November 14, 2023
This week—a lesson from a “bunny.”
You’re likely familiar with Twitchy, rightist aggregator of the left’s wild and wackiest tweets. Twitchy was founded by Old Granny Malkin (ever since Michelle Malkin tried to preserve her faded youth and relevance by hooking up with child Nazis, I can’t think of her without seeing the “let’s haul ass to Lollapalooza” grandma from The Simpsons), and now it’s owned by Townhall.
Townhall exists for one reason: to cheerlead. Conservatives go to Townhall to have Larry Elder and Kurt “Kolonel Kustardpie” Schlichter reassure them, “We’re winning! Victory is ours!”
And that’s fine. Unlike some of you, who hate my pessimism and man do you let me know it, I think there’s room for every type of columnist, and if you’re feeling down, it’s good to have a guy like NATO Schlichter who’ll exterminate your blues like a Serbian baby.
Twitchy’s run by a blonde mommy-blogger named Sam Janney, whose Twitter handle is “PolitiBunny.”
On Aug. 2, 2022, Kansas voters were presented with Amendment 2. At the time, Kansas courts had affirmed that abortion rights were codified in the state’s Bill of Rights. In other words, abortion was protected in Kansas. Amendment 2 would’ve overturned that. Amendment 2 would’ve established that there’s no right to abortion in Kansas; abortion could be outlawed by the legislature, and government funding for abortions would be halted.
The Amendment 2 choice was crystal-clear: Vote yes, abortion can be prohibited. Vote no, abortion remains an untouchable right.
Funding in the contest was even: Pro-choice orgs spent $11.3 million to defeat the measure, pro-life orgs spent $11 million to pass it.
And the result Wasn’t. Even. Close.
The pro-life side lost badly. Amendment 2 went down in flames by nearly nineteen points.
It was the first of what would be many failed attempts to outlaw abortion post-Roe.
7 a.m., Aug. 3, 2022, the morning after the disastrous pro-life defeat, the National Right-to-Life Committee released a somber statement: “Sadly, thousands and thousands of babies will die in Kansas…a tragic loss for women and their unborn babies.” Meanwhile, pro-choicers were waking up smiling and energized.
But “Bunny” Sam Janney, a die-hard pro-lifer, woke up happy too. This was her tweet regarding the Kansas defeat: “I love the smell of pro-abort tears in the morning.”
Reading it, I immediately affected high-pitched Tucker voice: “Huh?”
It made no sense. “Pro-aborts” were celebrating. They’d just scored a victory that was not only lopsided but symbolic: the first public vote on abortion post-Roe, and pro-abort won big.
Yet there was Janney, lost in a delusion that “pro-aborts” were crying that morning, and there were her followers, mindlessly posting memes about sipping liberal tears.
Finally, one of Janney’s own followers couldn’t take it anymore. “Wtf are they crying about?” he asked, “They just won in Kansas lol!”
Janney’s reply? “Did they? Not really.”
Yes! Really! They really won. But Janney couldn’t face it.
She continued that eventually “the Kansas GOP will put together a 15-week ban is my guess, and that will pass.”
I was floored. And it takes a lot to floor me these days because Trump’s made reality denial not just an art form but the great Republican pastime. But this one was beyond even my ability to comprehend (I emailed Janney to better understand her take, but she never replied). The failure of Amendment 2 meant abortion would remain protected in Kansas, even from the GOP (it’s been over a year, and Janney’s prediction never came to pass). But more to the point, why would “pro-aborts” be crying? Even if you think “they won this battle but we’ll win the war,” you still have to cede that they won this battle.
In Janney’s mind, the morning dialogue went:
Pro-aborts: “YAY! We won by a landslide!”
Janney: “Oh yeah? One day we’ll come back and win too!”
Pro-aborts: “You…you will? Oh no…OH NO! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
That’s not “cope.” That’s a mental problem.
Cut to November last year, when the predicted midterm “red wave” turned out to be the red trickle of a hobo with a kidney stone. And as dreams of GOP victory went poof, Janney had a breakdown. A very public breakdown.
I have been reading and thinking and thinking and reading and I know I really need to say something but I don’t know what to say. I’m not optimistic this morning. I’m not sure what I am. So I’m sorry, I don’t have any words of wisdom or encouragement because to be honest, this morning my heart just isn’t in it. Oh, you know me, I’ll find that chainsaw and get back to it but today, I don’t know you guys… Guess all I’ve got is to pray for us all.
This time, her fantasies failed her. This time, she couldn’t muster the cope.
It was way past midnight
And she still couldn’t fall asleep
This night the dream was leavin’
She tried so hard to keep.
And with the new day’s dawning
She felt it driftin’ away
Not only for a cruise
Not only for a day.
When I hector about rightist reality detachment, I do so for a reason. You can shelter in unreality all you want, but reality is a hide-and-seek champion. It will find you, ready or not. And if you’re not mentally ready, you’ll crack.
