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March 1 2014

Cynicism Alert: Yep, the "War on Women" Is a Fund-Raising Tool

Charlotte Hays

In a brilliant post over at Commentary headlined “The ‘War on Women’ for Dummies,” Seth Mandel explains what is behind the Democrats’ phony rhetoric about Republicans and women.

Mandel takes as his starting point a story in the New York Times with the headline “Outrage Over Sexist Remarks Turns Into a Political Fund-Raising Tool.” Mandel points out that the women activists “couldn’t be happier” about the supposed war. Why?

Because the activists see the “war on women” for what it is: a fund-raising, base-mobilizing tactic, invented by Democrats for those purposes. Do they really think Republicans are waging a war on women or trying to make contraception illegal?

Maybe some have said it so many times that they have actually come to believe it, but I suspect that at the top Democrats are pretty cynical about this. Mandel takes note of the glee with which liberal activists and lobbyists talk about the "war on women:"  

That may sound strange at first glance. After all, some of these groups are ostensibly “women’s groups,” and this is indeed a counterintuitive way to react to political bias.

But that’s only if they actually believe their rhetoric; keep in mind, the White House fabricated the “war on women” to win elections. If that’s the case, why would these women’s groups repeat the story, especially considering just how demeaning and dehumanizing it is to women for these liberal groups to reduce them to their gender or reproductive organs? They’re surprisingly frank about their answer:

“Democrats do not just get mad when they hear those words. They cash in.

“In fact, they are trying to find even more examples by tracking Republican opponents, their surrogates and conservative news media personalities, then blasting their comments out to supporters to build voter lists and drum up donations, casting aside the well-worn advice to shrug off sexist comments lest they draw attention to gender over issues.”

This explains the faux outrage over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” remark. Of course Romney didn’t mean anything sexist. But a waiting Democratic machine pounced and turned Romney’s inocent words into a fund-raising and base-mobilizing bonanza.

We must admit—and Mandel cautions us to do so—that there are unfortunate instances of sexist language against Democratic women. It doesn’t rise to the level of the sexist language Democrats use against Republican women, but it is there. It should not be condoned. Still, many of the “outrages” are ginned up for political purposes:  

One is tempted to suggest that all this would be easier if the Democrats’ ministry of communications would just publish a book of what words and phrases Republicans are permitted to say in America. But that would defeat the purpose, which is, liberals explain, to ensure Republicans say the wrong thing so the left can raise money, as a former Obama official made startlingly clear:

“It comes down to your ability to not just ride the wave, but create the wave,” said Marie Danzig, deputy digital director for Mr. Obama’s 2012 campaign and head of creative and delivery at Blue State Digital, which works with Emily’s List.

If would not be possible for the Democrats to get by with this cynical ploy if they didn’t have the media on their side. In a post on media coverage of religious liberty issues at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway takes note of the way in which the left uses the “war on women” as a ploy to destroy “people who don’t toe the line.”

Still, the “war on women” will be a key issue in the midterms. My colleague Carrie Lukas writes about this over at National Review and asks if the GOP will be ready. The GOP, Carrie notes, must do more than avoid gaffes. It must show that its policies are actually better for women. So far, Republicans have been flat-footed in responding to the “war on women” rhetoric.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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