The battle for women’s votes at the next election has started in earnest with female Republicans taking up the cudgels against Democratic claims that the GOP is waging a war on women.
A series of Republican Congresswomen got up in the House on Tuesday to decry comments from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who said GOP policies would push women to vote for President Barack Obama and help him win a second term.
And they had one united message. As Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., put it, “We are all conservative reformers committed to leaving America better for our children and grandchildren than it was for us,” adding that creating jobs is their number one priority.
Rep, Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said, “The Republican agenda is indeed pro-woman. It is pro-woman because it is pro-small business, pro-entrepreneur, pro-family and pro-economic growth."
Noem said most women are concerned about the same things that men are.
“They are worried about the security of their job, if they have one. They are worried about finding a job, if they are looking for one,” she said.
“They are worried about the excessive spending we are engaging in and the overwhelming debt we are set to leave our children and grandchildren. They are worried about what new government regulation is around the corner that is going to try and control another portion of their lives or their small businesses.”
And Rep. Sandy Adams, R. Fla., weighed in, “I came here to make a difference – to remove the barriers to job creation that have been imposed by this administration’s addiction to spending, taxation and regulation. Only by giving more power back to the families and small businesses that make this nation great, can we put our economy back on a sustainable path and help the private sector put people back to work.”
She added, “Like so many mothers across the country, I saw the future of our nation and especially our children’s future were at risk. I couldn’t sit by and watch our country continue down the reckless fiscal path it was heading.”
Democrats have been trying to portray Republican policies as bad for women. Wasserman Schultz told a Christian Science Monitor-sponsored breakfast this month, “Their record is a war on women, and it is a priority for them."
She singled out what she said were GOP moves to redefine rape, defund Planned Parenthood, restructure health care for seniors and undermine collective bargaining rights.
The party is trying hard to regain its grip on women voters. Independent pollster John Zogby told Newsmax that women were a solid block for Democrats until the 2010 midterm elections when the two parties essentially split the female vote.
He said recent polls have shown that support for Obama’s reelection is especially weak among married women.
The public face of the GOP has also changed since Sarah Palin became the first Republican woman on the presidential ticket in 2008 and now Michele Bachmann is set to become the first female from the party to launch a serious bid for the White House.
But on Capitol Hill, Republican women still lag behind the Democrats. Only 10 percent of GOP House members are female, compared to 26 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, there are five Republican women compared to 12 on the Democratic side.
New York Daily News columnist S.E. Cupp told Newsmax those figures could be meaningless as politics is not a career choice many women want.
“What's important isn't how many women are appointed, when they are appointed, or even that they are appointed. What matters is that we put the most qualified people in charge of making important decisions, not that we try to pander to various interest groups merely in an attempt to buy votes.”
Cupp, who is also a Glenn Beck staffer, said Republican policies give women the best opportunities by keeping government out of the way. “Small government, lower taxes and spending cuts all make it easier for me to stay home and raise a family, go out into the work force, start a small business or go back to school,” she said.
“Under conservative fiscal leadership, women have more choices, not fewer. They are empowered and self-sufficient, not dependent on paternalistic big government to pay her bills, watch her kids, feed her family, get her a raise or a promotion and make decisions for her that should be entirely her own.
Phyllis Schlafly, the 86-year-old grande dame of the conservative movement, added that the 2010 elections proved that voters don’t want feminist women in office, they want strong, pro-life Republican women. “Democratic policies are just an attempt to make women dependent on government handouts, women don’t want that,” she told Newsmax.
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