Live-Blogging Election 2012: Marriage Equality, Anti-Women Republicans, and Atheist Candidates

How did the atheists running for Congress do tonight?

What about all those Republicans who made comments about rape?

Did voters finally approve of same-sex marriage in four states?

We’ll be answering all those questions tonight. Just click on the question you want to see the answer to, and you’ll see results as they come in!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • brianmacker

    “Anti-Woman”? How divisive. Yeah, let’s not make this about an issue, but pick terminology that demonizes your opponents. Then you can hypocritically complain about the “tone” of the debate.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Not demonizing your opponents when what they have stated is very anti-women. 

  • 3lemenope

    Elections are about division, in almost as literal a sense as one can mean the term. It is about distinguishing between choices, and collating divergent preferences. It is why, incidentally, they do end up being perhaps the very nastiest (and my least favorite) part of the political process, but it is a necessary feature of a meaningful polity where choices have consequences. 

    Is “anti-woman” perhaps a thumbnail shortcut, over-simplified way of collating the types of positions that one political party seems to prefer over the other? Sure. But it’s accurate enough in the sense of who are directly affected by those policies and the types of thought-processes that, if politicians speaking their thoughts aloud are any indication, drive their support for those policies.

  • Ibis3

    When politicians talk about some rapes being legitimate and others not, when they liken being impregnated by a rapist to getting pregnant via consensual sex sans a marriage certificate, when they say God intended rapes and consequent pregnancies to happen, how do you have the gall to say that’s not anti-women and that Hemant is demonizing *them*?

  • Carmelita Spats

     ANYONE who makes the idiotic statement that a bloated nanny STATE should legally  obligate me to squirt out a rapist’s semen demon and then thank Baby Jesus for the opportunity IS divisive, disgusting, demonized and deserves the caustic tone they generate. Newsflash: I won’t give up a kidney by STATE fiat, either. No apologies.

  • brianmacker

    Because it isn’t restricted to the most extreme cases, and even those morons aren’t “anti-women”. They are just ignorant boobs.

  • brianmacker

    … And all those many women who also share this position are also “anti-woman”? That implies they are motivated by hatred of woman, which is not only false but sets up a straw man of their true position.

  • brianmacker

    So now the whole party is “anti-woman”?

  • brianmacker

    It is demonization because someone who was truly anti-woman would be motivated by hatred of women, and one would expect a whole slew of other anti-woman policies outside of concern for unborn children, like perhaps chattel marriage, whipping of recalcitrant wives, etc.

  • 3lemenope

    I dunno. I tend to personally find “being an ignorant boob” to be fairly disqualifying. And it would be simple to leave it at that, except that these ignorant boobs seem nonetheless to get support not just from their fellow travelers in the party, but also from the rank-and-file in the voting booth. If the GOP deserted such folks en masse for saying such stupendously stupid things, your argument might hold more water.

  • 3lemenope

    “Anti-woman” can mean a few different things. You seem to be zeroing in on the notion that it must mean “hates women” but it could (and often does) simply mean “bad for women”. You can’t be seriously arguing it is impossible for people to support something that’s bad for them, or contrary to their own interests, are you?

  • 3lemenope

    They are certainly “anti-woman” in the sense that they endorse policies that contract, rather than maintain or expand, rights that women currently enjoy (such as access to contraception, abortion, gynecological and obstetric care) and seem to militate against their interests, such as opposing attempts to rectify pay inequality. 

    What motivates it? I think you actually nailed it with “ignorant boobs” rather than a more malignant misogyny in most cases. 

  • CelticWhisper

    Whether or not their opinions are born of misogynist sexism, the fact remains that many social conservatives have taken the position that rape is either less serious than society seems to believe it is, or that it is insufficient grounds to justify terminating pregnancies.

    One does not HAVE to label them “anti-woman” to still see how their position is a morally-repugnant one.  In that regard, whether or not they’re “anti-women” does not matter, because the factual aspect of their position is sufficient to determine that theirs is not a platform to support.  Making the leap to “anti-woman” is an extraneous step.

