I can almost picture you now, reading with bated breath, anxious to get an insight into Republican strategy. Will they break with religious conservatives and throw their support behind universal contraceptive coverage? Is the House going to launch an investigation into pay inequality and form a task force to end the practice? Are they going to warn their members that any comments making light of rape, defending rape culture, slut-shaming or victim blaming will result in the national party pulling all support? Dream on! No, the GOP has a much more nefarious plan in mind. They’re just going to dumb down their message so simple women folk can understand them. From Salon: (bolding is mine as always)
It’s hard to keep track of the number of memos and strategy sessions the Republican Party has now dedicated to attracting (or at least not repelling en masse) women voters who aren’t white, wealthy and married, but apparently there was another such meeting held last week. As Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner reports, members of the Republican Study Committee got together on Friday to discuss women voters, and concluded that bringing policy discussions “down to a woman’s level” was the solution to all the GOP’s problems. (Not mentioned as possible solutions, though in line with the new strategy: Talking very slowly, not making any sudden movements, offering tiny cupcakes to reward midterm election turnout.)
“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Renee Ellmers explained. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.
“We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,” she concluded.
Of course. It’s not that women find GOP policies repugnant, it’s that they can’t understand them. I am sure this is just the first of many tactical changes for the new GOP. I heard whisperings from a very reliable source* that the GOP’s new Latino outreach program consists of first bringing the message down to a woman’s level, then shouting it, slowly and loudly, in English at the nearest person of Hispanic descent. The very same reliable source* has heard rumblings of a new outreach to the homosexual community, focusing on explaining how even though they are abominations in the eyes of God, as long as they stop that disgusting anal gay sex stuff they can be accepted by both Jesus and the Republican party.
But what’s more striking here is that this isn’t an isolated statement; it’s the fundamental way that the GOP frames gender in 2014. They may talk a good game about what women care about — the economy, jobs, education — but their policy positions and constantly regurgitated talking points reveal time and again that the GOP views women’s role as in the home, their greatest contributions as those made in the service of family. This is why women like Ellmer argue that women (read: mothers) can only understand the federal budget through their management of the family purse, rather than just picking up a newspaper and reading and interpreting information — abstract and personal — like anyone else.
After the debacle of 2012, the year of the “GOP War on Women,” I honestly expected the GOP to engage in a little re-branding. I didn’t think they would change their actual views on the issues, but I did think that they would soften their language on certain subjects, and try to push some of their more extreme beliefs out of the public eye. I got this impression from actual highly regarded Republicans, from the statements they made shortly after Obama’s reelection. And yet, if any change has taken place, it has served to make the party even more extreme. Fox News bleats endlessly of “Beyonce voters,” George Will claims that “sexual assault victim” is a status to be desired, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gets primaried for not being sufficiently conservative on immigration. Any idea of a problem that existed immediately after the 2014 drubbing has evaporated. It’s not only that the GOP platform includes nothing that could be called sexist, it is that sexism itself no longer exists. Just ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: (bolding,mine, yadayada)
Good news, everyone. There is no such thing as gender discrimination in the workplace anymore because Mitch McConnell says so. As Patrick Caldwell at Mother Jones points out, McConnell announced the happy news last week at Fastline Publications, a company that produces farm equipment catalogs.
“I could be wrong, but most of the barriers have been lowered,” McConnell said. “I don’t grant the assumption that we need to give preferential treatment to a majority of our population. […] We’ve come a long way in pay equity, and there are a ton of women CEOs now running major companies.”
This is an amazing development, obviously. (Too bad that Rush Limbaugh scooped him about the death of sexism a couple of weeks ago.) Now that most of the barriers have been lowered, someone should probably tell the 24 women on the Fortune 500 CEO list – 4.8 percent of the list — that they have achieved parity, and that there are a “ton” of them. Once we alert them, maybe they can spread the word to the women who make less than their male colleagues for the exact same work, as documented in a breakdown of median weekly salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Among the Bureau’s nearly 600 listed occupations, women earn less than men in all but seven of them. So spreading this message could take time. Better activate those phone trees.)
Ah, the “new” GOP. Motto? “Get in the kitchen, and make me a sammich!”