November 12 2012
If we learned one thing after last Tuesday’s election, it’s that the Republican Party isn’t reaching female voters with its message.
That’s why I’m paying close attention to another important vote taking place this week. It won’t get the viewership of the presidential race, but Republican lawmakers in the House are voting on the chairmanship for the House Republican Conference. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) — currently the HRC vice chairwoman — is running against Rep. Tom Price (Ga.).
McMorris Rodgers released this video today explaining her positions on the bailouts, energy policy, and the hideous War on Women.
While I’ve never advocated for electing a woman simply because she’s a woman, it’s time to at least acknowledge that the GOP is not just a party of older white men. The reality is Republicans have a slate of strong, talented, fiscally conservative female lawmakers who are poised to communicate the message that (to borrow from the title of my book) liberty is no war on women.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party lost some key lawmakers last week, namely Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), and it can’t afford to ignore the remaining female voices that understand and can communicate how progressive policies fail women.
Conservatives — and by extension Republicans — shy away from playing gender politics. However, in their effort not to “pander” to women, it seems they’ve forgotten that women make up more than 50 percent of the electorate. While lawmakers don’t need to speak to women about so-called “women’s issues,” they can’t afford to ignore them.
Electing McMorris Rodgers to the chairmanship would be a step in the right direction. As she said in an interview with The Hill, “I don’t think it’s about the Republican Party needing to become more moderate. I really believe it’s the Republican Party becoming more modern.”
Republicans need to make sure they don’t wait another four years to trot female lawmakers out in front of the cameras. Don’t treat these women as tokens. Treat them as ambassadors to a public that has been systematically miseducated about what the GOP is and what it stands for.
The Republican Party is brimming with attractive "minorities" and women whom the media too often ignore: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, Kristi Noem and on and on.
They’ve got it. Maybe now it’s time to flaunt it.