More attacks on women

Published 10:09 am Friday, August 14, 2015

In the 2012 presidential elections Republicans found themselves defending insensitive remarks their candidates made about women including that women mostly could not become pregnant from rape and that women should just hold an aspirin between their knees to avoid pregnancy.

These remarks caused Democrats to note that, cumulatively, the comments regarding women constituted a Republican War on Women. The tag line seemed to have stuck and offended Republicans deeply, hardly issues that gave Democrats any regret.

The two outcomes from the charge of the War on Women were that Democrats won 55 percent of the women’s vote for the 2012 presidential election and that Republicans remained incensed that such a charge worked in election politics.

Now comes the first Republican presidential debate for the 2016 presidential election and what happens but another broadside on women and the issues they vote to support.

It began with Fox reporter Megan Kelly citing several Donald Trump quotes that were, more or less, nasty insults about women’s bodies using terms including “fat pigs,” “dogs,” and “slobs.” Trump, in his always attack style, defended his comments and later attacked Kelly, the sole female interviewer, as an incompetent reporter. The other nine candidates stood silently, ignoring Trumps irresponsible remarks.

Later in the debate both Scott Walker and Marco Rubio forcefully argued against abortion even in the cases of rape or incest or the life of the mother. Abortion under these circumstances is supported by 75 percent of Americans.

Then the candidates, all who were asked, attacked Planned Parenthood, whose services for reproductive health reach out to millions of women each year, providing cancer screenings, contraceptives, family planning and abortion services. Recent videos have cast the abortion services of Planned Parenthood in an unfavorable light, but Republicans have been fighting to un-fund this significant provider of family services for women for several years.

Earlier in the week Jeb Bush, one of the top tier Republican candidates for president, stated at a Christian conservative forum that he was “not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

Interesting. The Republican Party supports allocating $60 billion dollars for defense spending not requested by the defense department, but one of their leading candidates thinks the allocation of $500 million dollars nationally for women’s health issues is excessive.

This is the same Republican Party that has, in 23 states, refused to expand Medicaid, a health insurance program that significantly benefits women and children.

At the risk of raising yet again Republican ire, it is difficult not to say the words “War on Women” still apply to the Republican Party as the 2016 elections approach.

Of course the Republican Party is already challenged demographically in 2016, needing significantly higher percentages of the women’s vote and the Hispanic vote in order to have a chance to win the presidency. Without improvement in Republican votes by the two groups a 2016 presidential victory is nearly impossible.

Given these challenges it is puzzling that Republicans continue to seemingly do everything possible to alienate the women’s vote. And while it is a long path before the first votes are cast, allowing your opposition to define you by your own words as opposed to women’s issues is a strategy hard to understand.

Trump explains it by saying he has no time for political correctness. Is that how the other candidates feel, that supporting women’s issues is just political correctness, nothing more? If so, then we can expect the War on Women to continue.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.