I received an email today from the Republican National Committee titled “Obama’s War on Women”.
The email reads: “There is a war on women going on, but it is actually the Obama War on Women.”
Honestly! I’m not kidding here.
The email links to a video which shows clips of CNN and MSNBC personalities talking about Bill Maher giving an Obama-supporting super PAC money. While ominous music plays, they also show clips of the same hosts talking about Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin the C-word during a stand-up routine.
Understanding the logic of the video requires some serious disbelief suspending on the part of the viewer: some lefty comedian (Bill Maher) who has a history of saying inappropriate things to women gives Obama a bunch of money therefore Obama hates women.
Republicans are trying to draw a relationship between Bill Maher saying nasty things about politician Sarah Palin during a comedy routine and Rush Limbaugh saying extremely nasty things about law student Sandra Fluke on his internationally broadcast radio and TV program.
The argument might come off as a bit more reasonable if these two incidents were the only two in question. But they aren’t.
Republicans might be able to put up a solid defense against the “war on women” argument if it was only based on the asinine comments of Rush and Maher. But it’s not.
In reality, Limbaugh was really late to the game. His “slut” comments only served to further fan the flames on the anti-women bonfire Republican office holders and Republican presidential primary candidates have been building for months – years – decades.
You don’t even have to leave Ohio to know that Republicans have long been against equal rights for women.
And while they often claim their actions are related to moral beliefs about abortion, the recent rash of new and creative ways Republicans have devised to separate women from their right to make decisions about their own bodies has shown us that this has absolutely nothing to do with religious beliefs.
You only have to look at the Ohio heart beat bill hearings where a fetus (almost) testified. Or requirements for transvaginal ultrasounds in Texas and Virgina. Personhood amendments granting full legal rights to a tiny mass of cells. Defunding of Planned Parenthood.
And nationally, Republican Presidential Candidates have been scrambling to see who can be the craziest of the crazy conservatives when it comes to women’s health issues, with Rick Santorum easily taking the prize for his comments about contraception.
If this was simply about insensitive comments made by comedians (note: I’m including both Rush and Maher in this category) then we wouldn’t really have a case against Republicans. But it’s more than that. Much more.
And the fact that Republicans feel they need to respond clearly shows they are in serious damage control mode. Recent poll numbers seem to agree: the Republican “war on women” is driving women away from their candidates for glaringly obvious reasons.
Republicans seem to be tone deaf. Instead of trying to defuse the issue by reining in their anti-women rhetoric, they have decided to make a Youtube video – and a pretty tame and ineffective one at that – while their candidates continue fighting each other to be the most anti-women candidate in the race.
I certainly don’t envy Republican strategists this year. They are anxiously looking for something – ANYthing – to pin on Obama. But with the improving economy and the increasingly poor decisions being made by their presidential candidates, they are forced into a corner defending their party’s very poor record on women’s issues.
It’s a sad place to be. But they really have no one to blame but themselves.