Tuesday, August 21, 2012

JUICEBLENDER: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Under Fire for Rape Issues // PLUS: Bongino Receives Sarah Palin Endorsement

Here's a random blend of political tidbits from recent news, starting with news that former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has endorsed U.S. Senator Ben Cardin's opponent Dan Bongino:

JUICE #1: SARAH PALIN ENDORSES MARYLAND GOP SENATE NOMINEE DAN BONGINO - Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino faces an uphill battle in his race against incumbent U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. But this week, he received an endorsement from former Alaska Governor and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The rightwing Monoblogue reported on the bizarre development, and we provide Palin's full endorsement below. Maryland Juice is not sure that a Palin endorsement is a net gain for any statewide candidate in Maryland, but check out Monoblogue for the rightwing perspective on this endorsement.
SARAH PALIN: Though political pundits often dismiss conservative candidates running in deep blue states, I don’t believe in ignoring good candidates simply because they’re fighting uphill battles against the odds. In fact, I find such candidates incredibly brave and especially worthy of encouragement. In many cases, they are often the most articulate and courageous new conservative voices out there.
In 2012, we must cede no ground in our effort to win back control of the Senate and secure the House. We must fight every race to make sure we equip our next President with a wise Congress ready to work for all Americans.  We also owe it to voters in every state – even the deep blue ones – to support good candidates for office so that they have a genuine choice in November. That is why I’m honored to announce my support for Dan Bongino in his Senate race in the “deep blue state” of Maryland.

Dan is not a politician, but he has spent his career protecting them. He is a decorated United States Secret Service agent who served under three Presidents. Dan has seen what politicians have done to our country, and he’s decided, “If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.” He based his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Maryland on a strong commonsense conservative platform, won his primary, and is now fighting an uphill battle against a 45-year career politician who in fact inherited his first political office from his uncle at the tender age of 23 way back in 1967 and has been in elected office ever since.

This is more than just a race of Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It’s about taking our country back from the career politicians in both parties who have spent us into debt, nearly taxed us to death, enriched themselves, rewarded their cronies at our expense, and have no vision to help the private sector create the jobs we need to get this economy moving again. They are the reason why Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low. In supporting Dan Bongino, we are offering Maryland voters a clear choice either to continue with the failed policies and crony capitalism of the permanent political class, or to shake things up with Dan Bongino and cast a vote that helps put our country back on the path to prosperity.

JUICE #2: REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT UNDER FIRE FROM JOHN DELANEY & DCCC FOR AKIN RAPE ISSUE - Maryland Juice is currently on the road right now, but I haven't been spared from the firestorm of controversy surrounding GOP Rep. Todd Akin's comments about rape. If you haven't been following the news, The Financial Times had a very quick summary of what's going on: "...Todd Akin, the Republican’s Missouri Senate hopeful, created an uproar by saying 'legitimate rape' did not usually cause its victims to fall pregnant... Mr Akin’s weekend comments were a godsend for Mr Obama and the Democrats..." Indeed, soon after Akin's comments went viral, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released the following press release tying Akin to embattled GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (excerpt below):
DCCC: Congressman Todd Akin’s outrageous claims this weekend that some rapes are “legitimate” has prompted outcry from both Republicans and Democrats but when Republicans like Congressman Akin pushed a bill to redefine rape in Washington, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06) was right there with him. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett is a sponsor of a bill that sought to change the definition of rape and incest and limit health care options to women who are victims of “forcible rape” only. Congressman Bartlett joined Akin and the far-right wing of the Tea Party to claim that that some kinds of rape and incest are consensual and women’s access to health care should be restricted accordingly....
Following on the heels of the DCCC press release, Maryland Juice received a press statement from Rep. Bartlett's Democratic opponent, John Delaney, calling on the GOP incumbent to denounce Rep. Todd Akin's comments (excerpt below):
JOHN DELANEY: Today John Delaney called on Congressman Bartlett to denounce his fellow co-sponsor, Rep. Todd Akin’s comments.  “While we respectfully disagree on many issues, I would hope Congressman Bartlett and I could agree there should be no qualification when it comes to an issue as serious as rape. I denounce the comments by Rep. Akin and hope Congressman Bartlett will do the same,” said Sixth Congressional District candidate John Delaney.  Delaney continued, “As the father of four daughters, April and I care deeply about issues effecting women, and believe – regardless of your views on choice – that there is no choice in rape and it is deplorable at every level.”
Roscoe Bartlett, for his part, quickly put out a statement attempting to distance himself from the controversy and attacking John Delaney's attempts to tie him to Akin's comments:
ROSCOE BARTLETT: Congressman Roscoe Bartlett released the following statement about Congressman Todd Akin’s comments, “I have known Todd Akin for over a decade and consider him a friend, but his  recent comments about rape are offensive and wrong. There is no room in politics for these types of statements”

“As a human physiologist I know there is no scientific backing to Todd’s claims.” Bartlett explains. In a tweet late Monday afternoon, the Maryland Democrat Party despicably attempted to tie Congressman Bartlett to Todd Akin’s comments.

