Friday, April 27, 2012

And in the Ongoing War on Women…

Prominent Republicans like Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. John McCain, and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus tell us that there is no Republican war on women, though I’m not sure how much attention you want to pay to Preibus given that in his effort to prove that the war on women was a fiction, he chose to compare women to caterpillars. Um. OK. So I guess their claims help un-explain some of the recent events in the war on women.

For example, yesterday, the Senate voted 68-31 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Guess what? Every Democrat voted in favor of the legislation. But you know what else? All five Republican women in the Senate also voted in favor of the reauthorization. Or, if we want to look at it a bit differently, all 38 votes against the bill were cast by Republican men. Interestingly, of the two Republican senators often mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) voted against reauthorization while Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) voted in favor.

The fact that there isn’t a war against women probably explains why the Republican dominated Wisconsin legislature passed — and the Republican Governor signed — a bill to eliminate Wisconsin’s equal pay law. One of the bill’s Republican supporters helpfully noted that women don’t care about money as much as men. Nope. That doesn’t sound like a shot in the war on women. Not at all.

And it is the deep concern that some Republicans have for women that must explain why Florida Gov. Rick Scott used his line item veto to strip from the state’s budget $1.5 million for rape crisis centers. He’s obviously expressing his deep concern for the women of Florida who aren’t raped by saving them a handful of tax dollars.

I’m sure that presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney has helped to make it clear that there isn’t a Republican war on women by choosing as his campaign’s judicial advisor none other than Judge Robert Bork who, according to this recent article in Huffington Post (internal links omitted):

hopes to wipe out not only the constitutional right to privacy, especially the right to contraception and to abortion, but decades of Equal Protection decisions handed down by what he calls a feminized Supreme Court deploying “sterile feminist logic” to guarantee equal treatment and inclusion of women. Bork is no casual chauvinist but rather a sworn enemy of feminism, a political force that he considers “totalitarian” and in which, he has concluded, “the extremists are the movement.”

So that is the judicial philosophy upon which Romney will be making decision. Noted. I’d love to hear Romney answer whether he agrees with Judge Bork’s views on feminism. Actually, I’d love to hear Ann Romney explain whether she agrees with Judge Bork’s views on feminism.

Should you happen to hear Mitt Romney claim that President Obama is conducting his own war against women, you might want to consider something provable by empirical evidence: Mitt Romney is full of BS. You see, Romney keeps claiming that President Obama’s policies have caused harm to women and, as proof, claims that 92% of jobs lost under President Obama have been women. Not so fast, say those who actually study issues like this. I won’t take the time to dive into the numbers, but it’s worth taking some time to read what FactCheck.org and Politifact.org (which rated Romney’s claim “mostly false”)have to say. But this chart is worth noting.

While I’m talking about Mitt Romney, I can’t forget his wife Ann’s comment several days ago, especially given her role in the faux controversy stirred by Hillary Rosen’s boneheaded remark about Ann Romney not working a day in her life (recall, that Rosen was really talking about working for a wage outside the home). So after telling people that Rosen’s comment was like a “birthday present” Ann Romney waded back into the issue of working women and said (emphasis added):

I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.

She loves that there are women who “don’t have a choice and they must go to work”? Wait, what?

I can’t remember if I touched on this before, but women visiting Arizona need to be very careful now. Why? Well, under the new law adopted in Arizona to help further limit access to abortions, the state now considers that a pregnancy commenced “from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman”. In other words, in Arizona, a woman can be considered pregnant before she has a fertilized egg or, I suppose, without even having sex. For a bit more on the war on women on the reproductive rights front, check out the list of bills noted in this Huffington Post article.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dismissive response of Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) about his Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth. Perhaps you will recall Rep. Walsh; I posted a video of his wife taking him to task for his unpaid child support obligations. By contrast, Duckworth, while serving in Iraq, lost the lower part of both legs and had her right arm partially destroyed when the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down. Following her recovery, Duckworth was the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. So what did Rep. Walsh have to say about her? Well, in response to a statement in which he seemed to make light of her military service and failed to acknowledge her government service, Rep. Walsh, showing a classic streak of chivalry, said, “What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh.”

Nope. Clearly there is no such thing as a war on women. Nope. Nothing to see. Move along, move along.

Oh, and remember how I mentioned that Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks that the war on women isn’t real? His specific claim was that the war on women was “manufactured issue”. In support of that proposition, Sen. McConnell said:

There is no issue. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say — and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska — “we don’t see any evidence of this.”

But guess what? Yup. You know what’s coming… Three of the five senators McConnell mentions came out, in one way or another, and essentially agreed that there is a war on women. For example, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said regarding the debate over women’s access to contraception that:

I feel like it’s a retro-debate that took place in the 1950s… It’s sort of back to the future, isn’t it? And it is surprising in the 21st century we would be revisiting this issue.

Similarly, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) talked about her support for Planned Parenthood. But best of all are the comments from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) who first expressed regret over her vote for the Blunt amendment (the amendment that would have permitted businesses to withhold contraception coverage on religious or moral grounds) and said “I have never had a vote I’ve taken where I have felt that I let down more people that believed in me”. Then, a few days later, in response to claims by Republican men — like Sen. McConnell — that here is no war on women, said:

It makes no sense to make this attack on women… If you don’t feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters.

“Attack”. Her word. Not mine. Hmm. Doesn’t the use of the word “attack” sort of bring to mind … um … oh, I don’t know … maybe, um, like … a war? On women.

Stay tuned for future episodes. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel. (Look it up if you’re too young…)

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