The California Republican Party is bankrupt, both intellectually and financially. Its voter registration has dropped to just 30 percent of the electorate. And last year Republicans lost so many seats in the Legislature that Democrats achieved super-majority status in both houses.
– CRA President Celeste Greig
But hope springs eternal, as they say, and party leaders had pinned their hopes for reenergizing the faithful at their convention in Sacramento over the weekend with a rousing keynote address by Turdblossom himself, Karl Rove.
Channeling House Speaker John Boehner, who had the Beltway media clutching its collective pearls last week when he railed ungrammatically at the Senate to “get off their ass” and pass an anti-Sequester plan — even though the House has no viable plan on the table either — Rove rallied the 500 or so conventioneers with similar language.
“My message is this: get off your ass,” Rove said, during his keynote speech. “Get back in the game and fight. Don’t give in to what the other side wants.”
The flaw in that message, of course, is that the policies the “other side wants” — like a balanced approached to deficit reduction, gun safety measures and the rest — are also what majorities of voters want.
Rove recently launched the Conservative Victory Project, a PAC intended to drive tea-party and birther candidates and their ilk out of primary races, so it was delightfully paradoxical that his message was overshadowed in media coverage by Celeste Greig, the leader of the California Republican Assembly — a haven for tea partyists and birthers — who reasserted the Republicans’ magical thinking about “legitimate rape” and pregnancies in an interview with a reporter:
Ironically, Greig was in the midst of criticizing former Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” It was a remark that many believe led not only to his defeat in November but also helped tarnish the Republican brand around the country.
“That was an insensitive remark,” Greig said. “I’m sure he regretted it. He should have come back and apologized.”
Greig, however, went on to say: “Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized. I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”
The issue drew a quick rebuke from Democrats, who said Greig’s comments were no different than Akin’s.
“If a woman is near-ovulating or ovulating, and sperm comes in direct contact, she gets pregnant — it doesn’t matter what the nature of the act was,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. “It’s just outrageous, beyond absurd. It’s insulting. It’s the same line of thinking of ‘If we just dress differently, or behave differently, we won’t be raped.’ They’re basically saying ‘while we’re being raped, if we hate it enough we won’t get pregnant.'”
Most research on rape and pregnancy has shown roughly the same rates of pregnancy than pregnancies resulting from consensual sex. But one 2003 study showed the rate at which women get pregnant after rape to be more than double than that of a single act of consensual sex, presumably because women who are raped are less likely to use contraception. The study used data from the United States National Violence Against Women survey.
The per-incident rape-pregnancy rate was 6.42 percent, according to the report, which was published in the journal Human Nature. Of women having consensual sex, the per-incident pregnancy rate was 3.1 percent.
As testimony to how extreme CRA has become, its president Celeste Greig is one of the few political officials in the United States who would willingly be photographed with Birther Queen Orly Taitz.
CRA bills itself as the state’s oldest and largest GOP volunteer organization. It is also apparently just as bankrupt as the state party itself. According to OpenSecrets.Org, CRA listed total receipts of $229 — not $299k, just two-hundred and twenty-nine dollars — with $48 “cash on hand,” as of its last filing, on Dec. 31. 2012.
Rove’s message to the California GOP should have been, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”