GOP Ad Makers Decide to Treat Women “More Like Adults,” Condescension Predictably Follows

I would almost give them credit for trying if I didn’t picture late night discussions in GOP war rooms that go something like this:

GOP Strategist: “Goddammit, we’re still losing the chick vote by double digits.  I don’t get it, no one has said anything about the fact that pregnancies caused by rape are a myth this week.  Why won’t they vote for us?”

GOP Ad Exec 1: “Bitches be crazy.”

GOP Ad Exec 2:  “I think Frank is on to something, sir.  Bitches, in fact, are crazy.  All of them, even the ones on our side.  They are just a bit less crazy.”

GOP Strat: “Yes, yes, yes Thomas.  Everyone knows that bitches be crazy.  But that doesn’t help us.  We need ideas.  Even our female candidates are losing the chick vote.”

GOP Ad E2: “Duh.”

GOP Ad E1: “Seriously sir, of course they are.  Everyone knows that women hate other women and never want to see them succeed.  It’s why Hillary will never be President; all women love to knock other women down a peg or two.  Its in their genes.”

GOP Strat: “Okay.  So there is nothing we can do in those races.  What about the ones we have men running in.  What can we do?  Frank, you look like you have an idea…”

GOP Ad E1: “It is brilliant, sir.  So we know that the only reason Obama won the chick vote is because he’s a smooth talking rich guy who also taps into female desire.  Women know he is rich enough to take care of them, and while his I.Q. would normally be a turn off, he’s half black so he still has that animal side, that danger side….”

GOP Ad E2: “What Frank is trying to say, sir, is that chicks voted for Obama cause he gives them all the positives of a white guy, while still swinging 12.”

GOP Strat: “I think I see where you are going.  So we make an ad that implies Obama is a shitty boyfriend.  That he leaves the toilet seat up, goes to sleep 10 seconds after sex, spends all his time drinking with his friends, and all that kind of shit.  Should we try to compare him to Ray Rice while we’re at it?”

Both GOP Ad Execs together: “NO!”

GOP Ad E2: “For fucks sake sir, what are you trying to do, have the Democrats win every race?  Compare Obama to Rice and the Dems take the House.”

GOP Strat: “I am confused.  Why would comparing Obama to a domestic abuser get the democrats votes?”

GOP Ad E1: “Bitches be crazy.”

GOP Ad E2: “They love that shit.  Especially from a black man.  It adds to the sense of danger and shows them that their man isn’t a pussy.”

GOP Ad E1: “But the rest of your idea is good.  We’ll paint him as a horrible boyfriend, a guy any chick would be dying to get away from.  We will capitalize on the Ray Rice thing though, we can throw in a line about how Obama would have just stood there and took all that shit from Janay.”

GOP Ad E2: “No, scrap that part.  We can’t be sure it won’t backfire.  After all, “

All three, at once: “Bitches be crazy.”

GOP Strat: “Hey, make sure the bimbo in the ad can pass for a spicy latina minx.  We’re losing the Hispanic vote as well.”

However the strategy session actually went, Salon has the story on the ad campaign that resulted:

Republicans are relieved that so far, there’s no Todd Akin in the 2014 election cycle. Yet even without a clueless GOP candidate blathering about “legitimate rape,” the party still trails Democrats among women voters, even in races that feature female GOP candidates, and it could cost them a chance to take back the Senate. So Americans for Shared Prosperity is riding to the rescue with an ad so condescending to women it might have been made by Todd Akin. It rivals that “Creepy Uncle Sam” ad that backfired on the Koch brothers’ Generation Opportunity.

In the 60-second spot, which ran on the Sunday shows as well as reportedly in Colorado and North Carolina, a lovely, latte-skinned young woman in a pink shirt and pearls is sitting on her white sofa, complaining about a man she met online: “In 2008, I fell in love. His online profile made him seem so perfect. Smart, handsome, charming, articulate.” We see her MacBook screen, and there he is: the cad she calls “Barack,” President Obama.

Yes, admaker Rick Wilson and Americans for Shared Prosperity believe the way to convince women to vote for Republicans is to compare the president to a bad boyfriend. Obviously they think we’re idiots who put romance before reason, even in politics.

Naturally it diminishes Obama, too: Our first black president is just another pair of pants, a smooth-talking liar who let us down. But hell, he is kind of cute, which is obviously why he won the women’s vote over John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Oh, and he’s also “articulate.”

The ad is clearly targeting the most loyal Democratic constituency: College-educated and unmarried women voters who may or may not be white. (Barack’s soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend could be Latina.) Creepily, the language makes it sound like not merely an unhappy relationship but an abusive one. He’s spying on her emails and text messages — an NSA reference, I guess – and she only “stuck with him because he promised he’d be better.”

But don’t worry: They try to get some politics in there, too. “He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control, but he won’t even let me keep my own doctor,” the fed-up woman tells us.

The ad is linked to in that quote.  Watch it, sigh, and wonder what happened to our political system.  A bit of commentary from Salon:

Maybe the worst thing about the ad is that its sponsors are utterly clueless about how demeaning it is. John Jordan, the wealthy California winery owner who runs Americans for Shared Prosperity, told Politico that the group’s goal is “to communicate with women voters in a way that outside groups and campaigns haven’t.” Well, they’ve certainly accomplished that. But then he went on. “The purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults than either Democrats or Republicans have.”

If this is what they come up with when they’re treating us “more like adults” – I guess Jordan didn’t actually say “like adults” – imagine what they’d do if they were treating us like children?

While not every woman (or man) will find the ad insulting, I agree with Salon’s Joan Walsh’s suggestion for the worst thing about the ad.  I can see this ad being suggested.  I can even see a small group thinking it was a good idea, even if that group included a woman.  But at some point, someone had to realize a large portion of the exact group they are trying to win with the ad, intelligent, moderate, single women, would find the ad demeaning and insulting, with its tactic of using “girl stuff” like relationship issues rather than just talking to the audience like they are politically interested, intelligent, moderate single women.  So either the people responsible for creating an ad campaign targeting moderate single women is so out of touch with their intended audience that they didn’t realize a portion of them would be immediately turned off by the ad, or they simply didn’t care that their ad would offend a portion of the very audience they are trying to reach.

I’m not sure which would be worse.

Perhaps the GOP will realize someday soon that the way to win women voters is by supporting policies that women agree with.  When you are against the Violence Against Women Act, against any legislation dealing with the depressingly still with us problem of income inequality between the sexes, so against abortion that you have traveled into the realm of valuing the life of the fetus far more than the life of the mother, while double-talking enough about birth control that people are starting to actually worry that the GOP would try to ban contraception if they ever had both the Presidency and the Congress, it is going to take far more than an ad campaign, any ad campaign, to tilt the scales enough to matter.

Try backing away from the more misogynistic elements of your base, while telling the fading members of the “contraception is holding an aspirin between your knees” generation that time has passed them by, and they should keep quiet for the good of the party.  Advance policies that actually benefit women, or that are at least not openly antagonistic to a majority of the population, and your results will dwarf any ad campaign.  Especially one as insulting as this.

After that we can start dealing with your problems with…..well, everyone who isn’t an angry white male.


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