The political lesson from this dispute is that on any issue relating to women, it is Democrats, and increasingly powerful female Democrats, who speak for America’s increasingly powerful women voters — now the controlling heart of today’s Democratic party.
That’s Fox’s liberal commentator Juan Williams’ summary of the dispute between Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who wants commanders removed from the decision of whether to prosecute accusations of sexual assault in the military, and Claire McCaskill, who doesn’t want to take commanders out of the equation. It is also the thesis of Williams’ argument that the Democratic Party is now “the party of women.”
President Obama was re-elected in part because he appealed to unmarried women—married women tend to vote Republican, so the Democratic Party is really the party not of women but of single women. Still, these unmarried women were enough to carry President Obama over the finish line.
If you read Williams’ column with at least a mildly critical eye, however, you’ll learn why “the party of women” may not be the best thing for women. Williams writes:
Over the last decade, Democrats have tried to widen the gap by charging the GOP with conducting a “War on Women.” There are several fronts in that war, Democrats say: Republicans oppose easy access to contraception, oppose abortion rights and oppose expansion of entitlements to help the poor (who are disproportionately women and children).
In other words, the Democratic Party is trying to get women more hooked on entitlements. This has the possibility of creating intergenerational poverty (also intergenerational Democrats). Since many children will be brought up in single-parent households, this will affect the social fabric of the nation. Sorry, but growing up in a house without a father and led by a struggling, unmarried mother is just not optimum.
As for Republicans’ opposing contraception, that is not the case. Republicans take the position that religious people who believe that contraception is morally wrong should not be forced to pay for it. Have at it, Ms. Fluke—just don’t ask the Jesuits pick up the tab. This is apparently too subtle, and the tongue-tied GOP hasn’t come up with a way of saying loud and clear that the issue is freedom of conscience, not contraception.
Any man who sexually assaults a woman should be punished as severely as possible. If any crime tears at the heart of civil society, is it this one. However, the feminist war on the military is dangerous to the morale of our fighting forces. So (and I don’t say this very often) Claire McCaskill is to be commended. (See “Understanding the Feminist War on Military Culture.”)
Williams isn’t the only one to address the issue of Democrats and women this morning. National Journal has a piece headlined “Can Democrats Still Win with a Women-Centered Strategy?” Seems that the GOP strategy is me-too ism:
Still, Republicans are actively trying to appeal to women, both as candidates and as voters, to cut into the current Democratic advantage. The National Republican Congressional Committee, for instance, launched Project GROW this year to woo more women candidates. GOP strategists like to note that four of the five current female governors are Republicans. And at least some of the GOP's 2014 Senate candidates will be women, including Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, Terry Lynn Land in Michigan, and potentially in Iowa and Georgia, as well, depending on the primaries there.
Let’s hope my assessment of this is harsh—that instead of trying to outdo the Democrats in making women more dependent on government, the GOP will actually find a way of selling women on policies that actually help us. You know—like a good economy. What do you want—to make the Jesuits pay for birth control or a job?