Back in January of 2012, when George Stephanopoulos of ABC News asked GOP presidential candidates their thoughts on states banning women from using contraception, the question was met with total confusion. No one on stage at the Republican primary debate seemed to know what Stephanopoulos was talking about. Mitt Romney answered that he had never heard of a candidate, let alone a state, who wanted to do such a thing. Even very socially conservative candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, in interviews conducted after the debate, scoffed at the notion of a contraception ban.
Yes, the first shot in the Republican Party’s so-called ‘War on Women’ resulted in a dud. The Democratic Party, however, refused to give up on the political narrative they had clearly put a great deal of thought behind.
A month or two later, when Rush Limbaugh made some truly over-the-top comments about liberal activist Sandra Fluke and her crusade to force other people to pay for her birth control pills, Democrats saw it as a second opportunity to ignite the war they so desperately wanted.
It didn’t matter that Limbaugh’s repugnant rhetoric was no different than that routinely used by Bill Maher (Democratic Party darling and million-dollar donor for President Obama’s re-election) to describe Sarah Palin. The media and the DNC made Limbaugh’s remarks the embodiment of the Republican Party. Later, they did the same thing with Todd Akin after the U.S. senatorial candidate made his idiotic, nonsensical comment about “legitimate rape.” Again, it didn’t matter that the GOP denounced Akin, called for him to end his senate bid, and pulled their funding from his campaign. As far as the media was concerned, Akin was the Republican Party. They beat that narrative as hard as they could into the American electorate, and they made is stick.
Since then, the War on Women campaign strategy has continued to be wildly successful. It has shored up the unmarried, female vote for the Democratic Party with a media-substantiated theme of misogynistic Republicans, from the era of ‘Mad Men’, who want to ban birth control, keep women from earning equal pay, and even take away a woman’s right to vote! The animated rhetoric has at times crossed into the arena of pure lunacy, with willfully false and totally irresponsible accusations tossed around like candy at a parade.
It’s been so bad that you have to wonder if the people who’ve been spewing the nonsense have been, in some demented way, trying to test just how far they can push the vitriol without facing significant political ramifications. That’s exactly what I was thinking the other day when I read the words spoken by Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Wisconsin, as she campaigned against the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker.
“Scott Walker has given women the back of his hand,” said Wasserman Schultz. “I know that is stark. I know that is direct. But that is reality.”
She then added, “What Republican tea party extremists like Scott Walker are doing is they are grabbing us [women] by the hair and pulling us back.”
Likening one’s political record to physical violence against women is certainly despicable, and particularly offensive to victims of actual physical abuse, but it’s actually quite consistent with Wasserman Schultz’s reputation. She’s a U.S. congresswoman from Florida, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and an individual who has long demonstrated a perverse eagerness to say absolutely anything – and I mean anything – to keep her political party in power.
If you’ll recall, Wasserman Schultz initially blamed the Tea Party for the Gabby Giffords shooting, using the plight of the victims as an opportunity to vilify her political opposition who had nothing to do with it.
She’s the same person who declared in 2011 that Republicans wanted to “drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally and very transparently block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates.” What was the comment in response to? Republican Governors signing voter ID laws which 80% of the American public support.
A week before the Jim Crow statement, Wasserman Schultz announced that the GOP was backing a Medicare reform plan that would allow insurance companies to “throw you to the wolves” and “deny you coverage and drop you for preexisting conditions.” In reality, no such plan existed.
In response to a Paul Ryan plan designed to control government spending, Wasserman Schultz said, “We see a clear attempt for the government to back out of its commitment to seniors. As a result, many seniors in America will be forced into poverty, and worse. Some seniors will end up dying because they are forced to put off getting that pain checked out due to huge out-of-pocket costs that will skyrocket for them. … This plan would literally be a death trap for some seniors.” Wasserman Schultz was later forced to admit that Ryan’s plan didn’t even apply to senior citizens.
Wasserman Schultz stated that Republicans opposed the United States having a car industry. “If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars,” she said. It came out shortly after that Wasserman Schultz’s own car was a 2010 Infiniti FX35 – a Japanese car.
Wasserman Schultz insisted to Fox News Sunday that she had no idea what the political affiliation was of Priorities USA, the top Democratic-affiliated, fundraising super PAC that every Democrat in Washington is familiar with. They’re the ones that put out the infamous ads of a man blaming Mitt Romney for his wife’s cancer death, and Wasserman Schultz played dumb to avoid having to answer for it.
Did I mention that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the head of the Democratic National Committee? I did, but it was worth repeating because it seems that the media doesn’t quite understand the significance of her position. Maybe if they could pretend once in a while that she was a former Alaska governor who ran on a Republican presidential ticket back in 2008, they’d pay closer attention to what she says, and maybe even try and hold her accountable for her words.
Since 2012, Wasserman Schultz has been the Democratic Party’s most outspoken voice when it comes to taking those dirty Republicans to task for their apparent hatred of women. If I recall correctly, she’s the person who actually coined the term “War on Women,” and has really been the heart and soul of the propaganda campaign. As we saw with her comments on Scott Walker, there really are no boundaries to what she’ll say. And from her perspective, why should there be?
The mainstream media will always give their like-minded cohorts far more leniency than they would to any conservative. If a conservative says something truly outrageous (as Limbaugh and Akin did), it’s headline news for days (maybe weeks) and indicative of a greater conservative philosophy. Denouncements are demanded, but they’re generally not recognized once they come. On the other hand, if a liberal makes an outrageous statement, the thought is that they just got a little carried away, and don’t at all reflect the feelings and principles of the Democratic Party. Apologize… Don’t apologize… It really doesn’t matter.
Perhaps more disheartening than the media double-standard, however, is the number of people who continue to embrace the misinformation that gets created by it. The War on Women, for example, was not designed to be a long term political strategy for the Democrats. It was merely a useful mechanism for stirring emotion and distracting voters in 2012 from a poor economy and a poor president. It was an act of hyperbolic fraud that should have had a short shelf-life.
Unfortunately, it’s still with us in 2014… And it’s been fueled by a Hobby Lobby case ruling that critics of it don’t even want to try to understand.
The left’s efforts to turn American women into perpetual victims are embarrassing and insulting. In that sense, I suppose Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the perfect person for the job. You can’t shame someone who has no shame. All you can do is hope that the marks eventually realize they’re being conned.