Recently, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called out Republicans for their "war on women." House Republican women have a response to that, which boils down to, "Nuh-uh!" Or to be precise, "We are not attacking women. We are women."
Schultz had declared that "the war on women that the Republicans have been waging since they took over the House, I think is not only going to restore but help us exceed the president's margin of victory in the next election." Nancy Pelosi used similar language.
Still, the White House communications director recently squirmed when asked directly if he thought there was a war on women. The best he could manage was, "The war on women is not a phrase the president has used."
So yeah, the White House is trying to stay above the fray regarding an issue it likely wishes would go away and the ladies in the House can use attack-dog language. In the meantime, the Republican-controlled House is busily passing as many anti-choice bills as it can get away with and sneaking whatever it can into the actual budget, while their counterparts in statehouses around the country run roughshod over women's health and choices.
But! But! Some freshmen congressional reps are women. (29 of them in the House, compared to 64 Democratic congresswomen.) Thus, their response to the "war on women" rhetoric was an evening of speeches on the House floor Tuesday announcing, "I am a Republican women."
This was preceded by a mostly fluffy curtain-raiser; Politico noted their "Rosie-the-Riveter vibe" and fondness for cowboy boots, trucks, and tractors. The reporter did ask a few of them if they're feminists, a word which they were more reluctant than Sarah Palin to embrace. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler said she's "pro-woman, just like I'm pro-family, just like I'm pro-man." Rep. Diana Black said, "I can tell you I'm not a feminist; I respect both the male and the female perspective. The creator made us different for a reason, and both of those perspectives are important." Then she added, "It's just important that we have more females here, on committees and subcommittees representing our perspective. Our numbers to need to grow so we can reflect that balance." Not a feminist, huh?
Remarkably, Politico's three-page piece scarcely mentions why others might question these women's commitment to helping women, whether they use the F-word or not. That would be their party's opposition to women's health services — including the very real impact of the drive to defund Planned Parenthood — and ever-hardening commitment to limiting women's choices regarding abortion, not to mention supporting budget cuts that disproportionately hurt women. Even a direct question from home-team cheerleader Greta Van Susteren on abortion rights was evaded.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think some think the GOP has been not the party for women? Is it abortion issue?
NOEM: There's been a lot of spin in the past. A lot of times the women that were speaking like to spin the facts to make it seem we were anti-women when the Republican Party has always stood up for men and women and equal opportunity and the fact that we all care about the great things of this country. So perhaps we've let them spin this too long and we are pushing back.
There has been a lot of spin! We personally prefer the take of EMILY's List's Jess McIntosh, who told Politico that Republicans clearly noticed the impact Democrats have when female politicians talk about women. But something gets lost in translation:
"But one of the reasons why that was so powerful is because it was women standing up to the anti-woman policies of a party of men. That's compelling. Women speaking on behalf of the anti-woman policies of a party of men just doesn't deliver the same punch."
Funny how that works.
GOP Freshman Women Go On Offense [Politico]
GOP Women Defend Party Against 'Anti-Women' Charge [AP]
GOP: We're Pro-Woman Because We're Pro-Business [Political Correction]