Editorial | New front in GOP war on women
Republicans likely thought they could soften their image with women voters Tuesday by selecting U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to offer the rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
Smiling sweetly, seated demurely before a fireplace, Rep. Rodgers spoke warmly of family and children, faith in God, a lifetime of hard work and the small events of daily life (kissing the kids goodnight, paying bills) as the GOP’s values.
Nowhere was the increasingly harsh rhetoric the public is hearing from some Republicans when it comes to women — in what appears to be open season on their health, bodies, employment and reproductive rights.
Not once did she suggest women should control their libido rather than rely on “Uncle Sugar” (the government) for birth control, as did GOP stalwart and possible presidential contender Mike Huckabee. Really, he did.
Nor did she repeat the suggestion of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, that women wouldn’t be so poor if they’d stop having babies out of wedlock, complaining “I can’t make you get married.” Really, he did, too.
Despite Rep. Rodgers’ soothing assurances, new attacks from the GOP continue, making a convincing case for what Democrats call the party’s “War on Women.”
Just hours before Rep. Rodgers delivered her 10-minute talk, the House passed an election- year showpiece of a bill to ban federal funds for abortion. Federal law including the Hyde Amendment already bans use of federal funds for abortion but that didn’t stop the Republicans from pushing through the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” largely on party lines.
“Here we go again,” sighed Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat. “It’s another battle in the war on women.”
Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and an ordained Baptist minister, helped rally the troops last week, speaking to the Republican National Committee against the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurance companies provide free birth control to women.
“If Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government, then so be it,” he said.
That claim that has so much wrong with it, it’s not worth taking apart.
But as a battle cry, it worked.
Huckabee enjoyed a boost in the polls immediately afterward and rather than apologize, sent out a fundraising email blast.
Meanwhile, Sen. Paul, also a presidential aspirant, has been going around explaining that there is no war on women. Despite the fact women earn less than men and that one in three American women live in poverty or near poverty, they actually are winning the war, he told CNN Sunday.
His evidence? “My niece is in Cornell vet school and about 85 percent of the people in vet schools are women.”
The GOP has worked to counsel male Republicans in the aftermath of some particularly disastrous comments that cost them two Senate seats in 2012 — one in Indiana with Republican Richard Mourdock’s comment that pregnancy, even from rape, “is that gift from God,” and the other, Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s comment that women are unlikely to get pregnant from a “legitimate rape.”
But there’s just not enough lipstick in the GOP’s cosmetic bag to keep disguising this pig. Let’s hope women voters see through the attempted makeover.
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