Binders full of … hypocrisy

Pardon the dust, but it’s time we brush off one of the Republican Party’s binders full of women.

And, no, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney’s fictional debate binders, but the very real autopsy report commissioned by the Republican National Committee in the wake of the 2012 election.

Romney garnered support from male voters, but experienced an 11-point deficit among female voters. And, when single women were singled out, the gap became a cavern of 36 percentage points.

The report concluded women are not a “coalition,” and appealing to them should be integrated into all activities. GOP talkers “need to use language that addresses concerns that are on women’s minds in order to let them know we are fighting for them.”

Woman bindersAmong the findings was that women voters are interested in hearing facts. “Many of them run the economies of their homes and understand economics better than the men in their families.” Give props to baby steps; maybe next time the RNC will notice women also dare to run businesses.

Additional baby steps: “They feel like they are smart, engaged and strong decision-makers, but that their opinions are often ignored.”

Acknowledging that women “feel” they have brains is a start, albeit a very small one.

The report does not call for reconsideration of issue stances that led to the “War on Women.” Instead, Republicans are encouraged to point fingers, making sure “feeling” women understand Democratic positions also impact them. Psst: Next time, tell us something we don’t know.

Republicans, the report admonished, need to put women on the national stage, not only as candidates, but as spokeswomen because … wait for it … they “are far better at connecting with these voters because they are more likely to understand them.”

The real kicker is that existing Republican officials and the 2016 field can’t even be bothered to attempt to follow these meager and condescending recommendations.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, arguably a benefactor of the RNC report, reacted to secretly-recorded videos of Planned Parenthood staffers discussing how the organization engages in the legal practice of accepting reimbursement costs when supplying fetal tissue to researchers by sponsoring a bill prohibiting the flow of women’s health care dollars to Planned Parenthood. Republican Mitch McConnell, who championed the law that opened the door on fetal tissue sales, was her co-sponsor.

The measure held the same ick factor as Donald Trump telling women how pretty we look on our knees — you know, when we aren’t bleeding out of our wherever.

Ernst’s proposal was not to ban fetal tissue use in research, or to change the reimbursement framework. It was not an attempt to end abortion, because the targeted funding provided birth control, STI testing and prenatal care.

The RNC binder should have noted that even the breast-burdened understand the hypocrisy of launching a program, then demonizing those who play by your established rules. Having Ernst as the messenger makes no difference. Hypocrisy is like recently renovated Target toy aisles: gender neutral.

This column by Lynda Waddington originally published in The Gazette on August 15, 2015.