Ann Telnaes lays out the real situation for anyone who thought Dobbs was a single movement.
People who predicted that it was only the first shot of a war on women were neither paranoid nor hysterical. They were right, as subsequent tightening of the laws against women’s personal autonomy has shown.
Clay Bennett (CTFP) is barely exaggerating in his depiction of the stacked Texas court in which the case against mifepristone — by far the leading and safest drug for inducing abortion — was heard this week.
If women’s freedom, and women’s lives, were not at stake, the absurdity of the venue-shopping that took place would be humorous.
There is only one reason why the lead plaintiff, based in Tennessee, brought the case against the Maryland-based pill-maker in Amarillo where there is no abortion clinic, in a state in which abortion is strictly limited and abortion pills are already illegal.
As the Texas Tribune explains, one judge hears nearly every case in the federal court there: U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.
Kacsmaryk was appointed by Donald Trump, but we’ve seen Trump-appointed judges issue judgments in contrast with conservative expectations. However, as that Texas Tribune article details, Kacsmaryk’s previous work makes him an obvious choice for anyone venue-shopping to assure themselves of a favorable rightwing outlook.
He has demonstrated rock-solid opposition not simply to abortion:
If you have any doubts about the judgment in this case, read that Texas Tribune profile and despair. I don’t often link the same article twice.
For that matter, I don’t often feature the same cartoonist twice, but Bennett offers what may be a sequel to Telnaes’s piece: For all the righteous defiance in the daytime, women have every reason to lie awake at night worrying, if not despairing, over their prospects in this deadly religious war.
Specific to the case in Amarillo, this article in Slate argues somewhat unpersuasively that Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision will not be final.
Technically, the FDA could ignore the ruling as not restricting their powers, and the pharmaceutical company could keep making the pills, and doctors could continue to distribute them, at least in states that have not (yet) banned them.
But that seems like a “two AM in the sophomore dorm” argument: It has a tinge of logic, but no real potential for actually happening on Earth 1.
Particularly since, as Mike Peters (AMS) points out, a major drugstore chain has already announced that it will not dispense the pill not simply if it is banned in that state, but merely if the state’s attorney general objects.
When corporate cowardice allows AG’s to ban things the legislature has not, we’re entering a world in which democracy is irrelevant.
And, as this NBC article details, there are plenty of places where medication abortion is either banned or strictly limited, despite the fact, likely to be overlooked in Amarillo, that mifepristone was studied longer than most other drugs and has proven over the years to be safe and effective.
Of course, assuming Judge Kascmaryk rules against use of the medication, his decision will be appealed, and, if everyone can just avoid rape, incest and accidental pregnancy long enough, it will come before the McConnell Supreme Court for a final ruling, or, as we say, confirmation.
There is some good news, however, in that, as Michael Ramirez (Creators) points out, the Republican Party seems determined to sink into the tarpit into which it stumbled in the past two elections, still trumpeting its firm denial of reality.
There remain plenty of voters as well as candidates who cling to the Big Lie, though many seem to have come down to a modified version, saying that something was wrong and sliding into “they all do it” mode, despite all the failed attempts to find a single shred of evidence that anyone was doing it beyond a few Republican supporters in the Villages.
But if the GOP fills the ballots with screwball candidates like Kari Lake and Blake Masters in 2024, they may indeed feel the tar closing in over their heads. As this piece in the New Republic says, the more responsible party members seem to have lost control of the extremists:
There does seem to be some arguing and unrest in the once-solid GOP, and Robert Ariail (AMS) had to do little exaggerating to point out the backlash, from Haley and others, when Ron De Santis echoed Trump’s pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine sentiments.
No serious observer has given Haley any shot at the nomination, but the in-fighting, particularly over the Ukraine statement, has quickly begun to tarnish De Santis, who has been seen as Trump Lite, a candidate who could preserve the MAGA brand without all the craziness.
Beyond the question of whether there is any MAGA brand without craziness, there has long been a question of whether De Santis could flourish beyond the friendly confines of Florida, and, yes, he’s begun to be referred to as “Florida Man,” which hardly enhances his image.
His recent non-candidate-candidate visit to Iowa is one of his first real ventures outside of his cocoon. He has previously only spoken to Fox/Murdoch media, and his Ukraine statement came in an interview with a Murdoch-owned British newspaper.
Florida Man may well be on the verge of learning that politics ain’t shuffleboard.
And the rest of the Republican Party may find themselves regretting that their rule for nominating a presidential candidate requires a plurality, not a majority, in the primaries. Dethroning the Orange God will require someone else actually overtaking him: Chipping away won’t do it.
Having Trump at the top of their ticket in 2024 wouldn’t be as disastrous as nominating someone else and having Trump launch an independent campaign, but it certainly wouldn’t be a golden ticket to the White House or even victory in the down-ticket races.
Much will depend on that despairing woman in Bennett’s cartoon, and the defiant one in Telnaes’s piece, harnessing their own anger and stirring up their friends, which, by the by, includes guys who give a damn.
In Dishonor of the Day
Mrs. Olsen did wear green in today’s Frazz (AMS), but, bless her, she pours some cold water on one of the myths that rise every March on Steppin McFetchit day.
I used to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, and even played on a float in the Denver parade one year before decamping to a hole-in-the-wall bar where the Irish ex-pats gathered. But after I joined an Irish pub band and played a few March 17 gigs for the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” crowd, I soured on the holiday entirely.
Still, the music was good, and, while we never recorded ourselves, here’s a playlist of stuff we used to play.
Just don’t drink any goddam green beer while you listen to it.