“Everybody I know is here!” exclaimed a delighted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. An elegantly turned out woman who is paid $400,000 annually by an organization that receives $542.4 million a year in government grants, Ms. Richards was among the more than 150 women gathered at the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Washington, D.C. think tank with close ties to the Obama administration.
A new program “Fair Shot: A Plan for Women and Families to Get Ahead” was being launched. A better name might have been “Perpetuating the Gender Gap: A Plan to Keep Democrats in Power,” and thus of course keep leading feminists such as the stylish Ms. Richards on the receiving end of taxpayer largesse.
The conference, as far as I could tell, wasn’t the sort of venue where one learns to make compelling arguments to counter opposing arguments by people who have different views on public policy. Nope, the Fair Shot approach to diversity of opinions is far blunter and can be summed up in three words: vilify, vilify, vilify.
A mistress in this black art, Nancy Pelosi, for example, breezed into the CAP conference, admitting that she had “goose bumps” from just being there, and was beleaguered from a taxing morning of doing battle on Capitol Hill with Republicans, who live and breathe only to starve small children. Ms. Pelosi recalled that a priest had recently said it’s wrong to pray in Mass and then “go out and prey on people.” “And isn’t that exactly what [the Republicans] are doing—preying on people?” Ms. Pelosi asked. It was a rhetorical question.
No one has been subjected to the vilification treatment lately more than Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general and Republican candidate for governor. If Terry McAuliffe—the candidate from Clintonworld—beats Cuccinelli and becomes Virginia’s next governor, he will do so largely because women voters believe Cucinnelli is dangerous for women. “I honestly don’t think he cares if women are raped,” whispered a well-bred Virginian at a subdued coffee, the kind of place where politics are discreetly avoided. A lifelong Republican, she will not be voting for the scary Mr. Cuccinelli.
While the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which hasn’t yet endorsed a gubernatorial candidate, called McAuliffe an “unserious,” noting that he often refuses to enlighten the public about his views on the difficult issues, the Washington Post reported earlier this week that McAuliffe is beating Cuccinelli 47 to 39 in polls. Much of McAuliffe’s advantage is women, who support McAuliffe by a 24 percent margin.
There are many women who are pro-life and many others who are pro-choice. But Democrats smear candidates such as Cuccinelli, who has taken a principled stand against abortion, as anti-woman. Instead of recognizing that these candidates have a position on abortion based on their view of life issues, the Democrats ascribe their stand to woman hating and vilify them.
What the Democrats do is use the social issues to prevent voters from confronting other issues, issues on which they may be at a disadvantage. Think McAuliffe’s position on expanding Medicaid could be disastrous for Virginia? Well, let me tell you how much he hates women! In short, Democrats have found in the social issues—presented in a lurid and dishonest manner—a way to create a permanent constituency of women, to be trotted out when necessary. Their goal—like that of the Fair Shot gang—is perpetuating and enlarging the gender gap to hold onto power.
Voters who regard being pro-abortion as a the sine qua non for being governor of Virginia aren’t going to vote for Cuccinelli. Fair enough. What is not even remotely fair, however, was the McAuliffe campaign letter dubbing Cuccinelli as “Virginia’s Todd Akin.”
Akin—also known as the gift that keeps on giving—is the failed Republican senatorial candidate from Missouri who claimed that pregnancy never results from “legitimate rape.” Cuccinelli has never said anything like that, but never mind. The McAuliffe campaign letter charged that, if Akin was a “foot soldier” in the “war on women’s health,” Cuccinelli was one of its leaders. “Todd Akin outed his extreme beliefs when he said ‘legitimate rape,’” the letter added, “but Cuccinelli probably won’t in such a public fashion.” There’s a reason Cuccinelli probably won’t say anything like what Akin said in a public fashion: there is simply no rational reason to believe Cuccinelli shares Akin’s strange viewpoint.
Likewise, in Wednesday night’s debate, McAuliffe charged that Cuccinelli supported a “personhood” law that could ban contraception—simply not true, though the bill would likely have banned abortifacients—and savaged him for not signing a letter backing the Violence Against Women Act, which may be ineffective at preventing violence against woman but is a humdinger when it comes to funding possibilities for Democratic constituencies.
In a way, the leaders of the Democratic Party have become a lot like the corrupt elements of the modern civil rights movement, which preaches dependence rather than advocating policies that would really make a positive difference in people’s lives. The GOP, which isn’t very good at talking to women, had better figure out how to do this. Otherwise, women will become a permanent constituency of the Democratic Party.
The presentation of Cuccinelli as a bogeyman obscures the issues that will matter to Virginians in their daily lives. If there is a “war on women” in the U.S., it is about jobs and prosperity. But the Democrats don’t want to talk about this. They are too busy waging their war for women, whom they need if they are to keep the subsidies flowing.