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)
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?
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.
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.