Today's GOP has a talent for gratuitously making itself look bad.
On Tuesday, a growing faction threatened to derail the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate with 22 dissenting Republican votes. A couple of months ago, Senate Republicans defeated a treaty on disabilities -- rebuking their own party's war heroes, Bob Dole and John McCain, who spoke in support of the measure. One can imagine that for their next stunt, Republicans will oppose a bill to help the elderly across the street, or vote against a resolution honoring motherhood and apple pie.
Surely Republicans, whatever you may think of them, are not actually in favor of violence against women. But if they're going to absorb all this terrible publicity, they must have significant substantive objections to the legislation in question, right?
I set out to understand what the opposition to VAWA, as it's called, is really about. Despite its Senate passage Tuesday, it could face obstacles in the House, which passed its own version of the legislation last year and refused to consider the Senate's bill. (Critics say the House version is watered down.) Conservative groups including the Family Research Council, Heritage Action, and FreedomWorks have all urged lawmakers to vote against the bill.