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The GOP’s War on Women: Electoral Bombs From Komen to Rush to Virginia’s Vaginal Probes

| March 10, 2012

sandra fluke The Democrats' renaissance woman.

The Democrats' renaissance woman.

From the Susan Komen scandal to Rick Santorum‘s neo-Medievalist attitudes about women to Virginia’s attempted mandatory insertion of ultrasound probes inside abortion-seeking women’s uteruses, the staging of an all-male panel on reproductive rights by a Republican congressional committee to Rush Limbaugh’s assaults and insults against Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student pressing for contraceptive coverage by all insurers, it’s been a dismal few months for Republicans, who are losing the woman vote fast, and with it their electoral prospects in November, even at the congressional level.

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A story in the Post about the Republicans’ various assaults on women generated 5,000 comments, among them this: “Thank heavens women in America have wakened back up and understand radical republicans are trying to talibanize women. President Kennedy established Affirmative Action, an attempt to promote jobs for women and minorities and give them equal opportunity, during his short career. President Johnson continued the effort. President Reagan cut off funding for Affirmative Action and called it reverse discriminiation, which is why I didn’t vote for him the second time. The GOP hates women and thinks they should stay home barefoot and pregnant. Women, who are 50% of Americans, do not agree, nor do the men who love and honor them. Time for the pary of neathandrals to go the way of the dinosaurs.” And this: “War on women. War on workers. War on immigrants. War on teachers. War on public servants. War on diplomacy. War on science. War on truth. War on democracy. What the Republicans are actually conducting is a plain old war on people, in favor of the artificial “people” known as corporations. The things corporations do not need — education, health care, food, housing, clothing, retirement, etc., are the things Republicans are trying to eliminate from our society. Why women vote Republican sometimes may be a mystery, but the bigger mystery is why anyone would.”

the Post: “The fragile gains Republicans had been making among female voters have been erased, a shift that has coincided with what has become a national shouting match over reproductive issues, potentially handing President Obama and the Democrats an enormous advantage this fall. A number of polls show that Obama’s approval among women has risen significantly since December, even as it has remained flat among men. The same trend, which began before the controversy in recent weeks, is also showing up further down the ballot. When a Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey asked in the summer which party should control Congress, 46 percent of women favored Democrats and 42 percent preferred Republican control. But in a survey released Monday, compiling data since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge.” The full story.

The assaults have the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker worried: “Republicans might wish nothing more than to stuff birth control pills back into the bottle, but Democrats aren’t about to let them. The narrative already has a title: ‘The Republican War on Women.’ Cue theme from ‘Psycho.’ One can hardly blame Democrats for taking advantage of a perfect storm of stupefying proportions. The only thing Republicans failed to do was put a bow on this mess.” Referring to the list of disastrous missteps listed in the first paragraph here, Parker went on: “Individually, these anecdotes would have been problematic, but combined their effect on female voters is that of a Tyrannosaurus rex approaching a Gallimimus herd. (Picture the stampede scene in ‘Jurassic Park.’) War has been declared, and there’s hardly any way to change the impression among a growing percentage of women that the GOP is the party of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.”

Parker goes on to claim that Rush and the Neanderthals don’t speak for her or her version of the GOP. But that’s the tired sound of Republican moderates throwing up their arms, like Olympia Snowe did when she announced she was quitting the Senate, before conceding, as even Parker did, what nail is being drilled in their coffin: “The GOP long ago made its bed with social conservatives, a large percentage of them Southern evangelicals, and now must sleep with them. After marriage, of course. In Laurens County, S.C., where the local GOP recently tried to create a purity tribunal to screen and monitor aspiring Republican candidates, this is more than a punch line.”

Olympia Snowe's brand of Republicanism is unwanted in a stew of tea party and social conservative activism.

Frank Bruni, the more liberal Times columnist, echoed Parker’s lament a few days ago in a piece on Snowe’s “sad retreat.” He wrote: “Just because you choose a team shouldn’t mean you’re suddenly and miraculously on board with everything in its playbook, on down the line: the abortion position, the contraception position, the tax policy, the immigration policy, the attitude toward same-sex marriage, the attitude toward gun control. But that’s what’s expected. That’s the message gleaned from the relative homogeneity of a party’s leading candidates, who squeeze themselves into tidy, unyielding boxes and insist that we do likewise. Rare is the Democrat of plausible national ambition who tangles in a tough, meaningful way with labor unions or environmentalists, groups that President Obama has been loath to cross. Disappointing them jeopardizes the campaign infantry and financial contributions they provide, and as the sway of interest groups rises, the fealty of politicians to the ones in their corner grows with it. Rare is the Republican of plausible national ambition who doesn’t kowtow to religious conservatives, a spectacle on florid display during the Republican primaries […].”

