Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Republican Party Loves Women!

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas)  has told us that the Republican Party doesn't have a problem with women!   So that's all right then.

A letter-to-the-editor in my Google news (which I now can't find to link to) argued the same.  The reasons:  Republican men breed with women, you see!  And about a hundred years ago many suffragettes were Republicans.  So that's all right then.

Except that neponset in Eschaton comments brought up a few problems:

Stop insulting my intelligence.  When Rs had to choose between giving women the chance to sue for equal pay and employers they picked employers.  When they had to choose between women who need birth control and catholic employers' religious freedom they picked catholic employers.  When they had to choose between their anti-gay base and the Violence Against Women act they picked the anti gays.  When they had to choose between the anti choice movement and rape and incest victims they picked the anti choicers.  I could go on.
Add to that the types of stories that get published on the conservative site, Townhall.  I've read several stories there about the dreadful mistake that was the Nineteenth Amendment (voting rights for women).  In general, if I want to write on misogyny I just go to Townhall and push my cart along the aisles there.   Then the National Review can also be a bargain basement for misogyny.

The war on women is not a brand new thing with the Republican Party but a branding thing:

Much of the so-called “gender gap” is simply the natural order of American politics; women favor Democrats more, while men are closer to the GOP. Even as Republicans might struggle among women, they can make up for it by winning men by a bigger margin.

That's far too facile.   First, it's mostly only white men who vote reliably Republican, as a group.  Second, does the writer imply that Akin et al.  bash women to attract men?  That the misogyny of the Party is an intended feature to attract those men who are also misogynists?   Or does he imply that it's the rest of the Republican platform (no taxes!  lotsa wars!) which appeals to men?

I once read a rant about many women voting for the Democrats.  It explained to me that women are gold-diggers and unable to make it on their own so of course they look up to the Big Daddy for sustenance!   I think that was on Townhall...

In short, the interesting question here is to what extent the misogyny  is a planned part of the Republican brand.

It's also true that many, many women do vote for the Republican Party.  The gender gap in voting is not humongous.  People vote on many different issues and many people vote whatever their parents voted (or the exact opposite, depending on family dynamics).  And most people don't follow the political fights in any detail at all.  Thus, it's difficult to know if the open contempt of so many Republicans towards women matters much when it comes to actual voting choices.

But then all this is something which happens against the background of general societal misogynistic chatter.  The Republicans aren't that extreme in that context.