A Study in Contrasts: RNC Chair Priebus Denying "War on Women," While Senator Murkowski Calls it Out
It’s no secret that a huge gender gap has emerged in a contest between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney (it’s 18 points in swing states!). So the new strategy from Republican leaders is to ignore it and deny that it exists. But prominent members of their own party, particularly women, aren’t letting them get away with it.
This week’s story began with the USA Today/Gallup poll showing Obama with a significant lead over Romney among women. Right now, that’s six points greater than the gender gap in the 2008 election. The Republican response:
1) “Women Don’t Care about Contraception”: When asked about why women’s rights are associated with “liberals” and how Republicans can counter that perception, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley claimed that “women don’t care about contraception.” Not sure where that assertion comes from, but polling sure doesn’t support it.
2) Women will love Mitt Romney once they know his “real views”: Romney’s Maryland Campaign Chairman, Bob Ehrlich, claimed, once “they see again and are reminded of, Governor Romney’s real views, that gender gap will dissipate rather quickly.” As Feministing (and we) wrote, the problem is that women already know Romney’s real views. And we don’t like them.
3) The media is making it all up. And something about caterpillars. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus tried blaming the gap on the media uncritically reporting Democratic talking points. And then he made a bizarre comparison that the Republicans might even be tagged as anti-caterpillar, or something, if the Democrats said it was so:
“If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction."
Unfortunately for Priebus, a) last year, nearly 1,000 anti-women’s health bills were introduced in state legislatures across the country, b) HR1, as in the most important bill the new Republican Congress focused on last year, included an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood that would have affected the nearly three million patients served by their health centers, and c) even Republican lawmakers (mostly women) are calling them out.
The Homer News reported that at a luncheon yesterday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski 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."
That is after remarks earlier this week by retiring Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who is baffled by the newly reinvigorated debate on birth control:
"You know, it really is surprising, because 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. And Sandra Fluke should have been commended, not condemned, for her courage in expressing her own views and beliefs before members of Congress.”
We wish anti-women’s health Republicans luck in trying to revise their recent history, but rest assured that not only are we watching, but we’ll continue educating our friends and neighbors about the real record.