politics

Chavetz Accelerates the Republican War on Women

A year ago, I wrote a column for WWPR about the Republican Party’s War on Women, dissecting the republican claim that this putative war was being driven by a left-leaning media, and therefore did not constitute a real war.

Since publication, it has become glaringly obvious that the war on women does indeed exist, and is currently in the process of ramping up – in Congress no less.

Yesterday’s Planned Parenthood ‘Hearing’ on the Hill was the most blatant example of the republican war on women that anyone trying to prove its existence could hope for.  Rep. Jason Chavetz (R-UT) verbally attacked Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, and daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, of Texas.

It was extremely uncomfortable to watch this violent confrontation.

Chavetz repeatedly peppered Richards with questions, refusing to allow answers. At the end of more than eight minutes of televised violence against a woman, Chavetz held up a misleading slide, claiming that he had produced it himself with information lifted directly from the Planned Parenthood financial reports. Underscoring his ignorance, the slide he showed was clearly marked at the bottom with the Source: Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group.

Given that Chafetz has been married to a woman since 1991, and has two daughters, his demeanor yesterday was shocking. What is life like in that household? Is he as venomous towards the three women in his household as he was to Cecile Richards?  It appears to be timely for the Utah child protection agency to pay a visit to his house.

excerpts from last year’s column:

Republicans and Democrats shared an equal number of female politicians some thirty years ago.

In the intervening years, the Democrats have increased their representation significantly, at the expense of the Republican Party.  This encouraged the Republican leadership to create a program specifically for women – GROW (Growing Republican Opportunities for Women), to encourage more women to run for Congress.  Since its inception last summer, GROW has not been especially successful. The Democrats are not faring any better in their efforts.

Women are voting in much greater numbers than men, a statistic that has held firm for the past thirty-some years. Are they not voting for women? Are women candidates not ‘reaching’ women voters across the issues? Women were a key voting block for President Barack Obama, yet when it comes to women candidates, the voters tend to stay home.  There still appears to be a paucity of support and resources available for women candidates in both parties.

Democrats have made it very clear that the “war on women” playbook will be key to their efforts this fall in electing and re-electing representatives. The majority of candidates will be male representatives, attempting to appeal to women voters on traditional women’s issues.  In the last election cycle, we were bombarded daily – hourly even – in every competitive race, with television advertisements about abortion, birth-control access, the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Where are the women?

Republicans are actively trying to appeal to women, both as candidates and as voters, to cut into the perceived Democratic advantage created by the ‘War on Women’. Yet GOP congressional leaders have not, as yet, released any comprehensive women’s agenda.

I think most of us women would agree that neither of the two main political parties in this country are providing us with the representation that we need, as we make our way towards the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century. This makes the War on Women, whether individually perceived as real or media-driven, a sideshow, distracting us from the real issues we need to face.

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