Abortion is a death knell not just for fetuses, but for the GOP as well. It’s a prediction I made in column after column over nine years of writing for Takimag: The end of Roe will be a disaster for Republicans. And I think, finally, the losses from last week’s elections are forcing rightists to face that reality. Abortion only hurts the GOP, never helps (that’s not to say pro-life GOPs don’t win; it’s that when they do, it’s in spite of their abortion policy, not because of it). You wanna die on a hill? Die on the hill of closing the border, deporting illegals, and imprisoning criminals of color. Don’t die on the hill of “You know what America needs? More unwanted welfare ghetto babies from semi-retarded parents!”
But of course you can’t tell that to pro-lifers, any more than you can argue with animal rights extremists. Both groups see themselves as protecting innocents from a Holocaust. So of course, from their perspective, there can be no half measures.
I’ll acknowledge my own small responsibility for the current dilemma. I was one of thousands of high-profile GOP organizers during the Obama years who dealt with pro-lifers by telling them, “Have patience! Your day will come.” It’s how we’d corral them into supporting non-abortion-focused candidates. “Sure, Joe Fetuseater is a pro-choice Republican, but c’mon, we need him in Congress! If you don’t support imperfect candidates, you’ll never get the majority you need to ban abortion once Roe is overturned!”
Because honestly, in those days, Roe being overturned seemed like such an impossibility, we never understood the implications of what we were doing by pandering to the lifers by saying, “Just wait for your day! Be patient and work with us to get there. Then you can go nuts!”
Well, their day came, and they’re going nuts.
Thanks, Cole. You douchebag.
What we should’ve been telling the lifers is, “Quit waiting for Roe. Start winning hearts and minds like the vegans do. End abortion like how vegans have bullied and guilted a generation of young people to hate meat. Don’t think about government bans; win in the marketplace of ideas.”
Not that the pro-lifers, or the GOP establishment that loves pro-life money and support, would’ve listened. But still, that doesn’t absolve me of the pandering I did in my own little neck of the Republicanville woods.
Which is why these days, freed of having to mediate GOP factions, I can be as straightforward as I want, though I’m not optimistic that anything can mitigate the GOP’s abortion misery.
I followed the reactions after last Tuesday’s newest pro-life defeats in Ohio and elsewhere. And while my friend Ann Coulter had, as always, the commonsense take, other reactions varied from MAGAs in denial (like Benny Johnson, who posted victory memes of Trump 2016), to MAGAs screaming (what else) vote fraud, to rightists like The Federalist’s John Davidson doing a Janney by claiming that the defeats were really a victory, because with pro-aborts celebrating “pagan child sacrifice,” that’ll show America what beasts they are, and they’ll never win again! (Odd how all the other “pro-abort” victory celebrations over the past fifteen months didn’t accomplish that goal, but hey, good on you, Johnny, for chasin’ the dream!)
Mickey Kaus, a friend and one of the smartest guys on the planet, expressed cautious optimism, suggesting that “the current pro-choice surge contains the seeds of its own diminution,” as once the choicers codify the right to abortion in every state, they’ll have nothing more to run on. But I must respectfully disagree. Abortion’s been enshrined in the California constitution for ages (it was legal here before Roe), and abortion is still an issue that dominates elections. With Roe gone, any state-level protections that can be given can also be taken away—even state constitutional amendments (remember, California voters passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but a federal court—and then SCOTUS—nullified it). So no, even as voters in state after state enshrine abortion rights, that will not make the issue go away for Republicans, because choicers will continue to claim that the GOP must still be defeated because they, or the right-dominated SCOTUS, could remove those protections at any moment (a perfect illustration of my point is this post-election L.A. Times op-ed).
It doesn’t help that imbecilic congressional GOPs can’t stop talking about passing a federal ban. As long as Republicans keep doing this, the issue stays alive even where abortion rights are protected state-level.
There’s not much of a way out for the GOP. Best advice I can give is, (a) don’t run on abortion, (b) run on immigration and crime, and voters might overlook your abortion stance, and (c) for fuck’s sake if you’ve managed to win a landslide reelection in a previously-swing currently-red state while advocating a fifteen-week abortion ban, don’t switch to a six-week ban when nobody asked for it and you’ve entered a national race, you moron.
Oh, and (d) learn to say no to pro-lifers. Call their bluff. They think Democrats murder children daily; they will not vote Dem. Will they stay home? Well, that’s where the math comes in. How many lifers will stay home if you ignore them vs. how many persuadable independents will vote Dem if you advocate an abortion ban?
Crunch those numbers.
One more: (e) Get off Twitter. It’s where the delusionals live.
Of course, that’s good advice for all of us.
Regardless, the abortion dilemma is like the Trump dilemma. There’s no shaking it, and there are more inevitable losses ahead.
Yep, more Dave pessimism.
For a chaser, go to Townhall. Larry Elder’s positive that the GOP’s about to win Baltimore!