If you’ve lived in Washington long enough, you don’t shock easily. But Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s recent fund raising letter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is a jaw-dropper:

When Republicans refused to allow any women to testify on a panel about women’s health care, I knew I had to say what everyone was thinking: "Where are the women?"…

We cannot allow Republicans to deny us the right to talk about women’s health care. Your contributions will be put to work immediately to throw out anti-women Republicans across the country.

Will you stand up against the Republican War on Women before Wednesday’s deadline?

There are so many false statements in these few paragraphs that it I am reminded of Mary McCarthy’s famous statement about Lillian Hellman: Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.”

Where to start?

First, the hearing to which Ms. Maloney refers was not on women’s health. The subject was religious freedom. IWF is already on record as saying that it might have been a good idea to make sure there were some women on the panel.  

But religious groups were asked to send representatives to testify, and, as it happened, they sent men. Democrats were incensed that the chairman rejected a Georgetown University student, a woman, as “unqualified” to address the issue.

While I’m not cloistered enough to think college students don’t know enough about birth control to testify before Congress, I humbly submit that a Georgetown coed might not be the best person to address a congressional hearing on the issue of religious freedom–and that, not contraception, was the subject of the hearing. By the way, two women did testify on a second panel that day, but of course by then Maloney and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton had stormed out of the hearing to speak before the waiting cameras.  

Democrats know that contraception wasn’t the issue at the hearing, but they are determined to pretend that it was.

They know that they can’t win on the issue of religious freedom and so they have to concoct a “war on women” to help them raise money.

The issue has never been whether women have the right to use contraception—they have the right. Republicans don’t seek to deprive them of this right. The argument isn’t over contraception but whether religious employers should be forced to pay for health insurance policies that cover contraception and abortifacients if they find these procedures morally offensive.

It is not a war against women to give religious employers a conscience clause to opt out of paying for contraception, which, at any rate, is widely and inexpensively available. Low-income women have access to inexpensive and often-free contraceptives.

It is a war against constitutional rights not to provide a conscience clause, however.

I was on a panel recently with somebody from Politico, who said he had overheard but not written about a female senator talking to her staff about the issue.

She reportedly said that the religious freedom issue was bad for Democrats but that, if they could make the issue contraception, they would benefit.

There is a word for this kind of tactic: demagoguery.

If Barack Obama had a record on which he could run or if the economy were in better shape, we wouldn’t be hearing these lies.

But he doesn’t and it isn’t—so welcome to the bogus war on women.