Headline in today’s Washington Post:
A “War on Women” or a Battle for their Votes?
Since the the story is in the Washington Post, it seemed a safe bet that the answer would be that the GOP is waging a war on women.
Actually, the story blames the idea that there is a war on women on GOP missteps instead of outright misogyny. I guess that is a step in the right direction? And the story does reveal just how pathetic and trivial the so-called war on women is.
For example, it makes much of RNC chairman Reince Priebus supposedly incendiary remark (“If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet[s] talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars.”). Then it goes into President Obama’s belief, stated on Wednesday, that the all-male Augusta National Country Club should admit women.
The president’s “personal opinion is that women should be admitted,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, adding that Obama thinks “it’s long past the time when women should be excluded from anything.”
Unemployment is high, an Egyptian bomb landed in Israel this week, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are in town to meet with administration officials, the president created furor with an attack on the Supreme Court… and POTUS still has time to think about the admission policies of a golf club?
But, as I said, the Post chalks the war on women meme to GOP mistakes:
In an election that was supposed to be all about the economy, gender politics have been advancing to the forefront. Thanks to a series of recent GOP missteps, Democrats see an opening to ensure and expand their traditional advantage with female voters.
Actually, the opening for the Democrats is not the result of GOP missteps—the opening was created by the Democrats, who have flooded the airwaves and print media with claims that the GOP is engaged in a war on women. In a way, you have to admire the Democrats.
But I do believe that the GOP is in danger of making a huge misstep that could cost it the election in November: it isn’t fighting back. The GOP has to say again and again that there is no war on women.
Yeah, it sounds simplistic. But I remember what a TV reporter in New Orleans once told me that the correct formula for reporting a story on air: You tell them what the story is about, then you tell them again what the story is about, you do it again and sign off.
Ann Romney has been saying how great it is to meet women who want to talk to her about the economy. This is a way of trying to say that the real issues for women are the economy and jobs, not the phony issue of contraception. It’s too subtle.
I agree with Charles Krauthammer who said on Fox last night that this refusal to address the issue head on is really a concession. (Krauthammer also talked about the cynicism with which the administration and the press are reporting the war on women in a Daily Caller interview.)
But not responding clearly leaves the door open for Democrats to say that the GOP is coming to take your birth control pills away. I’ve argued all along that we need to focus on the religious freedom aspect of the HHS contraception mandate, not contraception. At this point, however, or some point in the near future, the GOP has to confront the issue. It has come to this.
Like my friend the TV reporter, the GOP has to tell the voters that it doesn’t care about contraception, that it has no interest in making contraception illegal, and that it doesn’t care about contraception. Got that? It must be said or the GOP risks letting the Democrats control the "issue."
Meanwhile, here is how the Washington Post ends a story supposedly on the supposed war on women:
During halftime of the NCAA men’s college basketball championship game, Obama told analyst Clark Kellogg that he gets more joy out of that than he felt when he played.
“I bleed when those girls play,” said the president, who also noted that girls and women have far more athletic opportunities than when he was growing up.
Last month, the Obama campaign sent mailers promoting the administration’s achievements for women to hundreds of thousands of female voters in swing states.
On Friday, the White House will host a conference on women and the economy, during which officials will “highlight what we have accomplished together and the challenges that remain,” a senior aide said Thursday.
In a background briefing on the conference for reporters, administration officials said the budget plan passed by the Republican House would disproportionately harm women with its proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The argument goes that because women generally live longer than men, they rely more on those programs.
And in his stump speeches, Obama often notes that the first bill he signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, gave women greater leeway in filing suit to receive equal pay for equal work.
To quote Dorothy Parker, Tonstant Wreader Trowed Up.
Silly and stupid as it all is, the GOP has to fight back or concede the women's vote.