Can the Republicans Close the Gender Gap?
By Michael Krull and Arnie Arnesen
Republicans need to paint for voters a positive, optimistic and forward-looking agenda for America and not engage in the Balkanized world of the Democrats where each group is played off of the other. There are simply too many real problems for us to tackle as a country to let ourselves be hoodwinked by these petty tactics and their narrow, divisive and largely irrelevant arguments.
Michael Krull is a graduate of Luther College and Iowa State University. He has worked on disaster relief for the State Department, a major Washington, DC public relations and political consulting firm, and is currently working for American Solutions for Winning the Future. He is a member of the Council on Emerging National Security Affairs.
Can the Republicans close the gender gap?
By Arnie Arnesen
No. But you may be operating under a faulty premise. Are you sure they are Republicans?
The Republican Party of 2012 is one that Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Goldwater, Nixon and even their demi-God, Reagan, would not recognize, which leads me to think that they are masquerading as Republicans.
How could the party of Lincoln, that fought for the unity of the Nation, freed the slaves, and sought racial equality be connected to the party of Romney, Ryan and West?
Romney has just rolled out a new campaign slogan: Obama isn’t working! Complete with website and banners. It appears Romney has decided to run on the one item he can consistently represent: his whiteness. The suggestion that our President is "not working" fits an ugly stereotype of blacks created by desperate bigots, and underscores Romney's lack of principles, values and accomplishments.
Paul Ryan, the fair-haired House Budget Committee Chair who claims that his Catholic faith helped him shape his budget proposal, which, by the way, 70 Catholic leaders described as “particularly cruel” to the most vulnerable. “A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private.... to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person?” (One can only assume that Ryan didn’t learn his lessons well or is distorting the teachings of his faith.)
Allen West, a Republican Congressman from Florida, recently responded to questions asked by a constituent at a town hall meeting about how many members of Congress were card carrying Marxists or international socialists? Allen didn't hesitate: "I believe it is about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party." (Sounds like a page out of the notorious demagogue, Joe McCarthy of the 1950s.)
How could the party of Roosevelt who believed that government had the right and the obligation to regulate “big business” to protect society recognize a corporate shill like Romney? Romney targets both the regulators and the regulations. In one recent campaign stop Mitt's mixed metaphor: ”regulators are always on the prowl...under President Obama, they are multiplying like proverbial rabbits" sounds odd, but it might suggest that Mitt is amenable to birth control, but only when it applies to "controlling" the number of public servants charged with protecting the Public Interest?
But Romney's definitive answer to Regulations, found on Page 61 of his economic plan where he proposes to cap the rate at which agencies could impose new regulations at zero, clearly tells you whom he "is" protecting and it isn’t us. Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling in his grave.
How could the party of Eisenhower who warned against the dangers of the military industrial complex or the party of Goldwater* who warned of the eroding barrier between government and religion relate to the “Catholic inspired” Ryan budget which shreds the international affairs budget (i.e. diplomacy and development), devastates the safety net, but, as William Kristol pointed out in the WSJ, restores national defense as the No.1 priority of the federal budget.
How could the party of Nixon, that established the EPA, recognize a “Republican” party that has introduced an unprecedented number of Bills to either block or weaken EPA regulations. Congressman Allen West got a standing ovation for his suggestion that Congress eviscerate the EPA budget at a Conservative Political Action Conference. Just a few days ago at the NRA convention of all places, Mitt managed to wax poetic against the Obama EPA and suggested that it interferes with personal freedom.
How could Reagan who raised taxes and worked with Democrats recognize a party that genuflects to Grover Norquist and his anti- tax pledge? As of this writing over 270 members of Congress (virtually every Republican) and Mitt Romney have signed Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge that guarantees that the Buffett Rule (that suggests the Rich should pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us) is dead on arrival, that no loopholes to the tax code will be closed, that no, nien, nada taxes will be raised in perpetuity and all handouts to big oil, coal, or agriculture will be sustained.
The "GOP Gap" of historic and party values is profound; the gender
gap is just another element in the sorry mix. This faux Republican party is wedded to an extreme right wing ideology that is anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-safety net, anti-public education, anti-contraceptives, anti-equal pay, anti-sustainability, anti-science, anti-investment (except in the bottom line of multinational corporations that invest abroad and warehouse their profits in places like the Cayman Islands), etc. There is no way that the party in 2012, masquerading as Republicans can repair the gender gap. Too many mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, caregivers, wives, nurses, nuns, teachers, bank tellers, waitresses, housekeepers (be they stay at home moms or hired help) will find more than one reason to reject them.
*("There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this Supreme Being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their positions 100%. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain; they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even angrier as a Legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.")
D. Arnie Arnesen is a radio and TV commentator based in New Hampshire. She has lectured at Harvard, Dartmouth, UNH, SNHU, Vermont Law School, St. Olaf and other colleges. She is a former NH Legislator and a former democratic nominee for Governor and Congress. Arnie has been a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics at Harvard and has trainied women who want to run for office throughout the United States and future NH Leaders. You can hear Arnie every Wednesday on Talk of Iowa on IowaPublicRadio.org and every Friday on the Dan Mitchell Show on WKBKam.com. firstname.lastname@example.org Don't miss Arnie's new radio station Monday - Friday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST streaming live at: nhnewsviewsblues.org WNHN 94.7