    With a lot of fiscal conservatives who are either socially-liberal or who don’t rank social issues highly in terms of importance jumping ship from the GOP for the Libertarian party, the reasons for voting GOP are dwindling unless you’re a social conservative.  They’ve certainly done nothing to endear themselves to anybody outside their diehard base this election cycle – the recent fervor over rape, pregnancy, and abortion seems like them clinging desperately to whatever pet stances they have left, preaching themselves hoarse to a shrinking choir as more and more people take notice, shaking their heads slowly and wondering what the hell is in the air in Republicanville.

    It used to be said that “Third parties are spoilers for Democrats only, because Republicans are going to vote Republican.”  I no longer think that is true; the GOP seems poised to self-destruct and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a split soon – maybe before the next election.  I see a lot of small-government conservatives and fiscal-responsibility conservatives going Libertarian and a new, smaller GOP made up of backward-thinking social-regressives steadily shouting itself into irrelevance.

    Curiously, I see this happening whether or not Romney takes the presidency.  A victory for him may even expedite the process as libertarian types hurry to dissociate themselves from Romney and his psycho lap dog Ryan before either of them does or says anything else stupid to make the evening news.  In this case, the GOP that had been wavering to and fro on whether or not it’s really the party of the Religious Right, previously held in check by the straining of budget-minded economists who just let go of the rope, will snap back across the line at breakneck speed and land firmly on the “fundie nutcase” end of the conservative spectrum.

  • brianmacker

    Obama’s economic policies are bad for women. So is he “anti woman”?

  • brianmacker

    Ignorant boobs only refers to the tiny minority that might think you can’t get pregnant from rape. Ignorant boob is not a motivation.

  • brianmacker

    Pay inequity when you adjust for career choice, hours worked, years worked, etc. amounts to nothing.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    In Maine at the current momment the yes votes are slightly ahead for same sex marriage. Obama has won, King has won and I just need SSM to pass.

  • arthur1526


    The appointed hour is determined and does not change.


    So know firstly and believe firmly that the appointed hour is determined and does not change. Those weeping beside the grievously sick and those in perfect health have died, while the grievously sick have been cured and lived.

    The appointed hour is not known: in order to deliver man from absolute despair
    and absolute heedlessness, and to hold him between hope and fear and so preserve both this
     world and the hereafter, in His wisdom Almighty God has concealed the appointed hour; it may come at any time. If it captures man in heedlessness, it may cause grievous harm to eternal life.

    Illness, however, dispels the heedlessness; it makes a person think of the hereafter; it recalls death, so he may prepare himself. Some illnesses are so profitable as to gain for a person in twenty days a rank they could not otherwise have risen to in twenty years.

    From Risalei Nur collection by
    Said Nursi.


  • brianmacker

    I like how you are blind to the stupefying morons in the Democrat party like Maxine Waters. Just don’t be surprised when the Democrats start being called anti-child. You apparently want to fight and not solve problems. Democrats are wrong on many issues and instead of an adult discussion to understand the different points of view it seems you just want to name call. It’s moronic to believe that rape doesn’t result in pregnancy and that isn’t a republican platform. It’s a random moron, and the Democrat party is full of them.

  • chicago dyke, Blonde

    “tiny” minority? brian, please. some of us have been paying attention. don’t try to insult us. one party is consistently against things like ending the statute of limitations on rape prosecutions, equal pay for equal work, microlending, sentencing equalization, reproductive choice, access to said same included in health care, paid maternity leave, lesbian equality…
    gosh, this is just too easy. i’m sorry. it’s wrong to pick on a bitter, sad loser on the night of victory for his opponents. go suck your thumb and put a cold press on your butthurt. 

  • 3lemenope

    I’m not entirely sure why you’re yammering at me about Democrats. I’m a conservative who voted Johnson/Gray.

    But, it is telling that in every race that a Republican sounded off on their personal theories on rape, they lost. Women as a group pivoted strongly toward Democrats nationally. You seem to be flailing to find an equivalence, but the bottom line is the election shows that Americans, by-and-large, do not see it the way you do.

