Republicans Can’t Do Anything Right: Sean Duffy Edition

Donald Trump’s authenticity on issues such as ending abortion may be highly questionable, but there’s still a stylistic lesson more conventional Republicans desperately need to learn from him: people are sick of timidity in response to outrageous policies and malicious smears.

Case in point: on Friday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) said the following:

I hear a lot in this institution from minority leaders about how their communities are targeted, but what I don’t hear them talk about is how their communities are targeted in abortion […] My liberal friends, Congressional Black Caucus members, talk about fighting for the defenseless, the hopeless, and the downtrodden […] There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but their silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?

So far, so good. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) reacted with the usual hysteria:

After nearly 30 years in public office, not much surprises me anymore. So you can imagine my lack of astonishment when my dear friend and colleague from Wisconsin, Sean Duffy, rolled out abortion statistics among African-American women to lecture black legislators like me about defending the welfare of our constituents […] I don’t expect Rep. Duffy to understand why his comments are offensive […] What he and so many of his Republican colleagues fail to acknowledge is the underlying context behind high abortion rates in African-American communities. High rates of abortion are related to poverty and lack of access to quality care […] Rep. Duffy’s hypocrisy on this issue is as predictable as it is offensive. If he truly, truly wants to fight for the hopeless and voiceless, he should join us.

At which point Duffy falls apart. Moore’s attack is equal parts dishonest and malicious, purely an attempt to distract from his critique by changing the subject. This should have been met with doubling down on the original charge against her and her colleagues, with a healthy dose of shame added in.

Instead, he felt the need to appease his attacker. Continue reading

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