Snowe herself wrote in an OpEd: “Before the 1994 election, 34 senators came from states that voted for a presidential nominee of the opposing party. That number has dropped to just 25 senators in 2012. The result is that there is no practical incentive for 75 percent of the senators to work across party lines. The great challenge is to create a system that gives our elected officials reasons to look past their differences and find common ground if their initial party positions fail to garner sufficient support. In a politically diverse nation, only by finding that common ground can we achieve results for the common good. That is not happening today and, frankly, I do not see it happening in the near future. For change to occur, our leaders must understand that there is not only strength in compromise, courage in conciliation and honor in consensus-building — but also a political reward for following these tenets. That reward will be real only if the people demonstrate their desire for politicians to come together after the planks in their respective party platforms do not prevail. […] I see a critical need to engender public support for the political center, for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. […] I am convinced that, if the people of our nation raise their collective voices, we can effect a renewal of the art of legislating — and restore the luster of a Senate that still has the potential of achieving monumental solutions to our nation’s most urgent challenges.”

The Daily Beast recently hosted the third annual Women in the World Summit, including this panel entitled “Where Are the Women at the Top?” featuring New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, Shelby Knox, the gay rights and sex-ed activist from Texas, Ann Kornblut, the White House correspondent for the Washington Post, Cheryl Mills, a deputy Hillary Clinton and ex-senior vice president at NYU, and of course Gloria Steinem. Watch:

Watch live streaming video from womenintheworld at

31 Responses for “The GOP’s War on Women: Electoral Bombs From Komen to Rush to Virginia’s Vaginal Probes”

  1. Sandra Lindquist via Facebook says:

    Why is this happening?! Now, when we have so many troubling issues to deal with, is it possible to get back on track? “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” __ George Bernard Shaw

    • Layla says:

      This is happening because we have an election coming up and the prez is behind in the polls. This is politics and nothing else.

  2. Punisher says:

    Hilarious. The left wage a war against a women health group, Komen, and call conservative women every name in the book for years.

  3. Lin says:

    Yes, I can relate — my voter registration card says Republican but there is so much that I don’t agree with — mostly social issues that I wonder if I can say I’m any party at all. I still believe in small government, fiscal responsibility, blah blah but the rest of it is just so wrong. But I couldn’t vote for the Dems either because their nanny state philosophy goes against my nature too. Just seems like both parties are on the wrong track — both are taking away our freedoms, Repubs going back to put restrictions on reproductive rights and the dem attacking religious freedom by requiring religious institutions to provide birth control not to mention all the other things they are regulating through the healthcare law. Maybe I’m Libertarian? Candidate Ron Paul? He says some things that are borderline goofy — or is it me?

    • Jean says:

      The Dems are not attacking religious freedom and churches are not being required to provide birth control. Publically licensed or chartered entities that function in the public sphere are being required to do follow the saem laws as other public entities. Part of freedom of religion is a freedom from religion. Laws should apply to all public entities equally and not carve out religious exceptions. What if those views are not the same as yours? Why should your rights be limited by someone else’s religious vews that you may not agree with?

      • Lynn says:

        Jean, have you ever heard about separation of Church and State??? This country was founded by people leaving Europe to escape governments pushing THEIR religion down the throat of everyday people. Is that what you want in the USA???? Georgetown University is a Catholic University and as such should NOT be forced to provide contraception if that is against their religious principles. Break the chain of church and state separation and you open the door to the government mandating YOUR religion.

  4. Angela Smith via Facebook says:

    Is the GOP DELIBERATELY TRYING to commit political suicide?

  5. roco says:

    The media blames Bush and the GOP for all the mistakes made from the left.. Example was Pelosi saying the congress didn’t have a clue what was in the Obamacare bill. She said they would read it after it was voted in. Now that’s as stupid as it gets.. The entire administration work off intitlements for them selves and their crony followers..

  6. Punisher says:

    For every remark like that from those like Rush there are hundreds of those from leftists like Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, etc.

