Republicans for Rape (Now With Push Polls!)

Why did Republicans vote to deny rape victims their day in court?  Why do they want women to be raped?

Oh, you haven’t heard?  Republicans are pro-rape.  At least, that’s the latest sensational charge levied by liberals, and they’re hoping it will stick when voters go to the polls in 2010.

That’s why they’ve started push polling the smear.  Here’s a question asked of likely North Carolina voters during a poll commissioned by Change Congress, an organization working against the reelection of Sen. Burr (R-NC).

Jamie Leigh Jones is an American woman who was gang raped by her co-workers while working for a defense contractor in Iraq. Her employer tried to cover up the rape and prevented her from filing charges in court – instead forcing her to use a private arbitrator chosen by the employer. I’m going to ask you a few questions about this.

Congress is considering legislation that would allow victims of rape to bring their case to court instead of being forced by their employers to use private arbitrators. Some businesses oppose this legislation because arbitration costs less money than going to court. Do you favor or oppose this type of legislation?

Subsequent questions focused on how voters would feel about Sen. Burr opposing the legislation. (He and 29 other Republicans voted against the measure.)  The poll also implied that the defense industry was buying congressional opposition to the bill at the expense of protections for rape victims.

Understandably, 73 percent of those polled said they would disapprove if Burr voted against the legislation and 74 percent said they favored the legislation. Considering the wording, one wonders what the other 26 percent were thinking.

Why, it’s almost as if they knew they were being hoodwinked by a deceitful push poll.

This current smear campaign began when Sen. Al Franken (D-SNL) proposed S. Amdt. 2588, a measure ostensibly inspired by the horrific gang rape reported by Jamie Leigh Jones while she worked in Baghdad for defense contractor KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton.  Franken contended that “her KBR contract banned her from taking her case to court, instead forcing her into an ‘arbitration’ process.”

It was a lie.

No employment contract can be used to force criminal complaints into arbitration. Not in America. But that didn’t stop the disingenuous left from immediately seizing upon the talking point that Republican opponents of the amendment want to deny rape survivors their day in court.  Commentators pretended to be mystified as to how any rational human being could vote against rape victims.

“We’re still waiting for the screaming-Fox-News-headline: Republican Senators Support Gang-Rape by Three to One Margin,” wrote an ill-informed Huffington Post contributor. “Arbitration for gang-rape?  Surely the Republican Party has earned the right to die.”

Daily Show host Jon Stewart called it “the old ‘it’s ok if you get raped’ clause in government contracts” and wondered how anyone could possibly reject the amendment.

And of course, no smear campaign would be complete without its very own Web site: Republicans for Rape.

Hundreds of scathing attacks on Republicans have appeared in major newspapers and blogs.  Dependable foot soldiers that they are, the netroots are gleefully promoting the laughable idea that Republicans voted to prevent rape victims from having their criminal cases heard in court.  And just this week, video surfaced of a rape survivor accusing Sen. Vitter (R-LA) of trying to silence victims.

In actuality, Jones’ contract required employment disputes, not criminal cases, to be resolved through arbitration, an effective form of alternative dispute resolution that is cheaper, faster, and offers individuals greater access to justice than litigation.  The contract she signed limits her litigation options in matters of civil law related to the workplace, but it does not impact her ability to seek redress against her assailants through the criminal courts.

It is the foot dragging of the United States Department of Justice that is keeping Jamie Leigh Jones from facing her attackers in court, not her KBR employment contract and not Republican legislators. Republicans must do a better job articulating the true motivation behind Franken’s amendment.

Franken’s primary objective was not to ensure justice for rape victims, but to strike a blow at the company that sits at the top of every rank and file liberal’s hit list: Halliburton. The legislation is an overly broad political sledgehammer designed to ban the disbursement of federal funds to Halliburton when narrow wording addressing arbitration in assault cases would have received bipartisan support. Franken makes his intentions clear by calling Halliburton out by name in the amendment’s stated purpose:

To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.

Even the Obama administration objected to the amendment as worded, characterizing it as unenforceable.

