How much contempt do Republicans have for ordinary workers? Well, Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was on Face the Nation on Sunday, trying to put a "feminist" face on the GOP's refusal to back legislation intended to reduce the pay gap between male and female workers -- and it's not just that Blackburn made a ridiculous argument based on a strain of Republican thinking that ended long ago:
"It is Republicans that have led the fight for women's equality. Go back through history, and look at who was the first woman to ever vote, elected to office, go to Congress, four out of five governors."(As Ed Kilgore notes, the platform of the Republican Party backed the Equal Rights Amendment for years -- until 1980, when the convention that nominated Ronald Reagan ended the party's support forever.)
It's also that when Blackburn was asked about equal pay for women, she not only shrugged off the possibility a legislative remedy, she segued into Randian riffs about entrepreneurialism and the glory of being part of the 1%. Remember when Eric Cantor commemorated Labor Day by praising small business owners? Remember when Michelle Malkin expressed her support for Mitt Romney by asserting with a sneer that "Romney types ... are the ones who sign the front of the paycheck, and the Obama types are the one who have spent their entire lives signing the back of them"? Blackburn's response on pay equity for female workers contained some of the same contempt for ordinary workers, because, to Republicans, the only real American is a capitalist.
Here's a partial transcript, with emphasis added:
SCHIEFFER: But why did the Senate Republicans, then, block this?
BLACKBURN: Well, because the legislation was something that was going to be helpful for trial lawyers, and what we would like to see happen is equal opportunity and clearing up some of the problems that exist that are not fair to women. We are all for equal pay. I would love for women to be focused on maximum wage, and I have fought to be recognized with equality for a long time. A lot of us get tired of guys being condescending to us. But, you know, I got to tell you, one of the things that we need to do is look at access to capital. Small business owners that are female, that is their number one problem, is access to capital. We need to also look at regulations, how that is affecting them.
It was recently reported that Blackburn might run for president in 2016. I don't know if that's true or if it was just a phony story floated to raise the profile of a female Republican during a period when the GOP is getting a lot of criticism on pay equity and other women's issues. Whatever the case, I wonder how pro-female she would appear as a candidate when she can't even bring herself to call herself a woman on her congressional website. Yup, according to her own site, she's a "congressman."