By Arthur Christopher Schaper
The Democratic Party’s War on Women rhetoric has hit epic fail levels. From the conservative Republican women running for office, to the ongoing allegations and confirmations of Democratic lawmakers behaving badly toward women (Bob Filner of San Diego, Anthony Weiner of New York, John Edwards of North Carolina), and now outright ridicule from American audiences to inflammatory rhetoric, like DCCC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s claims against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
The rejection was loud and clear in this debate between Democratic Martha Robertson and Republican incumbent Tom Reed, who are fighting for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, Robertson tried to play the gender card one more time, with guffaws and boos coming from the crowd in response.
Like the race card, this political attack is losing salience, and is turning into a Democratic punch line for how disheveled their campaigns have become.
Congressman Reed, you’re part of the war against women. You’ve supported. . .
Then laughter breaks up her comments. She had to ask the moderator for more time.
Your support of continued wage discrimination against women, by blocking the paycheck fairness Act. You voted against women’s right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest. You voted to give employers the right to decide about their employees’ birth control. You’ve been a mayor and a bill collector. You’re a lawyer and a Washington politician. Please tell me what gives you the medical expertise to make these decisions for women?
One has to ask what expertise Ms. Robertson has to ask these questions or answer them, besides the fact that she is a woman. Most women do not see a doctor just because of their gender, last time I checked.
Congressman Reed’s answers were bold and respectful:
You know as I hear this question, Martha I have to say. . it’s false.
That is all it takes: tell the truth, and indict these hollow attacks for what they are: false.
It’s false. This is political rhetoric at its worst. I have eight older sisters. I had a single mother. What I’m trying to do is that I will stand for women.
Bam! Reed personalized himself for the audience. He has lived with women, eight sisters, plus grew up in a family without a dad. Robertson starts to look like a wicked bully herself.
When people have questions about equal pay, and there’s a discriminatory act out there, and someone’s not paying someone because of their gender. You’re darn right. They should go to jail!
The liberal cat-call of equal pay for equal work is an empty affront. There are plenty of laws protecting employees. The reason why some women make less is that they work less or they go on leave for other reasons, like raising a family.
They should be penalized. I will stand and fight for that as we have always stood and fought for equal treatment under the law. That’s the right thing to do, and we’re going to continue to do it.
Exactly. Tom Reed did the right thing by not running from this issue, but answering in head-on.
But my opponent wants to go forward and bring up this issue of war on women. It’s just not accurate. It’s just not the truth. We want to make sure that there are opportunities. One of the things I have heard in these town halls, as I’ve traveled around the district and heard from people, and listened to women in particular, is that they’re worried about the future of their kids.
Instead of pretending to fight for women on such limited issues like birth-control, Reed listened to voters and respected them and their concerns: the future of their children. Bringing up the next generation makes Robertson look narrow-minded and selfish.
My wife and I talk about the future for our kids in Westchester, so that they can call it home. This is what we should be focusing on. That kids, that mothers of their kids can make sure that they have the best opportunities to succeed in America. I believe in the American Dream. It’s what I was raised on, and I will continue to be committed to it.
It’s about freedom. It’s about opportunity. Not birth control, not abortion, not wage discrimination.
And engaging in rhetoric, “the war on women” is offensive and just not accurate.
This line is very important. Republicans need to shame their opponents, male or female, who lie with this “war on women” nonsense. It’s offensive. Yes! Insulting to people’s intelligence, especially for women, who are concerned about many things. It’s not accurate. Exactly, and Reed explained from personal as well as political experience why.
Most importantly it’s false, and Congressman Reed was not afraid to say so.
This response, following the laughter and scorn from the audience in this debate, signals why the Democratic talking points about the war on women are failing, and Congressman Reed should be applauded (as the audience did) for punching back at the lies and establishing the truth of his campaign and his party.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.