This week, the Republican Party had its big chance to prove that despite all evidence to the contrary, they love women. Love 'em! They've been telling us for months that they are the party for women, that Mitt Romney is the women's candidate, and that obviously women voters will flock to Mitt (once they stop flocking to Obama) because they realize it's the Democrats who are really waging a war on women, and it's the Republicans who will save them.
So yeah. How'd that work out? Find out below the fold.
- Right off the bat:
An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM.
- The convention also featured the YG Network’s Woman Up! Pavilion, run by Mary Anne Carter, where women were encouraged to stop by for "hair & makeup touch up at our on-sight salon." Irin Carmon interviewed Carter, who told her, "I ignore a lot of stuff men say when it comes to women’s issues." Even this good Republican woman thinks the men in her own party are full of it. But then, being a good Republican woman, Carter toed the party line anyway:
She says the key is women talking to women in ways women can relate to. "They tend to talk analytically," she says of men. "You hear facts and figures, sometimes you have to break that down to what it means to you personally."Yes, because women don't really understand those manly "facts and figures," so they need to have someone explain things to them, preferably with small words that ladybrains can process. Which may be true for Carter, it seems:
As for the “war on women,” Carter retorts, “I would say the current economic standing of the United States is a war on women. I would think that the current healthcare bill that may or may not be repealed — I don’t want to call it ‘Obamacare’ but I can’t remember the name of it — is potentially a serious war on women, allowing women to make their own healthcare choices.”Ah yes. That health care bill Carter thinks is so bad for women—you know, that one she doesn't know the name of—is the real war on women because it allows women to make their own choices. And we certainly can't have that, can we?
- The first evening of the convention was touted as Ladies Night, during which many lady Republicans would speak to ladies, about ladies, to prove that Republicans don't actually hate ladies. However, as Ben Adler noted:
Many of the other women speakers, such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-WA), simply did not mention women at all. Rather they stuck to the evening’s message of “We built it,” a rejoinder to the apocryphal quote by President Obama that business owners didn’t build their companies.
But that's hardly surprising, given that these same women have been telling us for months that real women don't care about things like equal pay or health care. Nikki Haley, for example, said in April, "Women don’t care about contraception. They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all of those things." She followed that up, moments later, with a clarification: "All we’re saying is we don’t want government to mandate when we have to have it and when we don’t. We want to be able to make that decision, we don’t need any government making that decision for us."
So was there any mention, at the RNC, of protecting women's rights to make their own health care decisions? No, of course not.
- The Republican Party did make its position on women's rights perfectly clear, however, with its official platform:
Republicans drafting their party's official policy platform on Tuesday ratified a call for a Constitutional ban on abortion that makes no exceptions for rape or incest.Yeah, that's what we call the Todd Akin/Paul Ryan position on abortion: You'll have that baby, you slut, even if it kills you. No, you don't get a choice. Yes, the government will be making that decision for you. Because life and freedom!
That's a platform, by the way, that our polling this week proved had overwhelming opposition among even conservatives. Way to woo the ladies.
- Ann Romney's big speech that first night was supposed to be—according to the Romney campaign—the turning point for her husband's campaign, the moment during which all Americans, but especially Lady-Americans, would realize Mitt's a great guy after all and just because he's promised to get rid of our health care and isn't sure how he feels about equal pay, well, we'll come around to him anyway. It didn't work out that way, though. Ann's speech was a disaster.
- The rest of the convention didn't go any better. The party doesn't have many prominent women in it, but even among those slim pickings, few were featured at the convention. Sen. Kelly Ayotte was the only woman senator to speak. Where were Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski and Kay Bailey Hutchison? Who knows? Condoleezza Rice was there, but Sarah Palin, far and away the biggest lady star in the party—not to mention, ahem, the starburst-inspiring VP candidate just four years ago—was quite pointedly not invited to appear for fear she would embarrass them. Too bad they didn't consider the optics of Clint Eastwood losing a debate with an empty chair.
- The final night was Mitt's chance to show his love for the ladies. That went about as well for him as it went for his wife:
When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?”That's a really good question that Mitt Romney—who has supported a constitutional amendment to deprive women of their right to make their own decisions—should answer. But he didn't. Instead, he listed some names of women to show just how familiar he is with the subject of women:
I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.Nothing like reading a list of names to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the problems women face in this country. But in case that failed to persuade, Mitt also assured us that some of his best friends are women:
As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.And yet, despite all those women Mitt knows and loves, last week, his campaign was unable to find "an appropriate spokesperson" to talk about women. Shocking, isn't it?
This week Republicans had an opportunity to prove us wrong, to prove that hostility toward women and an aggressive anti-woman legislative agenda isn't really what they're all about. They failed. They failed epically. Instead, they confirmed what we already knew: The Republican Party really is the anti-woman party.