Transvaginal probes . . . they’re baaaack

Evidence continues to mount that, despite the humiliating defeat suffered by Mitt Romney and the Republicans last November, and despite the fact that the demographics of America are continue to change in way that increasingly favor Democrats, the Republicans have learned nothing from their defeat.

The latest evidence to this effect: Talking Points Memo is reporting that Indiana Republicans are supporting legislation that would bring back our old friend, the transvaginal probe. As you may recall, last year states including Alabama and Virginia considered similar laws, which would require painful, humiliating, and completely unnecessary poking about in the private parts of women seeking abortions.

Those earlier attempts at enacting transvaginal probe laws generated a fierce backlash that stopped those bills dead in their tracks. If that happened in a state as deeply conservative Alabama, I’m baffled that Republicans think they can get away with this stunt in a state as purple as Indiana.

In addition, you’d think that Republicans in Indiana, of all places, would grasp how badly these kinds of “war on women” tactics have backfired. Last year, Republican Richard Mourdock, looked like a shoo-in for the state’s U.S. senate seat . . . until he made an infamous remark about pregnancy during rape being part of God’s plan, and then it was all over.

Normally, when a political party suffers a series of bruising electoral defeats, it steps back, re-evaluates, and tries to appeal to a broader slice of the electorate by moderating its stances and offering some new ideas. I see zero evidence that the Republicans are serious about doing this. Even when it comes to immigration, which is the one issue where many Republicans were supposedly ready to come to the center, there are clear signs that the party’s leading lights are completely intransigent.

I suppose this is the price Republicans pay for crafting a political strategy tha is so heavily dependent on a shrinking base consisting of groups (old people, white evangelicals) that tend to be fiercely resistant to change.

Oh well, if the G.O.P. can’t win elections fair and square any more, I suppose there’s always cheating.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee