Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just because it's called "Violence Against Women Act" doesn't mean it helps fight violence against women

Today, the Senate voted on the misleadingly-named "Violence Against Women Act," and a number of conservative Republican Senators voted against it. Predictably, the Left is in a self-righteous fury over this, and are falling all over themselves to see who can be the one to call these Republicans women-hating jerks in the loudest voice.

Note first of all that almost all of the headlines from the mainstream media and left-leaning blogs focus on the Republican Senators who "Voted Against VAWA!" (OMG!) and only mention that the bill did in fact have enough votes to pass as an afterthought, buried deep in the articles. Are they trying to make it sound like those mean ol' Republicans were successful in blocking the bill, and now women can expect to the beatings to begin any minute?

BuzzFeed posted the list of those who voted against it as "These Are The 22 People Who Voted Against The Violence Against Women Act," with the first line, "Notice a pattern?" They didn't even try to hide the liberal bias in the post, ending it with "[hat tip] to Think Progress for pointing out the trend." (See my post earlier today with another example of BuzzFeed's bias.)

Ummm, it's not a trend, you goofballs. It's conservative Republicans actually living up to their campaign promises and not voting for bills stuffed with provisions that are unrelated to the purpose of the bill and intrude on states' rights. Is BuzzFeed going to call it a "trend" next time these same Republican vote against a tax increase? 

Huffington Post had this outrageous headline as the lead story on their page attacking Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida):

Wow, Rubio really does scare them, doesn't he? He's the liberals' Monster Under the Bed.

I spoke with someone in Rubio's office earlier today to wish them all luck with his response to the President's State of the Union address, and mentioned this vote. Rubio's office may release a statement later, but they did express frustration at the misleading way that bills are named. This "Violence Against Women Act" had an awful lot of provisions in it that had nothing to do with preventing violence against women. But, hey, the bill says it's "Against Violence," so anyone who votes against it must be a knuckle-dragging, woman-beating Neanderthal, right? Give me a break.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also voted against VAWA, and his office released the following statement less than an hour ago:

Statement on Sen. Ted Cruz's Vote Regarding VAWA

Contact: (202) 224-5922 / press@cruz.senate.gov
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spokesman Sean Rushton issued the following statement regarding Sen. Cruz's Violence Against Women Act vote, which defends states' jurisdiction over criminal law:
For many years, Senator Cruz has worked in law enforcement, helping lead the fight to ensure that violent criminals—and especially sexual predators who target women and children—should face the very strictest punishment. Indeed, Senator Cruz has personally argued and successfully defended the Texas Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment law before the Texas Supreme Court, and he has repeatedly argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the very strictest punishments for rapists and violent criminals who target women and children. Nevertheless, he voted against this federal law because stopping and punishing violent criminals is primarily a state responsibility, and the federal government does not need to be dictating state criminal law.

Part of the reason we are over sixteen and a half trillion dollars in debt is that Congress is all-too-fond of stuffing a lot of unrelated junk into bills with cuddly-sounding names. Look at all the pork that was in the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Bill" that was supposed to help victims of Hurricane Sandy but instead sent billions of dollars to states nowhere near the hurricane's path.

If this is a "trend" - Senators voting against bills that are filled with pork and intrusions on issues properly left to the states - then it's a trend that I hope continues.

UPDATE: Heritage Action has a must-read article, "VAWA Failure," which points out other problems with the legislation, namely that even the Department of Justice has admitted that "We have no evidence to date that VAWA has led to a decrease in the overall violence against women."

Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker


  1. So, I guess this bill passed... It'll be stopped in the House, but why do we have to go through this charade with every other bill? Thanks for keeping us updated, Sarah!

    1. You're welcome. Gotta stick up for my favorite Senators. :)

  2. I'm surprised they didn't just come out and say that the Republicans had all voted to actually start beating women on the floor of the Senate.

  3. You mention several times that VAWA is "stuffed" with "unrelated junk," but not once do you call out what these provisions are. Care to elaborate?

    Also, just an observation, but I don't think anyone would be surprised by your note about Buzzfeed's liberal bias--it's supposed to be entertaining, not a news organization. In fact, the site has a whole section devoted to LGBT topics--a grouping of articles certain to make conservatives shudder.

    It does, however, seem a bit silly that you call out Buzzfeed's liberal nature, but go on to recommend an article by Heritage Action, a conservative political advocacy organization. It appears that your objection is not whether a source is biased, but rather that it's biases don't match up to yours. This is why you're okay with article from Heritage Action but not anything from Buzzfeed/ThinkProgress (I doubt very much you'd like Wonkette, either). If that's the case, why bother calling out Buzzfeed at all? Like I said, everyone knows they're liberal.

    Also, Buzzfeed's article is no more than a list of all of the senators who voted against the Act. You can find the same thing if you look on the Senate website for voting records and scroll down to the section that says "Grouped by Vote Position" (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00019). I'm sure a first grader can pick out that pattern, given that every single one of them has an 'R' by his name.

    And no, this isn't the same thing as Republicans voting against tax increases. This is a bill that has had bipartisan support for almost 20 years. Tax policy usually falls along party boundaries--an issue like violence against a section of the population should not. It's pretty damning that all of the 'nays' were male conservatives.


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