Nel's New Day

April 14, 2014

GOP Continue Bashing Women

Equal Pay Day, the day of the year that marks the additional time women need to work in order to match men’s pay the previous year, usually goes by with not much attention. Most people probably don’t even know that it happens. Not so this year, partly because of the Paycheck Fairness Act that failed in the Senate with 54 votes. The mere thought of equal pay released a firestorm of negative reactions from conservatives. These are some responses to gender equity pay from the far-right:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “[The Democrats just want to blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.” It’s all part of the Dems’ “never-ending political road show.” [Is that what he’ll say when he runs against a woman this fall—if he wins his contested primary?]

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “This whole thing is really backfiring on the administration and on our Democratic friends because people are seeing it for what it is: It’s a transparent political campaign. It isn’t actually about solving problems, because the law of the land is already paycheck equity.” [No, it isn’t.]

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS): “[The bill is] “condescending . . . Some folks don’t understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it.” [Translation: My pay is equal. Why should I care about anyone else.]

GOP Senate hopeful from Michigan Terri Lynn Land: “Well, we all like to be paid more and that’s great. But the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentists’ appointments, doctors’ appointments all those kinds of things, and they’re more interested in flexibility in a job than pay.” [And she expects women to vote for her?]

RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski: On a television talk show, she couldn’t manage to answer a question about what pay equity policies her party would support. [Probably because there aren’t any.]

Fox stalwart Bill O’Reilly: “I’m not buying this inequality business.” [No, but the women do.]

Another Fox … Megyn Kelly: “Now they think you’re anti-woman if you question that meme about equal pay.” [The position of a woman who Sheryl Sandberg, busy touting her new business-friendly book Lean In for Graduates, calls a “good friend.”]

Executive director of the Texas Republican Party Beth Cubriel: Women will get better pay when they learn to negotiate like men. [Then they’ll be called bitches.]

Leader of Red State Women Cari Cristman: Women are too busy to need equal pay laws.  [They might have more time if they received equal pay.]

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): Avoiding reference to gender equity pay, he wants Democrats to “put the politics aside” and talk with Republicans about “things that we can do together, things that disproportionately impact women, without playing politics.” [As if the pay gap doesn’t “disproportionately impact women”!]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): His budget, just passed in the House by all except 12 Republicans disproportionately cut women’s benefits. [There’s that “disproportionately” again!]

Host of Fox Business, Melissa Francis, has the most bizarre rationale for women being paid less. For her, the gender pay gap is positive because women were better able to keep their jobs during the recession than men. To her, the less that women make, the better off they are. She’s even wrong with her belief that women kept their jobs because they get paid less. The recession hurt men more because jobs in the male arena were more likely to disappear. The rapidly-growing service industry employs a large number of women whereas manufacturing, mining, logging, and construction hire more men. And Francis is the host of a business program!

Republicans have found other ways to drive women away from the GOP:

Charles Murray, education advisor to GOP Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, said he has found no “evidence” to prove that any woman had been a “significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.” In his speech at the University of Texas, Murray also declared that women’s brains are smaller than men’s. Like most other Texas Republicans, he thinks that the gender pay gap is a “myth.” Abbott is now avoiding the press.

George Bush’s CIA director Michael Hayden, disturbed because the committee led by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) approved the release of a report on U.S. torture of prisoners, referred to her as “emotional.” He was talking about a report, passed 11-3, that he hasn’t seen and that is well supported by documents about the “interrogation techniques.”

The Florida House considers words such as “uterus” to be “inappropriate” language for young interns, who were all sent out of the chamber while the Republicans discussed more draconian measures against women’s reproductive rights. The teenagers were allowed back in to hear about “bleeding chest wounds” during a discussion on guns.

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), caught kissing his aide six weeks after his election last fall, solved his problem by firing her. Married for 16 years with five children, the highly religious man plans to stick it out for the fall election despite opposition from his governor, Bobby Jindal, and the leader of the state GOP. On the other hand, the GOP stuck by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) who was re-elected after he admitted “serious sins” with hookers.

Detroit News’ editorial page editor and columnist, Nolan Finley, wrote about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schnauer’s running mate, Lisa Brown. “She’s still milking the vagina business and is a minor celebrity among feminists.”

The GOP has one solution to help women get more money: marry a wealthy man. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research called “Marry Your Like: Mating and Income Inequality” places the blame for the ongoing increase of inequality on “assertive mating,” the tendency of similar people marrying each other. Their conclusion is that extreme income inequality will only grow worse because people with similar incomes marry each other. The paper does skip the disappearance of the middle class from lower wages and lack of job access and policies that favor the top one percent. Women should just marry up.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) also believe–wrongly–that marriage makes women wealthier. Ralph Reed makes it even simpler. His solution is to stop making divorce so easy.

The GOP also has a new initiative to attract women voters, the “14 in ‘14.”  The Republican National Committee wants to recruit and train women under 40 to talk about the GOP message in the last 14 weeks of its campaign. Candidates should put their wives and children in their advertising, make sure that women attend their events, and establishing a database of women who will campaign for them. The project started with “Project GROW”—which didn’t—in which the GOP would recruit women candidates for Congress. With fewer GOP women running this year than in 2012, the women will be the wives in the television commercials.

According to a CNN poll, 55 percent of people, including 59 percent of women, think that the GOP doesn’t understand women’s problems in current times. In addition to opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act, Republicans refuse to consider a hike in minimum wage. The GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which helps far more women than men.

Because of the GOP, both in their policies and the way that they have forced Democrats to the right, the United States is #23 in the world behind Barundi and Lesotho. This information comes from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report that “examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.” Of the 110 countries in every report since the initial report in 2006, 95 have shown improvement over the last four years. Globally, women are living longer and healthier, gaining more access to education, and participating more in political decision making.

One state is trying to make a difference for women and families. The Minnesota House has passed Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) on to the Senate despite a complaint from one GOP member who said it make women look as if they were “whining.” The bill improves parental leave, affordable childcare, gender pay gap, retirement security, and economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. It’s not a done deal, but it’s a start.

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