Today Ed Kilgore summarizes Sean Trende’s analyses suggesting that the GOP can forget minority outreach, deep-six the immigration bill with impunity, and win elections from now until 2040 with the white vote alone. However, if the GOP does decide that more rather than less racial polarization is the way to go, they’ll need every white vote that they can get. Sadly, there’s evidence that their policy positions on social issues are turning off younger white voters and white women, two groups with whom they’ll need to do a little better if they’re to realize success with the whites-only strategy.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus seems to have decided to work on roping those wandering female voters back into the GOP corral. Evidence? Today marked the announcement of the formation of a Women on the Right UNITE project:
This Friday, six Republican committees will come together to launch “Women on the Right UNITE” – a joint project to promote the recruitment of and support for Republican women and women candidates – at a press conference in Washington. The committees include the Republican National Committee, Republican Governors Association, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican State Leadership Committee, and College Republican National Committee. Each committee will announce substantive plans to promote the role of women within the party and encourage more women to get involved and run for office.
According to the Atlantic Wire, Republicans claim to be concerned that only 8% of the GOP members in the House of Representatives are women – and, of course, they also want to figure out how to present “a more streamlined and packaged message about why Republican policies are beneficial to women.” Don’t laugh. After all, if the GOP and its corporate allies can persuade a significant number of Americans that man-made climate change is a hoax, they just might pull this off.
Among the nine elected women from the House of Representatives who will be talking up women in the GOP as part of the project will be Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2). Wonder why not Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4)? Could it be that she and some of the remaining ten GOP women in the House might not have mastered the “nicer language” with which the GOP hopes female officials like Wagner will cloak the party’s anti-women policies? Could it be that she cuts a little too close to the fringewing home to be a safe participant in a PR effort to disguise the GOP war on women? I am assuming that the candidate for the “new Michele Bachmann” is not what Priebus wants out front.
It is worth noting, though, that women have actually been out front in the GOP for awhile and it hasn’t done the party much good when it comes creating distance from the war on women rhetoric:
In fact, Republican women have been involved in lots of controversies that helped portray the GOP as anti-woman. Reps. Diane Black and Marsha Roby have sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Rep. Michele Bachmann portrayed Texas’s requirement that teens get an HPV vaccination – it prevents cervical cancer – as some kind of weird sex thing: “And to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong.” That famous Virginia bill that would have required transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions last year? It was sponsored by a woman, Del. Kathy J. Byron. Byron defended the transvaginal ultrasound requirement, saying, “if we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have.”
While it will be interesting to see if the GOP can obfuscate and confuse women about what they really stand for, Republican women are still Republicans – and that includes Ann Wagner. When push comes to shove, there won’t be a hair’s breadth between the way Wagner and Hartzler perform.