    • Layla says:

      I’m getting a thrill up my leg just hearing their names…

    • Nanci says:

      Punisher – It does not make a hill of beans what someone else said. THEY ARE ALL WRONG. This one hit women really wrong because 1) for 2 days he defended his statements saying he would never apologize 2) His comments the 2nd day about posting videos of themselves having sex just made him look sicker 3) It was personal and aimed at one woman 4) he is so arrogant and that makes his words seem doubly offensive. I wrote to his sponsors and some of his stations. I am personally sick to death of him personally, all of the others on Fox and on MSNBC. I blame all of them for the terrible disrespect and public discourse in this country. We need people who just report news, like Walter Cronkite, use to….not rephrase it, add to it, spin it or alter it. There are no real news people any more.

    • Jean says:

      First, they are all wrong to do this and should be called on their statements.

      Second, to my knowledge, they did not spend 3 solid days viciously attacking a private citizen who was not a public figure, did not make a career of inserting herself into the public fray, and who did not have her own well-known public forum for response. Isn’t Rush the one who personally attacked the 13-yr-old Chelsea Clinton by calling her the White House dog? Do you really want to defend this malicious buffoon?

  7. palmcoaster says:

    @Angela Smith.YES! …and all for the sake of extreme conservationists. Is not anymore about working together to make America great and protect and benefit its citizens. Now is all about to unseat the elected officials, after Bush Jr. was out of the White House.

    • Layla says:

      We disagree this time, palmcoaster. I want the government OUT of my bedroom, my sex life, everything they do not belong in.

      • Nanci says:

        Amen, Layla. I agree. These are NON ISSUES FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. If the sex nuts in the states want to talk about this stuff……let them…..these are NOT federal issues.

        roco: The last I looked Bush was responsible for a war that was a lie and cutting taxes instead of raising them to pay for it. He also borrowed all that money from China to pay for the war. What makes me furious in both parties is why can’t we say what we did wrong? It would make them look a lot more human to admit we goofed here but won’t repeat the problem…instead of lying when everyone knows the truth. BUSH DID GOOF…….there I said it. Hopefully, someone learned from his mistakes.

        Punisher: Well, I had to call Cantors office and complain about him. I thought it was really out of line to say the administrations Jobs Bill was “dead on arrival” before he even read it. That is when I got my new sign..”The GOP—-keeping millions out of work…to put one man out of a job.” Since when has jobs become a partisan issue? I am totally disgusted with the far right wackos in my own party. The GOP has sold out to extremists and, sorry, I can’t relate to any of them. They make Reagan look like a liberal. And their emphasis on all these social issues is just sickening. The last I looked this is 2012 not 1912.

        Lin: Lin- I agree with you on some of what you say. I can’t relate to the GOP anymore because they have sold out to extremists on the right that are so out of touch with most of us. And I was a registered
        Republican for years. I hope that Santroum wins the nomination because I think Obama would wipe the floor with him and the GOP would realize that this country is NOT far right conservative. Most people are moderates. A word barely heard anymore. If Romney runs and looses than the far right will blame it on the fact that he is not “conservative” enough. So I am hoping for Santorum and than I will have to vote for Obama. I don’t agree with you that the Dems are taking away rights from the Catholic Church. I am Catholic and felt as you do until it was announced that the Church does not have to pay for the birth control benefit – that a woman could request it through the insurance. There response is simply political because they are so afraid that they may be mandated to have to adopt a child to a gay couple at Catholic Charities. They are running on fear and are completely out of line right now. (That’s what I told me priest). I support the health care bill after studying it….not before. But preventive care will save this country a lot of money as will some of the other measures. I just wish Obama would explain it all better. The Republican party has to center out and get rid of the idiot fringe on the right before I can support them again.

        Layla: I don’t know what polls you are watching but Obama is definitely not behind.

        • Lin says:

          Nanci, while I agree that the far right social agenda is way off from my way of thinking, I could never vote for Obama who is as far left as any I can remember. The “solutions” he has to what ails our country are just making things worse IMO. I still believe in good old capitalism and free markets and people taking care of themselves. The culture he is encouraging is dividing the nation into haves and have nots with too many people not paying taxes and too many people not paying income taxes, collecting foodstamps or working for the government — the government is too darn big. For example, the healthcare bill (I’ve looked into some of the provisions too) mandates many things that are super intrusive. It is not health “insurance” that is guaranteed by our constitution — we can still care for the poor without increasing costs for everyone, giving up our privacy and making mandates that noone can afford. Not to mention that it will create a whole new layer of public employees making decisions that should be between me & my doctor. Just look at this new homeowner help he is offering to people who are under water on their mortgages. The dems just keep coming up with carrots to hold out to the people who will vote for them and the hard-working taxpayer just keeps getting squeezed to pay more. Like keeping the pipeline from being built, making those phone calls. When the President actually does something to help fix this economy instead of make political capital, I’d vote for him. I don’t care if there is a D on the ballot. But I don’t count on that happening anytime soon.

