Monday, April 09, 2012


I wanted to see how Geoffrey Kabaservice of The New Republic arrived at this conclusion:

The Republican Party’s alleged “war” against women is fast emerging as a major trope of the 2012 elections. And the charge is largely true: As the GOP has become increasingly conservative, so too has it become increasingly hostile to feminism and insensitive to women's issues.

But Democrats have not merely been horrified bystanders wringing their hands as this “war” has unfolded. The Democratic Party has actively encouraged the GOP's descent into antifeminism. And though Democrats have reaped considerable gains from the fallout, their efforts have often ultimately been to the detriment of the country’s women.

So I read on, past the ridiculously irrelevant history ("A Republican Congress endorsed the amendment giving women the vote in 1919"), past the acknowledgment that, yes, the GOP has been almost monomaniacally anti-feminist for several decades ... and then I arrived at the crime against women that's sufficiently awful, in the view of Kabaservice, that it damns Democrats to share the blame for an anti-woman backlash with Republicans.

It consists of precisely one election:

It's worth noting, however, that the Democratic Party has had no interest in trying to cool partisan debate over women's issues, and every interest in making sure that no significant Republican feminist position emerges. The episode that best illustrates the Democratic approach in this regard was the successful effort to end the political career of Maryland Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella.

Morella, a former English professor and state legislator who also managed to raise nine children, was one of the leading feminists in Congress and among the most liberal House Republicans....

The Congresswoman ... chose to run for a ninth term in 2002.

...the National Organization for Women endorsed her Democratic opponent, on the grounds that "the ascension of right-wing leadership in the House" made Morella irrelevant. Morella narrowly lost the election and never ran for public office again. Democrats gained a seat, while Republicans lost a vital measure of heterogeneity.

And that, you see, is the Democrats' fault -- it's the Democrats' fault that a Democrat-leaning interest group endorsed a Democrat in a race the Democrats could win -- in a midterm election cycle when the Democrats needed just six seats to wrest control of the House away from the overwhelmingly anti-woman, anti-feminist GOP. It's the Democrats' fault that Republicans, instead of learning from this election that voters in swing districts identify their party as a collection of anti-woman ideologues, have refused to make the tent bigger.

It's the Democrats' fault that they defeated her by running Chris Van Hollen against her -- a candidate who, though male, consistently earns 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, and ratings between 95% and 100% from the National Organization for Women. They ran a guy who votes this way because they hate women.

Yes, Democrats should have thrown this election, just to save Republicans from their own increasing right-wing rigidity. Surely that would have changed everything.

1 comment:

BH said...

Kabaservice reminds me of a small local (hereabouts) women's organization dedicated to supporting female political candidates/officeholders, regardless of policy positions. Nonsensical. BY Kabaservice's reasoning, if that House seat had been held by Phyllis Schlafly, the D's would have been wrong in feminist terms to run a male against her. Pfui.