  • 3lemenope

    5-7% is the generally accepted estimate (that is, by everyone but Ann Coulter) for the component of the pay gap that cannot be explained by those factors. When you control for all mundane explanations, a significant pay inequity still pops out of the numbers. 

    And that’s even controlling for factors that should not be controlled for if one is actually interested in studying substantive equity (rather than formal equity), since the upstream affects of education inequality, for example, filter directly down into other fundamental segments of the pay gap. 

  • brianmacker

    Yes, a tiny minority. Don’t drag other nonsense into this. We were talking about those who believe rape cannot lead to pregnancy.

    Hope you enjoy cheering on another four years of trillion dollar deficits. Think of the children.

    Those aren’t anti-woman positions. You are just full of hate.

  • Renshia

    You have restored a little of my faith in you USA. Thank you, for not letting that  wing nut take the wheel. You had me worried, but you came through in the end. I guess we can put off building that wall.

    Thank you, Thank you all,

    A very relieved Canadian

  • Renshia

     Really, how so? Come on, explain this to me and instead of just reiterating  rhetoric provide some evidence for what you say.

    Tell me what policies and why they are bad.

  • brianmacker

    If you believe women are being paid less than what they are worth then just start a business and hire an all woman staff. Your profits will be enormous. The rate of return on a business investment runs around the rate of interest. The average labor costs for a business is 70%. The average profit around 2%right now. Do the math if you can. A few percent lower wage rate for women means double the profit. At the disparity levels claimed by feminists you can easily rake in 30% or more returns on your investments.

    It can’t be that I’m not an economic and statistical ignoramus. No I must be against equal wage laws because I’m anti-woman.

    BTW, a unlimited statute of limitation on rape prosecution has to be the most unjust idea I’ve heard in a long time. How the hell is anyone supposed to defend against false charges from 30 years ago? At least with a murder there is a body. With rape you can just make shit up.

  • brianmacker

    He’s destroying the economy with easy money policy, stimulus, and bailouts. That harms everyone including women.

  • Envy Burger
  • brianmacker

    Look, I’m one of less than one percent of people who actually understand what is going on in the economy. So of course most people aren’t going to see things my way. I’m sick and tired of you Republicans and Democrats lying about each other, demonizing each other, and pretty much missing the big picture. If I did in fact agree with the republicans as you seem to think then “by and large” is a very slim margin.

    You keep claiming to be a conservative, but you seem sways to weigh in on the extreme left. Why is that? You just got done name calling the entire Republican party as anti-woman. Kinda strange for a supposed conservative. I don’t think you know what the political label means.

  • 3lemenope

    Quite debatable. Even if 100% correct, though, you’re still missing the point. GOP candidates were being called “anti-woman” because their preferred policies’ negative effects would have disproportionately (if not outright exclusively, in some cases) on women. Holding an opinion, substantiated or not, that a policy is bad for everyone (which is pretty much the essence of holding political opinions in general) is a quite different thing than pointing out that a policy is bad very specifically and ineluctably for a large subset of everyone. It is reasonable to become particularly suspicious in a society that values formal equality when the effects disproportionately impact a specific well-defined group.

  • brianmacker

    The ignorance and trickery embodied in your link is astounding. Obama had full control of congress and never passed a budget. They are counting his first year as if it was Bush’s. No, he owns that one, and it was nearly three times worse that Bush’s last year. Bush inherited an enormous economic bubble from Clinton that popped. The bubble was due to easy money policies and the Greenspan put, along with all the bad housing policy put in place by the Democrats. Bush tried to reign in the GSEs but failed thanks to Barney Frank and his cronies. On other fronts Bush followed the same exact stupid policies as Clinton, easy money and bailouts. That’s because the conventional wisdom these days, as always, is Keynesianism. Bush foolishly believed these “experts”.

    Despite Bush’s failures to control spending his final deficit was $459 billion in 2008. At the end of Obama’s first year that stood at $1,493 billion, which is around triple. He’s run it at over a trillion every year since. Obama’s numbers are far worse than Bush’s and he is following the same bad policies as Bush, easy money stimulus and bailouts, but on steroids.

  • brianmacker

    Obama’s current policies are disproportionately harming blacks and young workers. So is he anti-black and anti-young? If you are willing to support such terminology then you can’t really object to being called baby-killers.