Franken’s second objective was to assist the trial lawyer lobbyists in their relentless campaign to do away with arbitration, thus lining their pockets with the spoils of litigation.  Remember, trial lawyers and their lobbying groups are among the biggest contributors to Democratic Party, and even former DNC chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean has explicitly said that Democrats are not willing to rub trial lawyers the wrong way.

If Franken’s primary concern was rape victims, why did he risk opposition to his legislation by weighing it down with a hefty gift to trial lawyers?  Why does the amendment cover disputes totally unrelated to rape?

Finally, this legislation is Franken’s attempt to curry favor with his fellow Democrats by handing them a giftwrapped smear of Republicans just in time for the 2010 election season.  Hence, the propaganda masquerading as an unbiased poll in North Carolina and the absurd allegations nationwide that voting for the falsely labeled anti-rape amendment is a vote in favor of rape.

It is the Democrats who are using an unspeakably atrocious gang rape as a political bludgeon, and Republican senatorial candidates are already feeling the impact.  Of course, no one spreading these liberal distortions has addressed why Republicans would invite the nasty political fallout following a vote against an “anti-rape” amendment.  Just gluttons for punishment, I guess?

Expect the following senators to be targeted during their 2010 reelection campaigns:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John McCain (R-AZ)
John Thune (R-SD)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Richard Burr (R-NC)

Must we play politics with rape?  Instead of using sexual assault as partisan political ammunition, let’s do something that will really help rape survivors.  We need a cooperative effort to find out what’s preventing the DOJ from aggressively pursuing cases of sexual violence among military contractors.  Only then will Jamie Leigh Jones’ rapists be brought to justice.


11 Responses to “Republicans for Rape (Now With Push Polls!)”

  1. Eclectic Radical on November 5th, 2009 10:05 am

    Just a note, the ‘foot dragging in the Department of Justice’ link leads to what I assume is the intended domain, but the actual page is:

    ‘We’re Sorry.
    The page you are looking for could not be found.

    If you typed in the address, used a bookmark or followed a link from another site, it is possible the page no longer exists at this location.’

  2. Jenn Q. Public on November 5th, 2009 11:52 am

    Thanks for pointing that out. I’m sticking in a different link for now, and I’ll try to find the correct one later.

  3. Eclectic Radical on November 5th, 2009 2:33 pm

    You’re welcome.

  4. Thomas Wilhoat on November 14th, 2009 12:27 am

    I suggest reading a bit more into the Jamie Leigh Jones case before making statements about what KBR can and can not do. The crime happened in Iraq, so their was no criminal jurisdiction. Therefore, the only way that she could get her day in court was through the civil system, and it was also the only way to ensure that the conditions that led to her rape would be fixed. She has been in a two year legal battle just to get the right to have her case heard in a civil court.

    The amendment itself stated that the government would discontinue funding for anyone who did not include a clause in their arbitration clause that allowed the person to sue in cases of sexual assault. It seems like even if you viewed it as unnecessary, you would vote for it.

  5. Jenn Q. Public on November 14th, 2009 1:11 am

    Thomas, I suggest you read a bit more about United States jurisdiction. True, the KBR employees aren’t subject to Iraqi criminal jurisdiction due to a CPA measure that shields non-Iraqi contractors from the Iraqi law enforcement system. However, according to Title 18, Part I, Chapter 1, § 7 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. can prosecute the case because it occurred in a “place outside the jurisdiction of any nation with respect to an offense by or against a national of the United States.” The ball’s in the DOJ’s court.

    As for your contention that a civil suit was “the only way to ensure that the conditions that led to her rape would be fixed,” that would be untrue even if jurisdictional issues prevented Jones from having her case heard in criminal court. Arbitration allows for identical remedies to those available in courtroom litigation.

    Finally, your ideas about our legislative system are bizarre. Senators should vote for an amendment they view as unnecessary? Huh? It’s their job to keep unnecessary legislation off the books. And anyway, the Senators who voted against the amendment did so because of the potential negative consequences of the legislation, not because they found it “unnecessary.”

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