GOP opposition to the Violence Against Women Act is insane
The zeal with which some elements of the Republican Party are waging a war on women raises the question of whether the GOP has a not-so-latent death wish.
This is the 21st century, not the 1950s! American women are no longer the deferential little darlings of yore. A political party that can’t recognize that truism is only asking for trouble.
Bill Press assesses the situation HERE:
In one sense, the war on women is nothing new. It’s been raging longer than the war in Afghanistan. You can trace it back to decades of Republican opposition to early childhood education, child care, family and medical leave, equal pay, family planning, and every other government program designed to help women. But the current war on women started with successful Republican efforts, over 10 years, to kill what became known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue for wage discrimination. President Obama finally signed it into law on Jan. 29, 2009.
The war has only escalated in recent weeks. Republicans tried to overturn new rules of the Obama administration making access to contraception, with no co-pay, part of every woman’s basic health insurance. Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut.” Rick Santorum said states should be able to make birth control illegal. Mitt Romney won’t say whether or not he’d have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Senate Republicans voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service by citing “moral reasons.” They are now blocking reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Republican opposition to the Violence Against Women Act is especially odious. Written in 1994 by then-Senator Joe Biden to offer legal protection to women who are victims of domestic violence, it was passed, and has been re-authorized several times, with strong bipartisan support. Three provisions were added this year to extend protection to women in same-sex marriages, Native-American women and women immigrants who are here illegally. Because of those three amendments, all eight Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, voted against the bill. By their presumed logic, it’s wrong to beat up most women — but lesbians, Native Americans, and undocumented women are fair game.
UPDATE: Political analyst Charlie Cooks SUGGESTS that the GOP’s problem is one of too much testosterone:
For the past year or so, we’ve seen television ads for a prescription drug designed to help men with something called “Low T,” which turns out to mean low testosterone levels (who knew?). As I waded through tons of polling data and focus-group findings this week, it hit me. For the past couple of years, and especially during the presidential debates over recent months, Republicans have shown signs of the opposite problem: “High T.” The GOP has an excess of testosterone that may be hurting the party with some segments of women voters, specifically with those under 50, single women, and independent women.
The messaging and signals emanating from Republican presidential candidates, as well as from elected officials in Washington and in state capitals, seem to be aimed at only conservative, white men. This is a group that once dominated the electorate but is now considerably smaller than a majority.
UPDATE II: HERE‘s Ed Kilgore’s take on the GOP and the Violence Against Women Act:
If you’ve been following the debate in the Senate over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, you know that Republicans are complaining that they don’t want the act to expire, but object to “poison pills” Democrats have added to the bill, particularly protections against domestic violence for undocumented women and for people in same-sex relationships.
But they are not handling the messaging of their position very well, and have retreated from their original filibuster threats (pretty standard now with respect to every piece of legislation they oppose), and apparently hope the bill is enacted without their votes but also without much publicity.
This GOP exercise in damage control, however, may not be enough to spare their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, for whom the VAWA issue is becoming another in a long series of examples of his weaselly refusal to take a distinct position. He’s sort of for VAWA reneweal, but doesn’t think it should become a “political football,” and won’t say what version he’d support.