  • brianmacker

    Also some of these supposed anti-woman policies don’t even harm women. Not getting free stuff from the government isn’t a harm, so the commenters who are throwing in free birth control are definitely off base.

    Also why do you just assume no abortion for rape only harms women. If a mans wife is raped and forced to carry to term you don’t think that has bad impacts on him? Raising a child for 21 years is a considerably larger investment than carrying it for nine months (and the prices for renting surrogate mothers seem to bear that out). Even for the mother the 21 year investment is the larger of the two, and the husband doesn’t even share half the kids genes, unlike the mother. Why the automatic assumption that only women bear the costs?

    Abortion is something even single men can benefit from. Being anti-abortion is being anti-abortion, not some vague concept of anti-woman.

    Heck, if you say that someone is anti-woman then in fact you have zero clue about what their actual position is on various issues. How do I tell if they sensibly oppose equal wage rules or believe something as stupid as that you can’t get pregnant from rape?

    It reminds me of back in the sixties when you got called a commie for any deviation from right wing dogma.

  • Tim

    Congratulations from a very relieved Englishman.

    This might be a turning point in your country.  Hopefully the Republicans will become less religiously unhinged and return to being a fiscally conservative, sane party.

  • PietPuk

    Same here from a relieved Dutchman.

  • Tim

    I hear that Michigan voted for a badly needed bridge to Canada (no idea why anyone was against this because the Canadians are going to pay for it)

  • dewNOTbelieve

    I’m from Michigan. The opposition came from the owner of the Ambassador Bridge, which c0nnects Detroit and Windsor. He collects about $100 million per year in tolls on the bridge and did not want any other international crossing to jeopardize his virtual monopoly.

  • 3lemenope

    Look, I’m one of less than one percent of people who actually understand what is going on in the economy.

    I’ve seen absolutely no indication you understand any of this, actually. Maybe a little mean to say, but honestly you don’t seem even capable of carefully reading what other people write.

     I’m sick and tired of you Republicans and Democrats lying about each other, demonizing each other, and pretty much missing the big picture.

    For example, when a person you’re talking with says they voted for the Libertarian candidate and you come back with “…you Republicans and Democrats…”.

    You keep claiming to be a conservative, but you seem sways to weigh in on the extreme left.

    ROFL. All I did was push back on your bull. What did I say that was “extreme left”?  That I think the charge that GOP policies on balance are obviously, flagrantly bad for women is accurate (and it’s entirely fair to say so), or to notice an empirical fact like pay inequality isn’t explained by factors orthogonal to discrimination?  The GOP hasn’t been consonant with conservatism for a long time, and being allergic to ideologically inconvenient facts is a pretty ecumenical disease.

    It seems a waste of my time to explain (yet again) what conservatism means in the context of political science, doubly so to you who reads so poorly. Suffice it to say that nothing I’ve said here is incompatible with a conservative philosophy of governance, even if it might be uncomfortable with the right-populists who inhabit the GOP.

  • 3lemenope

    In a wider angle lens, I think this comment of yours is indicative of a disease I think is endemic to all parts of the political spectrum, namely that if a person fears the possible solutions to a problem, they feel them must deny the existence of the problem altogether. 

    Pay equity is a fascinating case for that. The data stubbornly has shown that a discriminatory element is present in pay inequity by gender when you control for other factors. Conservatives (like myself) are skeptical that government can or should do much beyond guarantee formal equality, and since pay equity is a matter of practical equality, it is dangerous for the government to try. The *most* they can do, from a conservative point of view, is make available access to the possibility of judicial relief; the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, for example, did exactly that, changing the way the statute of limitations operates in such cases so the clock starts running “when you find out you’re being screwed” rather than “when you start your employment”; since cognizance of injury is a pretty obvious component of making a claim under common law, this sort of alteration is a reasonable and minimally invasive way to ensure that the issue can be aired in front of a court. 

