It never ceases to amaze me how many conservatives don’t understand political strategy.

I recently wrote a post about the outrageous assertions by Democrats in the Texas legislature that a GOP-led bill to place new restrictions on abortion. In it, I detailed the process of reporting a rape and how it is investigated. I said that once a forensic nurse finishes her exam, the victim is given several prescriptions, one of them for the morning-after pill. This process tells the truth about the Democrat claims that SB5 would “virtually ban” abortion in Texas because the GOP refused to add an exception for cases of rape and incest. Whether by ignorance or on purpose, Democrats preyed heavily on the emotions of those who believe women should have the right to have an abortion if they are raped. The claim was outrageous on its face, but the GOP missed a crucial opportunity.

The Texas GOP adamantly refused to add exceptions to the bill for instances of rape and incest. As previously mentioned, the argument falls flat when you know what really happens, but that matters none. A lie, repeated often enough, becomes truth – and the Democrats had not only their followers but those on the fence and the independent voters in their pocket as well because they kept beating the same drum over and over again.

They had an opportunity to shut them up by adding such exceptions. SB5’s author, Jodie Laubenberg, made a major faux pas when she claimed that a rape kit contained a procedure that would “clean you out”, thus avoiding pregnancy – while on the right track, she was still off the mark and the mistake was an embarrassing one. The Democrats ended up using it in their favor. Wendy Davis, representing the Fort Worth area, announced, planned, and carried out an 11-hour filibuster to avoid the vote taking place before the end of the special session.

Even people I know who are more conservative than anything else in their political views held up her actions as nothing short of heroic. They didn’t know the truth about her claims, but they knew what she and Senfronia Thompson were claiming. This bill wouldn’t have come anywhere close to “virtually banning” abortion in Texas, but the Democrats led everyone to believe it, all because the GOP refused to budge on the issue of making exceptions for rape and incest in the bill.

Will the bill pass in the next special session? As long as Wendy Davis doesn’t hold out for another 11 hours, it likely will. It is absolutely criminal that the Democrats in Texas are so ardently against a bill that would enact stringent requirements for abortion clinics, safety measures that are badly needed. They wailed and moaned about an abortion ban forcing women to choose unsafe methods for terminating pregnancies, but none of them are willing to face the reality that a lot of abortion clinics are already very unsafe – with unsanitary conditions, unsterilized instruments and untrained staff that are acceptable because there are almost no requirements at all for abortion clinics. The Democrats, however, will oppose any such bill on principle alone because they can’t stand the idea of there being any limits on what they call “a woman’s right to choose.”

What the GOP did in their stalwart refusal, however, is far worse than just stand their ground. They couldn’t properly articulate their stance on the rape exception and as a result fell flat on their collective face. In so doing they gift-wrapped an amazing opportunity and practically hand-delivered it to Wendy Davis.

Davis has ambition to go much further than the State Senate. With this moment in her pocket, she stands a very good chance of one day landing a stint as governor. That’s not something I’m sure I want to live with. The conservatives in Texas seem to think that their majority can never be broken. Conservatives in Colorado once believed the same thing, and now their state has passed among the toughest gun control laws in the country. In short, the Texas GOP set her up for future victory. All because they can’t stand the thought of giving an inch of ground in one simple battle.

Was the Democrat argument silly? Yes. Were they wrong in their claims? Yes. Those two facts have not stopped the Democrats from gaining a foothold, however small it may be. Fellow conservatives from my home state are mad at me right now, calling me an “underground moderate” and telling me, “we’re conservatives, Mel. We don’t play games.” Unfortunately, the liberals in this case ARE playing games. Because they’re better at strategizing, they’re winning that game.

Adding an exception wouldn’t have been appeasement. It wouldn’t have even been the “moderate” thing to do. It would have taken the wind out of the Democrats’ sails. Now, if the bill doesn’t pass in the next special session without making that exception, it will still be seen as a loss. They have no choice but to make certain they pass it as is. As time goes on, Wendy Davis will be waiting for the next moment of stubborn weakness so she can play the game some more. The GOP needs to learn how to play this game or we’ll all be sent home.

It’s The Economy, Stupid! (Part I)

We all remember when Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign came out with that ridiculous line, but liberals are having some serious issues grasping rudimentary economic principles these days. Economics can grow into a complex subject, for sure, but there are some rules that remain very simple. The simplest of them all:

People go into business to turn a good profit.

