Campaign Trail

Republicans Push Pro-Zygote Extremism Over the Top

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nancy L. Cohen says the roster of GOP presidential contenders is bringing 40 years of sexual counter-revolution to a crescendo. The party's rightwing social agenda is so secure it barely merits any mention.

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A Rightwing Takeover

Sex, feminism and gay rights were critical in fueling the rightwing takeover of the Republican Party, a story I tell in my upcoming book "Delirium: How The Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America."

The right had no mass popular support, no so-called base, before it followed conservative religious women in their crusade against feminism, gay rights and the sexual revolution. These pioneering women were responsible for forging the Christian right into the largest voting bloc in the Republican Party.

Christian right sexual fundamentalists put Newt Gingrich in power and forced the impeachment of President Bill Clinton over a private sexual affair. They cast the critical votes that gave George W. Bush his 2000 win. They make up the majority of the supposedly small-government, liberty-loving Tea Party.

Santorum promises that as president he'll talk about the "dangers of contraception" which, he says, gives "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

When we contemplate that Iowa voters raised Santorum into the top tier of presidential contenders, it's instructive to recall that we have the Iowa Republican Caucus to thank for the repugnant, unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The race for the Republican nomination, with its focus on gays, birth control and zygotes, culminates 40 years of sexual counterrevolution.

The good news for those who value individual freedom and women's rights is that the sexual fundamentalists are far out of the mainstream of American opinion. The GOP's 2012 nomination circus has unmasked the cultural extremism and weird obsessions of the voters who control the fate of the Republican contenders.

The question is, are Americans paying attention?


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Nancy L. Cohen is a historian and author of "Delirium: How The Sexual Counterrevolution is Polarizing America." You can follow her on Twitter @nancylcohen or email her at info(at)

For more information:

"NH House Passes Fetal Homicide Bill," Ms. Magazine:

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