lives pose a clear and present danger to his own, freedom = slavery to “liberal” ideology, to thoughts that are critical of this country, her leaders, her practices. In a speech in Michigan on Friday, Santorum told an enthusiastic [geriatric] audience that:

President Obama once said that he wants everyone in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor. That’s why [Obama] wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.

Yes, that’s right: America needs some of its children not to go to college so that those children can “work hard every day”–which, apparently, people with college degrees–people like Santorum!–do not do. Yup. We just sit around not fixing shit and watching the world go to hell as we stare at our degrees and drink pinot and sing the Marseilles. Man, Rick: you nailed it.

But let’s be clear: for the Vest, giving all Americans–read: black, white, latino, asian, rich, poor, southern, northern, first-generation, seventh generation, christian, muslim, atheist, jew, woman, man, gay, hetero, transgender, bi–the same chance to access higher education is akin to packing these young minds into the rhetorical Amistad and shipping them off to Marxistville. Learning = indoctrination in what Santorum sees as multicultural bullshit, gender equality, and the notion that no idea should be swallowed hook, line, and sinker without critical reflection and inquiry.

You fear ideas, man? You fear exposure to ideas? What does that say about the strength of your own convictions? Oh, that’s right: we’re not talking about what you believe–for you, it’s a given that those ideas are “correct,” grounded in your god’s law or whatever. For you, any idea that doesn’t match your Opus Dei-inscribed view of life, the universe, and everything is “liberal” and therefore dangerous and wrong.

Right.

Also, Rick, my love, you have a very strange understanding of how “teaching” works. I can assure you, as one of those “liberal” professors for whom you express so much contempt, that exposing my students to ideas, to perspectives that are unlike their own, does not automatically cause them to adopt those ideas. Far from it. Students are not obedient little sponges, darlin’–they come in just as resistant, just as married to the ideas they consider their own as any adult. If anything, I think, they are a weird paradox at 18, 19 years old: on the one hand, they’re open and pliant and more receptive to experience than ever before. But on the other, they recognize that openness, this newfound desire to be more than they are and they resist that, push back against their own wills with everything they’ve got; not all the time, not in every instance, but often enough so that their own identity–the one they’ve spend their adolescence and late teen years constructing carefully, so carefully–is not corrupted.

They’re smart, Rick; they’re so much fucking smarter than you give them credit for. And yeah, sometimes they change their minds but they’re the ones that do the changing, not me or any of my colleagues [not all of whom are the liberal bastions of idiomatic thought you seem to imagine].

And that’s what you’re really afraid of, isn’t it, Rick? Of your kids changing their own minds. Having thoughts that you didn’t plant in there with the spade of the Bible. It’s called growing up, man: it’s called becoming a human being. It has less to do with what job the kids end up getting, whether they’re on Wall Street or own a business on Main Street or care for kids with cancer or create their own comic series. It has much more to do with the way that the kids see the world, the epistemology that they fashion for themselves to help them make sense of their own existence and I know I’ve lost you now, baby, because I used the word “epistemology” and if you’re not careful, I’ll point right back to Foucault and that would REALLY piss you off, wouldn’t it, me citing the ideas of a gay French dude, right?

So, Rick, let me bring it back to a place that maybe you can understand, one where you won’t be smelling poppers and dreaming of Donna Summer as you read my text. I used to work for an amazing woman, a university president [stay with me, Vest: take a deep breath] who didn’t just believe that, as our university’s slogan said, “Education Offers Freedom,” she embodied this ideal. Both of her parents and her grandparents: all college graduates. Her parents: both teachers who moved from Chicago back to the South in the 1950s, going back to their family’s roots–to the roots of slavery–to teach those who hadn’t gotten out, not yet. She and her husband: both teachers early in their careers. She: president of a for-profit university [hey, you like that idea, right?] with an on-campus presence that encouraged students, faculty, and staff alike to come to her with concerns, questions, comments. She embodied the potential of education in her DNA, in her everyday actions, and in the genuine love and concern she felt for all of the students, even those she met only in passing, or only on graduation day when she handed them their diploma.

Rick, this woman’s life illustrates the truth of the axiom that education can offer freedom: from poverty, from circumstance, from history, and yes, from ignorance, from fear, from derision. But the key word here is CAN; education isn’t a magic bullet, it’s not the universal means of escape from the dominant ideology. It’s a tool, man, a tool to which all those who want it should have access. This is what the President means when he says that everyone should be able to go to college: everyone should have the chance to see if education is the key to their lock, an answer–never the only answer–to some of their questions.

Your fear precedes you, sir. Your desire to consign others to ignorance all in the name of “freedom” is repugnant and will only hasten your obsolesce as a political and cultural force.

Vestmentum Returns!

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The Vest returns from the dead! Again!

Man, you think Romney would have learned to burn the bones by now. Sheesh.

It’s like Newt and Santorum are trying to out-Carrie each other in this thing. Amazing.

I wonder if the mainstream GOP hatchets who came after Newt post-Carolina will try to do the same thing to the Vest. Let’s see: can’t attack his fidelity to his family (he’s so Catholic that he makes the Pope look lapsed). Can’t attack his record in Congress as easily as you can Newt’s, either, as he did not hold a leadership position and also didn’t have a hard-on for the camera like a certain former Speaker.

However, expect to see him nailed on the issue of “earmarks,” a word that makes the Tea Parties frothier than, well, you know. Still, that attack won’t trump his religious appeal to self-declared evangelical voters, I don’t think. Which is kind of amazing, since he’s so damn Catholic. 40 years ago, JFK’s faith was a liability; now, it’s one of the Vest’s biggest selling points. I suspect it’s also a lot of “Not Mormon” rather than “Yay Catholic.” Just keep mentioning those God and Jesus fellas, Rick, and the evangelical will keep dancing to your tune.

The Romney peeps are pushing hard against the “he fucked up” narrative pretty hard; they started launching preemptive this-is-no-big-deal messages to the press last night even before all of the (admittedly non-binding) results were in. [I wonder if the Vest would even want to play in contests that are ‘binding,’ but. Ew.] Still, Mittens has definitely lost the AM news cycle and it’s a big power up for the Vestmentum.

Dr. Paul and Newt were both under the media invisibility cloak last night, and they’ll have to fight a bit harder to get their message out–especially Newt. Paul is talking to a very specific subset audience and his campaign, it seems to me, is structured to appeal directly to that electorate. Newt and his flesh torpedo of a “campaign,” on the other hand–I have no idea who he’s trying to appeal to, now, other than people who are willing to buy his books.

His “No Sleep Till The Convention” strategy strikes me as hilarious and potentially profitable for our side and a real wild card for the GOP. His campaign is the political equivalent of a butterfly in the chaos effect–the hurricane warnings are up for Typhoon Newt, but how might that affect Hurricane Rick? All will be revealed, I suppose, as the GOP keeps writing the 2012 presidential race in real time.