It should come as no surprise that the Generals who created the War on Women (and play it the way teenage nerds rock a good game of Dungeons and Dragons) are courting single women in advance of the upcoming election season. In response, Peter Wehner offered up some otherwise yawn-inducing advice on how Republicans can attract women, albeit for one substantial suggestion:
…giving more prominent public roles to responsible women in the party (for example, Kelly Ayotte and Cathy McMorris Rodgers).
The two names were also mentioned in the Real Clear Politics commentary on the Republican struggle with women:
Two governors, in particular — New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley — are frequently mentioned as vice-presidential material. Additionally, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers — who delivered the Republican response to the president’s 2014 State of the Union address — have also been singled out as solid national prospects.
But none of these women has begun to build the kind of fundraising network and political operation required to mount a serious bid for the Oval Office.
“I think there’s a high likelihood that issues women care about are going to be perceived as under-addressed by the Republican Party, but I don’t think we actually need female candidates to address issues that women care about,” said Hoover Institute fellow Kori Schake, who was a senior policy adviser on the McCain/Palin campaign. “We as a party don’t do a very good job of talking about the issues that are predominant for most women, and we don’t talk about it in a language that’s inviting.”
Far be it for a woman to correct your lousy verbiage. If anyone needed a chick for a wing man right now, it’s the Republican Party. But, as my PJ colleague Scott Ott was quick to point out, it’s not like the realm of politics has a real societal impact, anyway. Not like entertainment, a medium where Republican women like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin flourish as goddesses of the big and small screens. Ineffectual as the medium may be where enacting policy and law are concerned, “entertainment holds more promise for inclining the hearts of a people toward liberty.” That’s why Obama’s been able to enact fundamental changes to our healthcare and financial systems in less than 8 years, despite the fact that Rush Limbaugh’s been broadcasting for 26.
Perhaps Kelly, Cathy, Susana, and Nikki ought to take the tip, follow Palin’s lead, and give up trying to succeed on the wrong side of the camera. Or, perhaps not.
The Independent Women’s Forum, a PAC that’s been in existence since the 90’s, is finally getting some street cred with a GOP at a loss for how to court female voters. Joining the Pavlich chorus, IWF is broadcasting the message that Democrats are the ones waging a War on Women.
“The left drives me crazy sometimes on issues of gender, but they take it seriously,” says Schaeffer. “Our side has done so little to truly understand the way women are thinking and how to move women and change their behavior and to introduce new information to them. Our side needs far more investment in communicating with women at national, state and local levels.”
The IWF echoes the concern of a rising generation of Republican women who don’t dismiss feminism’s victim ideology lightly.
“One of my biggest frustrations with contemporary feminism today is that it has painted women as agency-less,” says Schaeffer, “as victims who are constantly in need of either government protection or who are always the underdog — rather than seeing women are accomplishing more than ever before and outpacing men professionally, financially.”
While IWF “doesn’t do candidate training” it does something the Republican Party fails to do: “build name recognition for female candidates.” Republicans are finally beginning to understand that women don’t want to be victims. Now they just need to comprehend that we don’t want to be goddesses, either.