I’m not talking pennies-on-the-dollar kind of profit. The type of person who goes into business for themselves spends a lot of time, money and effort on their education. They put substantial investments into their companies. Every entrepreneur takes a huge risk by starting a business, because they stand to lose quite a bit in the process. Most business owners do experience some failure before they become successful. Some owners lose everything and never find success. Those who do create jobs and pump money into the economy.

With that in mind, I’m struggling to understand how liberals are coming to the conclusion that major restaurant chains are cutting employee hours and other big businesses are starting mass layoffs solely to get revenge on Barack Obama.

I’m reading so many opinions about this thing that I’ve gotten lost in the madness. There are a wide range of expressions, ranging from the well-intentioned (“I can’t spend money with a company that would cut back on employee hours to avoid paying more”) to the breathtakingly stupid (“he’d only have to pay 14 cents per employee for their health insurance!”). I’m afraid I’m all out of patience for the misinformed.

What on Earth did any of you expect? You just had to pass that healthcare monstrosity. It was the most important thing in the world to you. Did you stop to think before pushing and then passing that legislation that there may be consequences? Did you not think that by forcing businesses to provide health insurance to all employees working 30 hours or more per week you might be increasing their cost of operating and, in turn, force them to find savings somewhere? It really is a simple concept, and you not only miss it, you assign blame to the most whimsical thing you can come up with.

I have the exact same health policy that I had in 2005. It’s the best policy my employer offers. In 2005, though, it literally cost me less than half what it costs now. As much as it costs me, my employer pays three times what I do for the policy – that’s on top of my salary. I used to pay $19 a paycheck. NOW I pay $52 a paycheck after three years of steep hikes. The health insurance bill you insisted must be foisted upon all of us is the reason.

Liberals had decided that health care costs were out of control and that something had to be done. Their brilliant idea was to force everyone to get health insurance, force insurers to cover all kinds of things that weren’t required before, eliminate annual spending caps and offer the Jersey salute to anyone even breathing the words “tort reform”. How is this supposed to help us? I still haven’t figured it out.

You said it was unfair for insurers to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so now the law bars all of them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. The college kids who studied underwater basket weaving and couldn’t find decent jobs, along with the ones who didn’t go to college at all (particularly those who didn’t even finish high school), wanted to be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until at least age 26. Now the law requires that all insurers offer coverage to “dependents” up to that age, even if they don’t live with their parents. The hippies wanted their insurance to cover alternative therapies, including spiritual healing and acupuncture – things we’ve paid for out of our own pocket for eons. The feminists wanted their birth control for free because they forget to take the pill half the time, so they insisted on forcing coverage for much riskier forms of birth control (ever hear of pulmonary embolism?). And just to make sure we’re all being responsible citizens, you’ve banned insurers from charging co-pays for services that fall under the “preventive care” category.

You weren’t willing to enact tort reform to dramatically scale back the constant abuses on medical malpractice suits, but you just had to have all this other crap in the bill. The federal government is supposed to subsidize some 30-odd million people getting health insurance now, too – and it’s supposed to be paid for by massive cuts to medicare (that aren’t supposed to exist) and higher taxes on the very same business owners we’re forcing new costs on in the first place.

It’s no wonder our costs have gone up. Ostensibly, this was dreamed up for two reasons: first, making sure health care coverage is affordable. Because you insisted on forcing insurers to cover everything but a trip to the moon, fat chance of it ever being affordable again. Second, you wanted to control the price of healthcare due to those who are uninsured. The uninsured go to the ER for everything under the sun, from hangnails to the sniffles (thereby negating the purpose of an EMERGENCY Room), and when they stiff the hospital on the bill the costs supposedly get passed on to patients who ARE insured, right? So this new bill is supposed to cure that – the problem is that it drives up the cost of my premiums and gives more incentive for my employer to tweak my plan to include deductibles (meaning I pay more out-of-pocket – I didn’t have a deductible back in 2005). I’m now paying a lot more than I was paying before.

Anyone who really thought this would not be the end result of enacting the steaming pile of excrement that is the health insurance bill was either lied to or willfully ignorant. The worst part about the whole thing is that they did it “because it’s the right thing to do”, implying a moral need – the very same thing they castigate conservatives for.

Next, in Part II – how it all affects businesses