  8. Lin says:

    The so-called political entertainers like Rush & Maher have been doing this for years — I think they both went too far in the past couple of years. But Maher seems to have skated on his vile talk while Rush is getting called out. Can’t listen to either of them. Rush should have known better that this would be used against him & ALL Repub candidates if he was as smart as he thinks he is. That Feminazi crap he has been spouting for years just turned me off to anything valid he had to say.

  9. Rocky Mac says:

    Why can’t men, whether comedians, talk show hosts, etc., treat us women with a little more respect. I don’t care what side of the political isle you are on, there is no need for this nastiness. But for those who think Maher and Limbaugh are in the same camp with regards to their vile spewing, Limbaugh had a bigger impact this time. Maher may have been obnoxious in the names he calls certain women, but Limbaugh insulted all women who may have had to use contraceptives. There is the difference. I personally was highly insulted as what he said reverberated with me as both my daughters needed the pill for medical reasons. One was undergoing chemo and if she was to get pregnant it would have killed the fetus most likely. My other daughter is also on b.c. for another medical reason., Now that you understand where I am coming from and a lot of other women, can you see why Rush’s rantings have affected and angered more women than Maher or any other jerk for that matter.

    • Layla says:

      And calling the Palin women the C word didnt upset anybody at all?

      C’mon, it’s time to clean it up. We’re all sick of the name calling.

    • Jean says:

      They don’t treat women with respect because we don’t demand it. I saw a poll somewhere that showed that women were responsible for something like 80% of the financial purchase decisions of a couple. Suppose we just started making our demands known to sponsor companies?

      Speech may be free, but commercial air time definitely is not.

  10. Prescient33 says:

    Anyone who identifies Kathleen Parker as a “conservative” columnist injures his or her credibility from the outset, just as not not being able to correctly spell spell the quintessential Queen of the RINOS in the Senate, Olympia Snowe (whose decision not to seek reelection is motivated by the most feminist of reasons, i.e., her husband’s hand caught in a cookie jar), loses credibility. Mrs Snowe quit before the sheriff arrived, not because of any other reason.
    It is the Democrat mantra that Republicans are anti woman, a desperate measure to deflect from the Obama regime’s unconstitutional assault on religious freedom through the HHS mandate, a ploy that will not work, as it is a serious miscalculation of the intelligence of the feminine voters.
    And the article completely elides the revelation the Ms Fluke was no fluke, but a willing dupe being manipulated by the White House, through its former aide pulling her strings.

  11. Outsider says:

    And through all of this nobody wants to mention that this “hearing” was not a hearing at all, but a news conference STAGED to look like a hearing. It was yet another deliberate attempt directed by the White House to deflect attention away from the outcry over Obama’s attempted trampling of the seperation of church and state. Title X, enacted by Richard Nixon already guarantees access to birth control for those who cannot afford it or have no insurance. This is just more prima facia evidence that this whole Fluke thing is not a fluke; it was contrived by the Democrats to build on this so-called Republican war on women. I am personally more concerned about Obama’s very real war on America which will adversely affect women, men, girls, and boys forever.

    • Jean says:

      Contrived by the Dems? Really? You mean the Dems are the ones who formed an all-male panel to discuss the contraception mandate with a bunch of celibate males as witnesses? And the Dems were the ones who refused to let Fluke testify? And the Dems are the ones who have been passing all manner of laws to further restrict abortion access? And the Dems are the ones who cleverly put an anti-abortion Republican on the Konen board and started the fight over Planned Parenthood funding? And the Dems got Rush to go on his 3-day verbal rampage against Fluke?

      My gosh, those Dems are clever! They didn’t just trick the GOP into shooting themselves in the foot. They tricked the GOP into shooting themselves in the head!

