Nel's New Day

August 10, 2015

Ignore Trump, Watch What the Other Candidates Do against Women

The media’s obsession with Donald Trump spread throughout the Sunday morning talk shows (formerly “news” shows). Chuck Todd spend half of Meet the Press on Trump and the other half with Marco Rubio and John Kasich (the second time in two weeks). When Todd asked both of them about Trump, Rubio refused to take the bait, but Kasich spent some more time on Trump.

RNC Reince Priebus cancelled his performance on one of these Sunday shows. He may have been embarrassed about trying to rig the GOP debates, eliminating one of MSNBC because he was afraid any stridency, and ending up with the fiasco last Thursday.

The debate highlighted Trump’s sexist attitudes and that his companies have declared bankruptcies. Litttle of the media points out is that most of the other GOP candidates are as, if not more, dismissive of women and beholden to billionaires with the same money ethics as Trump.

Erick Erickson disinvited Trump from an event for GOP presidential candidates in Atlanta, but Jeb Bush was there to pronounce Erickson “on the side of women.” Erickson called the first day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, featuring women speakers, as the “Vagina Monologues.”

Trump was disinvited, according to Erickson, because he overstepped the line of “decency.” Erickson’s rhetoric has gone so far overboard that he called retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat f—ing child molester.” In 2013, Erickson told Kelly that women are scientifically inferior to men, and “women as primary breadwinners does make raising children harder, increasing the likelihood of harm in the development of children.” Other Erickson comments:

 

  • “Hillary Clinton “Is Going To Be Old” In 2016, “I Don’t Know How Far Back They Can Pull Her Face.”
  • (About NOW): “The NAG gang, as the godfather of radio Rush Limbaugh would call them, the National Association of Gals. They are the angry ones. Angry in their unibrows.”
  • (About the female CEO of IBM denied admittance to the Augusta National Golf Club): “Who cares that she wasn’t invited into the club? She’s a woman. Women aren’t allowed.”
  • “There is no reason” [for anyone to study women or Gender in college] unless they want to be a professional victim.”

After Erickson called Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie,” Fox’s Greta Van Susteren called him a “creep” and a “repeat offender” with a “pattern of being disrespectful to women.”

Some of Bush’s ideas of his being “on the side of women”:

  • As former Florida governor, he tried to appoint a legal guardian for a fetus of a disabled woman who was raped in a state facility.
  • He has made derogatory comments about single women.
  • One of his laws was to shame unmarried women who chose to give their children up for adoption by requiring that personal information, including the names of all the woman’s sexual partners, be published in the media.
  • Bush said,  “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

After picking their candidates through questioning during the debate, Fox is now “editing” its transcripts to make Bush look more appealing to women. They don’t show the question that Kelly asked Bush about his membership on the board of the Bloomberg Family Foundation which donated $50 million to groups—including Planned Parenthood—to expand reproductive health services throughout the world. Fox has also not shown that piece in its clips on the debate.

Abortion is definitely shaping up as a major issue in the 2016 election as it did four years ago with attempts to define different “levels” of rape. Scott Walker answered a question about whether he would let a woman who needed an abortion die by saying it would never happen because of “alternatives.” Doctors disagree with him.

All Fox-approved GOP candidates must not support any abortions, and Marco Rubio has fallen in line with the mandate. In 2013, he agreed with an exception for rape or incest, but now he repeats the position that “all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws.” He talks about the usefulness of the “morning-after” medication although he supports restriction on women’s access to contraception. Like Walker, he thinks that no woman could die if she doesn’t get an abortion.

Ohio governor, John Kasich, is sometimes described as the most “moderate” of the candidates, but he mandated medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds, to be paid for by the patient, before a woman may have an abortion in his state. He also put a gag rule on state-funded rape crisis centers, prohibiting them from discussing abortion options with victims.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee once said that it’s “a statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death.” (It isn’t.) He considers state support for birth control as the worst kind of government paternalism because women should be able to control their libidos without help. Huckabee believes in “personhood,” rights for fertilized eggs, using the “unborn child’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.”

Rand Paul introduced a bill in 2013 supporting Huckabee’s belief that would have protected the rights of fertilized eggs under the 14th Amendment. In college, he and a friend kidnapped and blindfolded a female student and tried to force her to take hits off a bong. His record also includes sexist media about Hillary Clinton. According to Paul, “income inequality is due to some people working harder and selling more things.” He doesn’t mention women—none of them do—but he insinuates that women would make more money if they just worked harder. Paul, like Rubio, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012 and the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.

Ted Cruz also voted against the Violence Against Women Act and claims that oral contraception causes abortions. Not only trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he also has fought against the Act’s contraceptive mandate for free contraception in employees’ insurance for their workers.

While attacking Trump about his sexist remarks, Kelly neglected to ask Chris Christie about such comments to women who asked about jobs “going down”: “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”

Carly Fiorina, the one woman in a field of 17 who is rapidly rising from the “second-tier,” opposes abortion and access for birth control. Like her male opponents, she opposes raising the minimum wage, important for more women than men.