    I don’t believe that governments actually can or should do much more than that. I’m a conservative, after all. The “hearts-and-minds” changing of how the populace at large, and employers in particular, view women in the workforce has to change organically after formal equality is established; it cannot be forced. When government does try to force this type of change, such as Affirmative Action, for example, there is a backlash that interrupts and sometimes reverses the slow-but-steady positive track that the society was on to address the practical inequity on its own. I, like most conservatives, don’t want the government to use policy to try to repair what is in essence a residual cultural defect. 

    There are things in *governance* (as opposed to policy) that people in government can do to nudge the practical equality ball along. As hilarious as the “binders full of women” comment was (and as mendacious as it was for Romney to take credit for soliciting said binders when they were given to him by Women’s groups in MA unsolicited), raising the visibility of qualified women by increasing their presence in one’s administration is one way in which a government can non-coercively signal to the wider culture that practical equality is valued.

    But all of this is worlds away from denying basic facts on the ground as to whether the issue exists and is important from a social point of view to continue to pay attention to.  Government can’t solve most problems, which is no excuse for people to simply declare those problems don’t exist.

  • brianmacker

    “they feel them must deny the existence of the problem altogether.”

    There is not a 77% lower pay for women because of discrimination. I deny what doesn’t exist. That’s called being correct. When you properly adjust that evaporates. The adjusted difference is a few percent. Like with the original 23% difference you can’t just assume that few percent is all due to discrimination. With women and men who have never had kids the women make 117% of what the men do. Instead of whining about discrimination I might consider the fact that unmarried women might tend to live in cities, while unmarried men in the country, and that if adjusted that difference might also evaporate.

    Free markets punish those who discriminate in the paycheck. A few percent difference would be hard enough for the market to cure, let alone the iron fist of government. Governmental intrusions are likely to reduce both men and women’s pay by more than that few percent, and we do not even know the cause. The majority cause might just be fear of anti-discrimination lawsuits.

  • brianmacker

    Around 5-7% is generally accepted on Wiki, but that doesn’t make it the final word, and especially if those studies adjusted for less variables. That is a maximum, and one can always adjust for more variables to reduce it further. I’ve heard as low as 1%. The St. Louis Fed has it at 3.6% and again that is the upper limit, a few percent, and possibly lower.

    “The gender gap between men and women has been shrinking for decades but it may be smaller than people think when things like education and work benefits are taken into consideration, according to a paper by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.”
    “Economists Eric Solberg and Teresa Laughlin applied an index of total compensation, which accounts for both wages and benefits, to analyze how these benefits would affect the gender gap. They found a gender gap in wages of approximately 13%. But when they considered total compensation, the gender gap dropped to 3.6%,”

  • brianmacker

    Nothing incompatible with voting libertarian and being a democrat, liberal, republican, conservative, etc. Conservatism and being a conservative are different things. You have tended to weight in on the left side of arguments. No conservative would call the republican party anti-woman for example.

    You are the one mistaken about pay disparity, and it’s because you don’t understand numbers. What you don’t understand is that that your statements like “pay inequality isn’t explained by factors orthogonal to discrimination” can be true, and yet there might still be no discrimination. Fact is that we know there is discrimination because we have actual incidents, but that does not neccesarily lead to lower pay for women, because we also know that there is discrimination against men. It’s impossible to measure a hidden variable the way feminists think they can. Pay could be completely equal and there could be lots of discrimination against women. It is pay disparity that evaporates when you adjust for these other factors.

    Sorry about using the word “you” only with Repbublicans and Democrats. I didn’t mean to communicate that I thought you were specifically one of those two. I’m sick of all political persuasions demonizing others, and you seem to be supporting it.

    If someone wants to label themselves pro-choice because it is the most important motivating factor in their decision on the issue that is fine. However that that does not make it proper to call their opponents “anti-choice”, as if they oppose choice in general. No more than it is for their opponents to call them “anti-life”.

    You seem not to put a premium on the truth here. This stuff actually bothers me.

    Hilarious that you think voting libertarian proves you a conservative. Apparently you have some idiosyncratic definition of what that means. I’m certainly not a conservative, so it is also laughable for you to accuse me of ideological blinders. I’ve supported my claims, but you seem not to understand that fact.

  • Gayamericandream