March 18 2013
Ana Marie Cox, formerly known as Wonkette, has a very snobbish blog on CPAC in the U.K.'s lefty Guardian.
Some of it is just fashion commentary, and, as you can imagine, Cox is snide about the attire at CPAC.
Cox, though I am loath to admit it, does, however, raise an important question. The headline captures it: “Republicans Still Don’t Have a Clue How to Woo Women.”
The only panel that Cox regarded as specifically for women was one on the legacy of Roe v. Wade. Of course, she pilloried it. But she did make me think that CPAC should have done something more on women voters and economics.
Of course, Cox’s idea on how to woo women is to espouse policies that are rabidly liberal. Most of us women who attended CPAC would not like any of them. But it is important for conservatives to learn to talk to women. Women went for President Obama by an 11-point margin. Unless conservatives can attract more women, they are doomed in national elections. So how do we talk about the free-market to women? How do we persuade women, who care about fairness, that our policies are are fair? (IWF did an extremely successful panel titled “Women in the Wilderness” to address these issues earlier this year.)
Conservatives have a commendable reluctance to pander to women as a group, regarding them as no more or less than other voters. After reading Cox, however, I wish that CPAC had put together panels on the women’s vote. Learning to talk to women is just as important for our future as deciding whether you think our drone policy is the greatest thing since sliced bread or all wet.
It should be noted that there were lots of women speaking at CPAC. IWF also hosted a blockbuster panel (“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Heart Plastic Water Bottles, Fracking, Genetically Modified Food, and Big Gulps”) on the culture of alarmism. Our Executive Director Sabrina Schaeffer and put together by our go-to woman for alarmism, Julie Gunlock, who was also a panelist. It was a terrific panel and it drove home how government uses crises and fear to grow itself.
I urge you to read about our panel—and to tell GOP guys that they have to learn to talk to women. As Christina Hoff Sommers said on the IWF panel, the GOP all too often has not taken women’s issues seriously and tended to treat us like the Ladies Auxiliary. Odd though it may be, Ana Marie Cox made an important point.