It’s plainly obvious that the mainstream media in the Phoenix area is totally in the tank for Republican Jerry Lewis in his state senate race against Democrat Ed Ableser in a Dem leaning Tempe district. Columnists have endorsed him and major newspapers are running flattering coverage of Lewis’s
campaign gimmick uh proposal to rein in lobbyist expenditures. Basically, Lewis is the kind of nice, amiable Republican that the establishment here swoons over.
But Lewis defeated Russell Pearce in a nationally famous recall election last year, which makes him very popular in alternative press circles too. So when it came to the attention of dudely writers and regular commenters at the Phoenix New Times that some pro-choice ladies find Lewis’s support for bills imposing draconian 20 week abortion bans and allowing doctors to lie to patients about fetal anomalies that may lead to abortion to be a tad odious, said dudebros were quick to defend their favorite Republican Senator. Here’s the New Times patiently mansplaining why we should really be hailing Lewis as a pro-choice hero.
For those cynical Democrats who’ve argued that the recall of ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce only resulted in a Republican replacing a Republican, check out the way state Senator Jerry Lewis, the GOPer who beat Pearce in that contest, voted when it came to state Representative Debbie Lesko’s anti-contraception bill, which allowed religious employers to deny their employees insurance that covered contraception: He voted against it, twice. If Lewis had never set foot in the Senate, the end result would have been the same. But the same could be said of every Democratic “nay.” And Lewis is not a D. He’s an R, and a highly religious member of the Mormon Church to boot. No, the recall did matter, and Lewis’ profile in courage on the Lesko bill is just one reason why.
What seems to be going on here is that these liberal dudebros can’t fathom us ladies with our wee feeble ladybrains being able to hold perfectly non-mutually exclusive concepts at once, such as: That the recall of Russell Pearce by Lewis was a very good thing but that Lewis is still anti-choice and, as such, is not deserving of a Senate seat in a liberal-leaning district that is not the conservative district he won his recall in. In other words, if we don’t love everything about Lewis, then the only possible conclusion is that we don’t love the recall either!
I’ll remind readers that while Lewis did magnanimously vote to allow the predominately white and middle class group of ladies with private health insurance to keep their contraception coverage (not that it mattered since the bill passed anyway), he also sponsored bills to defund Planned Parenthood. That means Jerry Lewis voted to cut poor women’s access to contraception, most likely on the theory that funding going there somehow gets abortion cooties on it.
As far as the courage required to go against his party on the contraception vote goes, Lewis voted against HB2625 in March of 2012, which was months after he filed to run for Senate in LD26. Looked at in that context, Lewis’s act of “political courage” doesn’t seem so valiant. He’s currently using the vote to burnish his moderate cred in a more liberal district. One that he knew he’d be running in when he did it. Hey, if you’re going to say he’s got courage, you should point to his anti-choice votes now, since they won’t go over well in the district if people learn of them. The courageous thing would be for Lewis to tout all his reproductive votes proudly on his website where every Tempe voter could see them.
I will say that Lewis running against Pearce in the recall last year was a true act of courage. Lewis was excoriated by the right wing media and even received death threats. So yeah, that was brave. Very. But hey, John McCain was tortured in a POW camp for six years and while I salute his courage for surviving that, it doesn’t mean I’m ever going to vote for him.
What, by the way, does Lewis’s religion have to do with it? Ed Ableser shares the same religion and votes no on every anti-choice bill. If Lewis is politically courageous, then isn’t Ableser more religiously courageous? And are we supposed to accept awful anti-woman votes on the basis that they are motivated by the legislator’s religious belief? Or is this how some liberals justify helping Jerry Lewis in the LD26 race?