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equal pay day and the newly compassionate conservative

ON THE WAY BACK from dri­ving Berni to work this morning, NPR Radio was run­ning one of their short spe­cials, this one on the ef­forts of the GOP to curry favor with women voters. The host re­marked that in the 2012 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Mitt Romney lost the wom­en’s vote by eleven per­centage points.

I thought that the Grand Old Party has been waging an on­slaught on what are termed “wom­en’s rights” by wom­en’s or­ga­ni­za­tions and the cor­po­rate media alike to the point where the on­slaught is gen­er­ally called the “Re­pub­lican war on women.” What did they ex­pect?

Why, then, is the gap a mere 11%? Be­cause the ma­jority of white women vote Re­pub­lican—even though it is against their in­ter­ests and the in­ter­ests of their sis­ters and daugh­ters and even their fe­male friends. (Un­less, of course, they’re wealthy—then nothing else counts.)

I got home and did some on­line re­search. The state­ments in quo­ta­tion marks below are taken from an ar­ticle ti­tled “GOP Softens Its Edge In An At­tempt To Ap­peal To Women” by Tamara Keith for NPR (May 6, 2014):

“Equal Pay Day was orig­i­nated by the Na­tional Com­mittee on Pay Eq­uity in 1996 as a public aware­ness event to il­lus­trate the gap be­tween men’s and wom­en’s wages. NCPE lead­er­ship de­cided years ago to se­lect a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day.

 

Women are 54% of the elec­torate. They aren’t a coalition—they are the ma­jority. And if you aren’t ac­tively en­gaging with women voters, you’re going to lose.

 

Tuesday was se­lected to rep­re­sent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the pre­vious week. Be­cause women earn less, on av­erage, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

On pre­vious Equal Pay Days, grass­roots or­ga­nizing on fair pay swept local com­mu­ni­ties. Wom­en’s busi­ness and pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tions, labor groups, civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tions and others com­mitted to equal pay co­or­di­nated ac­tiv­i­ties to raise aware­ness about how to solve wage in­equity.” (NCPE)

 

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What does she mean?

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy Mc­Morris Rodgers of Wash­ington state, the highest-ranking Re­pub­lican woman in Con­gress, said at a news con­fer­ence on April 8:

“I’m sure you’re aware that today is Equal Pay Day. As a woman, and as one that has two daugh­ters, I’ve al­ways sup­ported equal pay for equal work, as have all of us. And we’re pro­moting as Re­pub­li­cans are those poli­cies that are going to em­power women and everyone.”

Read that para­graph again: ac­cording to Ms. Rodgers, “all of us” have “al­ways sup­ported equal pay for equal work.”

What does she mean here with that state­ment?

“All of us women?”

That’s not true.

“All of us Re­pub­lican women?”

That’s not true.

“All of us Re­pub­li­cans?”

That’s not true.

So, what is being said? Any­thing? Or just empty words that the speaker knows will ap­pear in the media sans ex­pla­na­tion or re­buttal?

 

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Pulling punches

Back to Tamara Keith for NPR: “Many Re­pub­li­cans have been re­luc­tant to en­gage on so-called wom­en’s is­sues for fear of get­ting sucked into the war-on-women nar­ra­tive. In 2012, two male Senate can­di­dates saw their chances tank when they made com­ments about rape that were, at best, un­for­tu­nate.”

Ex­cuse me, but “at best, un­for­tu­nate” does not begin to de­fine a re­mark like, “If it’s a le­git­i­mate rape, the fe­male body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Ms. Keith is pulling her punches a bit too much.

But then, that is what ALL cor­po­rate media do and, since the Re­pub­lican con­gresses of the past few decades have con­sis­tently cut funding to arts-related projects—including the rather be­nign Na­tional Public Radio—it has had to rely more and more on cor­po­rate spon­sors to merely sur­vive. Hence pulled punches …

PS1: As best I can make it, “Recht auf Mehr” trans­lates from German to Eng­lish as “Rights for more.”

PS2: The re­mark that opens this post (54%) was made by An­drea Bozek, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rector for the Na­tional Re­pub­lican Con­gres­sional Com­mittee.

 

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FEATURED IMAGE: I found the far-out image at the top of this page ac­com­pa­nying “The War On Women: It’s More Than A Buzz­word” by Amanda Fox on the Spit­fire web­site.

 

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