  12. sam8131 says:

    Has everyone missed the point of this distraction? Yes Rush was wrong in his choice of words. So are many on the left. But, it does seem that the press holds the right more accountable for their misuse of words than they do the left. No one is declaring WAR on women. Who is denying them contraceptives? Who is trying to take contrceptives away from women? No one.

    The real WAR is about government intrusion into our lives. This WAR is nothing more than a distraction created by the left to get our minds off the core issues, like the economy. And if you believe the economy is improving just go to the nearest gas station and check the price of gas. Let me know how well the economy is when the fuel prices hit the grocery store. Let me know when the costs of healthcare goes down. Everyone needs to wake up and get down to the real issues that are going to ruin this country for generations to come.

  13. Prescient33 says:

    It is an incontrovertible fact the hearing scheduled was to examine into the constitutional issues vis-a-vis the mandates that imposed requirements upon churches that were antithetical to their beliefs, a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. It had nothing to do with contraception, per se. The minority was given an opportunity to schedule witnesses for the constitutional issue, and did, a male witness. At the last moment, too late to go through the required vetting process ALL witnesses must go through, the minority Democrats sought to substitute Fluke, whose testimony would have no bearing on the issue being discussed, and this was denied as a matter of procedure because of its last minute nature.
    This was the Democrat’s attempt to circumvent the rules of Congress for political objectives only, not to further any congressional purpose. The charade the minority subsequently engaged in, and where Fluke performed, was by no stretch of the imagination a hearing before a committee of Congress, in fact it was no more than a contrived press event.
    Congress operates through rules of order and long established, published procedures that bind the members of Congress, and have for over 200 years, and these the Democrats chose to ignore or flout, as it turned out. And subsequent to this staged political farce, we have learned the star performer was under the aegis of or in the control of Obama’s former White House Director of Communication. If you can’t see that the whole thing was entirely set, contrived, etc. by Democrat operatives to divert attention from Obama’s unconstitutional assault on sacred religious beliefs, your naiveté borders on debilitating.

  14. Nancy N. says:

    All the conservatives who are accusing the left of “making up” these issues like contraception to “distract” from the “real” issues during this election season….did it ever occur to you that part of our beliefs is the very fact that those idealogical issues ARE important? It’s what makes us the left.

    To me, protecting a woman’s basic reproductive rights (including equal access to have her care paid for by insurance no matter the idealogical beliefs of her employer) is absolutely just as important an issue as the economy. It’s not an either/or proposition. Some of the right just wish it were so their dirty laundry would go away…

  15. jespo says:

    Hi, I’m the Republican Party, and I’d like to tell you how to live your life. You see, our forefathers believed that men and women…what?…why yes, I am chewing my own foot off. Right here, what they meant by created equal was…what?…well, polls are still showing us strong on the other foot despite the reports of us bleeding out. Now, the seperation of church and state wasn’t really meant for Christianity because…huh?…no , I don’t think there’s a law against chewing one’s own foot off; that sounds like mandated health care to me. When god himself spoke to me…wait, can I have a seat or something, I’m feeling a wee bit woozy….

  16. Outsider says:

    Actually Jean, the original hearing was about the constitutionality of mandating a religious organization to pay for things it has been against; it was a constitutional issue. And yes, there are rules as to how hearings are conducted; the Dems picked Ms. Fluke out of obscurity at the last moment to appear at the real hearing, and since, contrary to the procedures they have for such event she or her comments were not presented ahead of time so relevant questions could be asked of her, thus she was denied permission to appear. Hence, the Democrats created a contrived “hearing,” which wasn’t a hearing at all, but a news conference, again, STAGED with deceit in mind to look like a hearing. The news media was actually reporting it as a hearing, which was an outright lie. Some people are easily bamboozled into whatever this President throws out there to try to bamboozle them with. He was read the riot act when he tried to force the Catholic Church to pay for contraception, and he turned that boondoggle around trying to convince women that the Republicans have declared war on them; very becoming of our leader to once again try to turn the people of America against each other with outright lies simply to try to save his failing re-election bid. I’m a registered Republican, and I’m a little confused. I’m supposed to hate women, but I married one. I have two little girls; I guess when they turn eighteen I’ll have to start hating them too. As far as Ms. Fluke goes, someone should let her in on a little secret: she doesn’t have to spend a grand a year on birth control, even if she’s screwing the entire school and the town it’s in. You see, when a guy comes over and has the slightest inkling that he might get lucky, he’s got a pocketful of rubbers anyway. Just sayin’.

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