RMC Responds: As Women Celebrate Griswold Anniversary, GOP Still in the DarkPosted: June 7, 2013
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This week, in response to a post about the GOP’s difficulties with the issue of contraception, Cathy commented that “The Republican Party has gotten out of touch with today’s voter and especially with woman’s issues. Voters views have changed due to a changed society. The Republican Party has to change with times or it will die. We have to change to meet today’s current challenges.”
We appreciate Cathy’s observation, and as Republicans agree that Party leadership needs to do more than change their talking points in order keep up with the times and move into the future. In fact, this week has presented the perfect opportunity to discuss the need for smarter, more effective policies in addition to new strategies– not to mention P.R.
The GOP leadership should be listening to the base majority of GOP voters who want to move on from the mistakes of 2012, yet the party rhetoric appears to have changed little; this week alone, multiple statements were made by Republicans talking heads that blamed working mothers for social and educational declines. And one GOP Senator even made a callous response to the growing problem of rape in the military, blaming these horrific sexual assaults on the “hormone level created by nature.” These comments have shocked and disgusted mainstream Republicans across the country– and in response, the left has had to do little more than resume their previous talking points in order to paint our entire party as behind the times. It just takes one week and a few ignorant statements before it appears that 2012 is playing out all over again. Why Republican leadership would expect a different result this time around remains a mystery.
Democratic strategists are all too happy with these ongoing GOP missteps as they work to keep mainstream voters, women, and younger voters in their column. This week they issued a letter to potential Republican candidates in 2014 Senate races requesting that candidates denounce the recent sexist remarks made by their peers, and also declared that the right’s “war on women” had resumed, even referencing last year’s highly offensive rape comments made by candidate Todd Akin.
While our opponents were quick to pick up on Republican mistakes, GOP elected leaders seem somehow oblivious to the adverse effects of these shortcomings. Earlier in the year, the Republican National Committee issued a report analyzing the weaknesses in their 2012 election strategy, and just this week the College National Republican Committee came out with a similar report focused on the GOP’s heavy losses among young voters. These reports should be the perfect starting point for the reworking of the Republican Party, yet each was shockingly lacking in real ideas for change. Instead, the reports were riddled with excuses about image and skewed perspectives from the left. The problem remains, however, that voters rejected not only outrageous GOP statements and delivery, but also the underlying policies and content pushed by loud-talking extremists. If the GOP continues to ignore its own majority, spout offensive comments, and wage war against contraceptives and responsible family planning, no amount of rebranding can make the party appeal to the majority of voters.
Party leaders need to wake up now and realize that if they do not change, neither will election results, and the party will find itself in rapid decline. This is the perfect opportunity for the GOP to make fundamental changes and focus on the Republican values that first drew people to the party. If they continue as they are now, however, ideals of economic responsibility will become a casualty of the now broadly echoed “war on women”.
The solution is simple. Party leaders need to adopt a platform that is more tolerant, returns to the big-tent, and focuses on solutions over grandstanding. As long as the Democrats can refer back to the GOP’s antiquated views on contraception and sex education, we will never be able to move forward. Women across the nation this week celebrate the anniversary of the ground-breaking Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, yet Republican leaders are still focused on issues that were relevant at the time of that decision 48 years ago. If, however, Republicans now rework the party itself, we can shift the focus of national conversation to values of economy and liberty that will have mass appeal and set the foundation for a promising future.