The GOP candidates have avoided talking about women whenever discussing pregnancy. Five of the candidates are U.S. senators who work to block all abortions past 20 weeks but mention only the fetus. They pretend that women don’t exist. The candidates also ignore voting rights—or lack of rights—that disproportionately affects women, income equality with men on the top, health care—except to eliminate health care for the poor and women, etc.

The GOP candidates are far more dangerous to women than Donald Trump because they try to hide their disgust for women’s rights by professing to love fetuses. How successful they are with 53 percent of the population will become clear in the next 15 months. As the “autopsy” of the 2012 election stated:

“Republicans would need to be more inclusive of women, be more tolerant on gay rights to gain favor with young voters, support comprehensive immigration reform to appeal to Latinos and stand strong against ‘corporate malfeasance.’”

In the first debate, GOP candidates failed on the first three and were only concerned about the possibility of Donald Trump’s “corporate malfeasance.”

Presidential candidates have not received a majority of women voters since 1988 when George H.W. Bush brought in just 51 percent of the female vote. Overall, women have had a higher voter turnout than men in every presidential election for 35 years.

In her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood segregates society by class and gender with social status determined by fertility and sexual productivity. In the Republic of Gilead, “aunts” join to oppress other women. Men are in control, women are chattel, and abortion is banned. This is the dream of the GOP presidential candidates.

While the media is paying attention to what Donald Trump says about women, the rest of the country should pay attention to what the remaining 16 candidates do against women.

April 9, 2012

Women Aren’t Caterpillars

The war continues. Mitt Romney keeps saying that women are interested in the economy. Finally I agree with him. But he, like all other Republican conservatives, try to separate the economy from their legislation against women in the economy.

The most recent example is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signing the bill that rolls back the state Equal Pay Law that offered protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, etc.—and gender. Glenn Grothman, co-sponsor of the bill, thinks that women don’t need money the way that men do. “You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.” He’s overlooked the fact that 40 percent of women voters aren’t married.

Male conservative legislators opposing providing birth control for women use that key word “dependency,” a handy-dandy term showing how bad the safety net is. According to Michael Steele, former RNC chairman, government should not support women because then it would take over the role of husband and father. (Yes, I’m still shaking my head over that argument. Read it for yourself!) This follows Sen. Jim DeMint’s claim that the president wants to make people more dependent so that they will vote Democratic. According to Santorum and Steele, men who don’t have women dependent on them won’t be responsible to their children, their wives, and even themselves.

Mitt Romney has said “the issue that women care most about is the economy. They’re concerned about high gasoline prices, the cost of getting to and from work.” Romney doesn’t understand that women without birth control may not have jobs because they will be pregnant and then responsible for babies. The same with getting an education, useful in raising their wages and improving the economy. Women are also worried about whether they can live on their wages, even more of a problem if Republicans pass laws allowing men to be paid more than women.

Republicans have always had trouble getting women to vote for them; their recent actions are making this worse. Last week’s USA Today/Gallup Poll of voters in 12 swing states showed President Obama leading women by 18 percentage points—up 20 points from a month ago.

Both political parties hope that their sins will be forgotten by Election Day so that they can persuade voters with a fresh slate. The Republicans keep repeating their anti-women legislation. Last year, the first three votes of the triumphant Tea Party swarm in Congress were anti-abortion. This year, they continued to arguing about whether birth control should be covered as health care, a discussion that they consider more important than the eminent demise of the transportation authorization bill. Most women have noted Rick Santorum’s complaint that birth control allows lifestyles that are not “how things are supposed to be.” Of course, there’s also the infamous House committee panel on birth control with only men. Women are also concerned because of the Republicans’ determination to defund Planned Parenthood.

Where in the nation are women the worst off? In the states where they lack affordable hgher education, reproductive health care, and representation in Congress. And by coincidence in the South. Approximately 20 percent of women live in poverty in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Kentucky. West Virginia is the only state in the nation that doesn’t give women the right to breast-feed in either public or private places. The state also joins Arkansas in having a median income under $30,000. One-fourth of the population in both Arkansas and Oklahoma lack health insurance.

Missouri is following Arizona’s lead with its bill that permits employees to deny insurance coverage for birth control pills unless employees prove that the pills are used for a “medical need.” The Missouri House passed a bill permitting health care workers from participating in anything that conflicts with their conscience.

National Review columnist John Derbyshire has a new book, The Case Against Women’s Suffrage, that declares the United States would be a better country if women could not vote. It’s  “bad for conservatism” and therefore “bad for society.” Countries that rank the highest in the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index (aka the most gender equality) tend to also rank the highest on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. Possibly conservativism and gender inequality is “bad for society.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has tried to diffuse the Republican problem with women by pointing out that the war on women is as mythical as a war on caterpillars. As David Sarasohn pointed out today in his column in The Oregonian, “In most states, caterpillars don’t vote.” Women comprise over half the number of people in the United States, and they vote at a higher rate than men do.

While male Republicans claim there is no war on women, that it’s all about religious freedom, female Republicans know this is a war on women’s rights. If high-profile Republican women such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are angry at their party for attacking women, it stands to reason that conservative women across the nation are also angry. President Obama said that women are not a special interest group. Women are half of the American population, and any party that attacks them risks political extinction.

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