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Let's say you're a Republican Senate candidate who says states should have the right to ban contraceptives, with your big nod to reproductive rights being that you refuse to say if you think your own state should ban contraceptives. Let's further say that, under your leadership of the state legislature, your party sneaked a host of anti-abortion provisions onto a motorcycle safety bill. So basically, let's say you're North Carolina's Thom Tillis. And, in your U.S. Senate race, facing a Democratic woman, you're going to face some war on women charges. Quick: How does your campaign respond?
“The left has been talking about a “war on women” for a couple of cycles now,” said Jordan Shaw, Tillis’ campaign manager. “It’s designed for the media and not grounded in reality and it’s based on scare tactics.”
Yes, your campaign mansplains that, despite your extensive record of taking positions and passing bills that hurt women, the idea that you are bad for women is just some kind of hysterical nonsense. Presumably, as your campaign manager is trying to sell the notion that there's no such thing as the war on women and never has been and Republican candidates are in absolutely no danger because of it, the campaign has a prayer circle going in the back room focused on the prayer that the media won't, in response, say the name Todd Akin.
Of course, since Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has a five-point lead in the latest polling, you might need more than that. So:
“We’ve got to do a better job communicating a message that female voters respond to and you do that by talking about the economy and family budgets and things that far left Democrats in Washington forget,” Shaw said. “Rather than have a rhetoric filled race using catchy phrases, we are going to talk about how the Obama-Reid-Hagan agenda has made it tougher for women across the country to find jobs, affordable health care, and educational options for their kids.”
Great, let's talk about family budgets! Thom Tillis is incredibly squirrelly on the minimum wage and thinks that raising it is "a decision that legislature needs to make with businesses." Or let's talk about affordable health care! More than half a million people in North Carolina are being denied health care because the state—with Tillis as speaker of the state House, remember—refused Medicaid expansion. During his primary campaign, Tillis bragged about his role in that. And aside from Medicaid, Tillis refuses to say which parts of Obamacare he'd keep and which ones he'd repeal.
Even when the Tillis campaign tries to change the subject and make him look good for women, it fails. Guess maybe the war on women is less of a media scare tactic than they're claiming.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:17 AM PDT.