Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five Ways The GOP Can Fight The War On Women

If you first don't succeed, try and try again. At least that's how the saying goes. And Republican strategists have tried and tried to find a way to blunt what has been a very effective attack from the Democrats, the so called "War on Women".

First, they tried blaming the unfair media. Never works. It just comes across as whining and the media is not going to change their ways. It is what it is; learn to work around it.

Second, they tried reframing the attack. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Romney's spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said "Under President Obama, hundreds of thousands of women have lost their jobs, poverty among women is the highest in nearly two decades and half of recent graduates can’t find a good job." Noble effort but it was bound to fail. Arguing about who is REALLY waging the 'war on women' is playing in the Democrats' sandbox.

Third, they tried flattery. "Women are too smart to fall for the Democrats’ phony war on women". Or another version, "Democrats think women are helpless victims who need Uncle Sugar to buy their birth control. All American women should be offended!" At one time or another, all women have had to give the “Girl, you can do better” speech. It ONLY works after the woman has been left by her partner. Never before and there is no evidence suggesting that Democrats are about to break up with women voters.

With November fast approaching, what can Republicans do to neutralize the "war on women" attack? Here are a few tips that can help.

Tip #1: Tell GOP men to be quiet. All Republican men should simply avoid talking about women’s reproductive issues. Take a page from Democrat men. They don’t seem to commit any gaffes talking about women's issues. When asked questions by the media, all Republican men should reply that American women do not need to be lectured on this subject by male politicians. Remember, the GOP is the party that believes politicians/government can't do anything right. Apply the same attitude when it comes to women's reproductive rights.

Tip #2: Be mindful of visuals. No more congressional hearings about women's issues with panels dominated by Republican men. The Democrats have brilliantly exploited this visual. Images of grumpy looking Republican men questioning women witnesses have been effectively used to reinforce the Democrat theme that the GOP is hostile to women; that Republicans do not believe women are intelligent enough to make their own reproductive decisions.

Tip #3: Choose the right messenger. If the GOP needs to address women's reproductive rights, it is best to send Republican female representatives to deliver the party's message. Except for women who believe that the female of the species is under divine order to submit to men, the rest of the ladies find men lecturing them about abortion extremely irritating. To put it a different way, most women want to hear men pontificating about reproductive issues as much as avid Second Amendment supporters want to hear Senator Diane Feinstein speak about gun ownership.

Tip #4: Stop falling for the Democrats' traps. Even if the Supreme Court finds the birth control mandate unconstitutional, the Democrats have already scored victory over the issue. There is no medical reason to insist that birth control pills should not be subject to co-pays versus other medications. Also, birth control pills are less expensive that many other medications making the decision to include them among the list of services exempt from co-pays puzzling. But if the decision is viewed as part of a political strategy, then it makes perfect sense. The Democrats bet - correctly - that the mandate was going draw a response from that section of the Republican base that still views birth control as a license for promiscuity; that Rush Limbaugh would decry single women having sex as immoral. The Democrats have become experts at pushing the buttons of the GOP base.

Tip #5: Get flexibility from your base. One striking difference between the two parties is that Democrats have so much more latitude than Republicans. Think about it. Barack Obama has progressives supporting and defending Obamacare which is designed to generate healthy profits for insurance companies. Amazing since for decades progressives have decried for profit healthcare. It seems that Republican candidates are accused of treason anytime they barely move away from the issues their base cherishes. Social conservatives must understand that elections are won over broader issues like the economy, healthcare. Insisting that Republican politicians spend more time talking about abortion, or reproductive issues, will only help Democrats portray the GOP as a narrowly focused party out of touch with the majority of Americans; and, that’s no recipe for winning elections.