“This is the type of negative politics that Marylanders are sick and tired of, and John Delaney should publically repudiate this untrue and disgusting statement from his State Party, just as Congressman Bartlett has repudiated Todd Akin’s comments,” said Bartlett Campaign manager Ted Dacey.
The tit-for-tat continued, with the Maryland Democrats highlighting Rep. Bartlett's legislative record in Congress, which apparently included multiple attempts to redefine rape through bills co-sponsored with Rep. Akin:
MARYLAND DEMOCRATIC PARTY: After having the facts of his record pointed out Roscoe Bartlett is on the attack. Rather than engage in a pointless back and forth there are two simple questions Bartlett should answer to let Maryland voters know where he stands on women’s issues:
  1. Does Roscoe Bartlett believe abortion should be legal in the case or rape or incest?
  2. What does Roscoe Bartlett believe the difference is between rape and "forcible rape"?

“The only thing that needs repudiation is Roscoe Bartlett’s voting record on women’s issues,” said David Sloan, Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party. 

Sloan continued, “Roscoe Bartlett and Todd Akin co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape that the Washington Post reported could exclude ‘statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.’ Roscoe Bartlett and Todd Akin have repeatedly co-sponsored a bill that makes abortions illegal in the case of rape or incest. Congress Bartlett should either stand by his legislation or admit that he’s wrong.”

Below are the facts about Roscoe Bartlett’s voting record. The tweets Bartlett referenced are here, here, here, and here.

The Sanctity of Life Act

This bill outlaws abortion in the case of rape or incest. It does this by defining a zygote as a full legal person thus making all abortions legally speaking murder. The most recent version is from Paul Broun but Bartlett has been voting on similar legislation for years.

2011 H.R. 212 Sponsor: Paul Broun Cosponsors: 65, including Roscoe Bartlett and Todd Akin
2009 H.R. 227 Sponsor: Paul Broun Cosponsors: 61, including Roscoe Bartlett and Todd Akin
2007 H.R. 4157 Sponsor: Paul Broun Cosponsors: 61, including Roscoe Bartlett and Todd Akin
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act

H.R. 3 was introduced on 1/20/2011 to ban taxpayer funding for abortion. The GOP introduces such bills each session and always includes an exemption for rape and incest. The 2011 version was different.

Bartlett co-sponsored the bill on the date of Introduction, as did Akin (1/20/2011). The 9 page legislation included new language ‘‘(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape…”

The Washington Post wrote that:

A Republican bill seeking to permanently cut off federal funding for abortions has angered women's groups that say it alters the definition of rape, permitting coverage for the procedure only in cases in which the rape is considered "forcible."…

Under the proposed language, however, rape becomes "forcible rape." Critics say the modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.

Bartlett never commented on the legislation but after the uproar the GOP dropped the language.

JUICE #3: REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT'S SURVIVALIST LIFESTYLE UNDER SCRUTINY - The Washington Post this week published a bizarre profile of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, highlighting his strange survivalist lifestyle. Apparently, Bartlett (a multi-millionaire) has a quasi-Ted Kaczynski view of the world, with a cabin in the woods and all the trimmings (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Deep in the West Virginia woods, in a small cabin powered by the sun and the wind, a bespectacled, white-haired man is giving a video tour of his basement, describing techniques for the long-term preservation of food in case of “an emergency....”

The electrical grid could fail tomorrow, he frequently warns. Food would disappear from the shelves. Water would no longer flow from the pipes. Money might become worthless. People could turn on each other, and millions would die....

What is atypical is that the owner of this cabin is Roscoe G. Bartlett, the longtime Republican congressman from Maryland. Over the past two decades, he has developed a following as one of the country’s premier proponents of preparedness against impending doom, even urging the more than 80 percent of Americans who live in urban areas to relocate....
Readers of Maryland Juice may recall that months ago, we highlighted some strange policy obsessions from Mr. Bartlett, including his insistence that the U.S. Government spend billions of dollars to defend against electro-magnetic pulse attacks.

JUICE #4: GOVERNOR O'MALLEY TO SPEAK AT DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION - Lastly, in an unsurprising turn of events, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will have a featured speaking role at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina (Sep. 4-6). USA Today reported that Gov. O'Malley would join a line-up of other high-profile Democrats. The obvious context is that Maryland's Governor is a would-be candidate for President in 2016, and the DNC Conventions are often preview opportunities for White House candidates. See the USA Today article excerpt below:
USA TODAY: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have been added to the list of speakers for the Democratic National Convention....
Maryland Juice will also have a live correspondent at the Democratic Convention this September. Stay tuned for details!

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