Republicans have scoffed at the idea of a “War on Women.” Various members of the party, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, have publicly called the very notion a carefully orchestrated diversion invented by Democrats to distract from the “real issues” of the election. Unfortunately for the GOP, not only is their platform steeped in misogyny, they have plenty of candidates towing that sexist party line. You’ve heard of Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, but in the Grand Old Party, sexists are a dime a dozen. And all of them want your votes this fall.
Representing Illinois’s 8th District, Tea Partier Joe Walsh is bad and getting worse. Locked in a tight race with the DNC crowd-wowing double amputee Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, it’s clear that Walsh is getting frazzled – and sexist.
After the DNC, Joe Walsh jumped on the Sandra Fluke bashing bandwagon, invoking her name at a stump speech and yelling to the crowd, “Give me a break…get a job, Sandra Fluke!” Walsh has always bristled against birth control coverage; back in February, he spoke out against the HHS birth control mandate, saying, “This is not about women. This is not about contraception. This is about religious freedom.” Aren’t you relieved, ladies? Your employer refusing to buy an insurance policy that covers preventative care isn’t even about you!
As she has edged ahead of him in the polls, Walsh has started personally attacking his opponent Tammy Duckworth. Walsh has attacked Duckworth’s service record, complaining that “it’s all she talks about.” Clearly Walsh believes in the Mitt Romney strategy of never mentioning the wars and hoping they go away. Recently, Walsh even released a statement on his website – riddle with spelling errors – that claimed, “It has become abundantly clear that at this point the only debate Ms. Duckworth is actually interested in having is which outfit she’ll be wearing for her big speech.”
Whatever Ms. Duckworth is wearing when she beats the pants off you in November, it will doubtless look stunning with her Purple Heart, Joe.
While Mitt Romney and even ardent pro-lifer Paul Ryan were smart enough to turn their backs on the party platform and rebuke Todd Akin after his ridiculous rape statements, Iowa’s Steve King rushed to his defense. King said that he also had never personally met a victim of rape (statutory or otherwise) or incest who became pregnant. His exact words were, “I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
How…big of him?
It’s incredible that so many of these Republicans haven’t heard of the internet. A simple Google search would reveal not only the fact that there is no biological mechanism that “shuts down” sperm during rape or incest, but countless statistics that prove that pregnancy from rape and incest isn’t uncommon. There are roughly 32,000 pregnancies resulting from rape every year. The fact that these Congressmen aren’t willing to acknowledge simple facts unless they’ve personally witnessed them. That’s no way to operate as a responsible citizen, let alone as a member of government who is responsible for such vital decisions about health care and social policy.
And it’s worth noting that Mr. King didn’t let never having met a pregnant raped teenager get in the way of politics before. While he was defending dogfighting – yes seriously – by claiming that sentient animals have more rights than fetuses (which he thinks is wrong), he claimed, “a man can rape a young girl, kidnap her, force her to undergo an abortion across state lines, and then “drop her off at the swingset….and that’s not against the law in the United States of America.” That statement doesn’t even need to be critically examined – it does a fine job of crumbling under its own absurdity.
For everyone who lives outside of Iowa’s 5th and still wants the satisfaction of voting against Steve King, don’t despair! Mitt Romney just endorsed Rep. King – so you can vote against Romney as a proxy.
The Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania may be new to federal office, but that hasn’t stopped him from launching a campaign full of sexist gaffes. Tom Smith has been hailed by ThinkProgress and Salon as “The Next Todd Akin” – not an easy feat with such a huge pool of ill-informed sexists to choose from.
But if anyone can live up to that title, it’s Tom Smith. At a Paul Ryan campaign event, Smith approached two women and asked them what they were talking about, and said, “My guess would have been shoes.” At another campaign event, Smith opted for a bizarre and sexist analogy about the economy, saying, “Perhaps where we’re making our mistake is that we are asking President Obama and Senator Bob Casey to do something they have no knowledge of. They’ve never been in business, they’ve never ran [sic] businesses, they don’t have that knowledge. It would be like, your wife wrecks your car. You’re gonna take it to the beauty salon to get fixed? No.”
Right. Because not only are women bad drivers, they only know things about the beauty salon. Perfectly analogous to the other popular lie that only people who own business can understand the intricacies of economic policy.
But wait, there’s more! After Todd Akin’s infamous rape comments, Smith agreed that abortion should be banned in all cases, without exception. He said that he has experience with that kind of thing because his own daughter went through a similar situation. The “similar situation”? Having a baby out of wedlock.
Not to pull rank here, Tom, but as someone born out of wedlock, I can pretty definitively say that those are not similar. Not in any way, remotely, at all.
Hopefully PA Senator Bob Casey will crush Tom Smith as definitively as he did world-renowned lady-hater and sweater vest enthusiast Rick Santorum in 2006 – but new voter ID laws may make that victory significantly more difficult.
Rick Perry, the bumbling underdog presidential hopeful who wanted to cut three government agencies immediately (just don’t ask him which ones) is no underdog in Texas. Perry has served three terms as governor, and he’s running for a fourth. That’s right – Perry has now been in office longer than FDR.
What has he done in the twelve years that he’s been governor? Besides executing 234 people, Perry has taken it upon himself to gut women’s health care in Texas. The governor signed into law a bill that would bar all state funding to Planned Parenthood. When the Obama administration warned Perry and the Texas legislature that that violated the conditions of Title X, which provides states with federal funding for family planning services, Rick refused to back down. The result? Texas cut its entire family planning budget, essentially stripping 130,000 low-income people – most of them women – of affordable health services.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Perry changed his views on abortion during the Republican primary season to be more conservative. While Perry once supported abortion as an option in cases of rape, incest, or a danger to the mother’s life, he changed his mind after viewing a propaganda film. Perry now only supports abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. (Of course, if there were a way to save the fetus and not the mother, Perry might like that option even more.)
Please, Texas. PLEASE don’t give this guy a fourth term. The notorious badass Ann Richards was once your governor – don’t you miss those days?
Allen West, the representative from Florida’s 22nd, may have only served one term so far, but he’s already made quite the reputation for himself. He’s one of the few prominent people of color in the Tea Party. He made waves in the Black Caucus by bringing Chik-Fil-A lunch for everyone. He was notoriously really into John Boehner’s bizarre screening of “The Town.”
Oh, and he’s also a raging sexist.
Not only did West vote consistently against health care reform – including affordable birth control – he also went off on fellow Floridian Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in a bizarre email. His email told Wasserman-Schultz that she was “not a Lady” and that she should “shut the heck up.” And this email isn’t an isolated incident. West has suggested on multiple occasions that feminist women are the root of all evil in society due to their propensity for “neutering American men.”
Ms. Wasserman-Schultz may have the last laugh on this one. She’s already donated money to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, and even President Bill Clinton has held fundraisers for him. Allen West is also on CREDO’s list of Tea Partiers to oust this election, and the progressive super PAC is expected to spend upwards of $200,000 to unseat West.
The last two years have seen relentless attacks on reproductive rights, abortion access, and affordable health care. The Tea Party and the Republican Party at large have not held back in unleashing sexist slurs and sexist policies. But if enough voters stand up against this wave of political misogyny, this could turn into the Year of the Woman rather than yet another Year of the Sexists.
Want to learn more about sexism on the ballots?