Jeb Embraces The Republican War On Women
To be fair, none of the Republican presidential hopefuls have good planks on support for American families. Their misogyny is showing. And so is their fear that Trump will continue sucking up all the oxygen in the room with his bizarre right-wing pronouncements. Jeb strategy has been careening back and forth between trying to play the role of the vaguely mainstream adult in the room and trying, quite inauthentically, to get to the right of Trump.
Yesterday at the Southern Baptist Convention confab he was dismissive of all the money spent on women's health issues, not on the Planned Parenthood "atrocities," but specifically on women's health issues. Apparently it costs too much, even for someone trying to stake out the mainstream, to keep all these ladies healthy. Sam Stein of HuffPo sees it as Jeb's "Romney-esque problem of errant rhetorical missteps." He may be correct, but I see it as part of his half-baked political calculus, a strategy he hopes will take him to the White House, where, among other things, he says he plans to defund Planned Parenthood, which his grandpa Prescott Bush helped found. (UPDATE: Jeb now says he "misspoke." Watch the video above. Does he look like he's misspeaking?)
As Margaret Hartmann explained at New York Magazine, the Republican Party thinks there's political hay to be made by prosecuting their endless war on women. Normal people saw them lose their vote to defund Planned Parenthood on Monday. Republican strategists see it as setting up a government shutdown they'll try to blame on Obama or Hillary or any Democrat running for anything.
The Republican leadership doesn't seem interested in another shutdown debacle, but conservatives in the party are forcing the issue. Last week, 18 House Republicans wrote in a letter to leadership, "Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution-- an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution or otherwise-- that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams."
...While some Republicans have realized that threatening to shut down the government never works, the issue has already seeped into the 2016 race. Senator Ted Cruz, who provoked the 2013 shutdown that failed to destroy Obamacare, is leading the latest shutdown push, and fellow candidates senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio joined him in supporting Monday's procedural vote. (Senator Lindsey Graham wasn't present for the vote.) "We should use any and every procedural means we have available to end funding for Planned Parenthood," Cruz said. "It should be a very easy decision that taxpayer funds will not go to fund an ongoing criminal enterprise."
..."If this feels like a full-on assault on women's health, that's because it is," Clinton says. And if it feels like this election's battle over the Republican "War on Women" is going to be even bigger than it was in 2012, that's because it is.
All the Blue America-endorsed candidates-- for House and for Senate-- are on the other side of the barricades in the Republican war against women. In Ohio, Republican incumbent Rob Portman voted to defund Planned Parenthood and, bizarrely, is proud of his status as a warrior in the war against women. The Establishment conservative Democrat running against him, Ted Strickland, has been painting himself as a pro-women Democrat now, but when he was in Congress he was awarded a horrid anti-Choice 30% by NARAL. He voted twice, in 1999 and again in 2005, to restrict interstate transport of minors to get abortions and also voted twice, in 2000 and 2003, to ban what Republican sociopaths call "partial-birth abortions."
Last night progressive Senate candidate P.G. Sittenfeld told us that he would stand up for Ohio families as his top priority in the Senate.
From their refusal to support equal pay for equal work to their continuing obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood and controlling women's health care decisions, today's Republican Party is hopelessly stuck in the past. But women comprise half the electorate. And if Republicans aren't careful, they'll see the gender gap become a gender canyon.