If you want to know why the Republicans are delusional in their hope that they will close the gender gap, all you need to do is take a look at Romney-surrogate Ed Gillespie’s failed appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Gillespie was pimping two lies that are supposed to immunize the campaign from criticism on women’s issues. The first lie is that over 90% of the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession were lost by women. When Chris Wallace pointed out that this was somewhere between highly misleading and completely untrue, Gillsepie accused the fact-checkers of having a liberal bias.
The second lie was that Mitt Romney didn’t really mean it when he said he would get rid of Planned Parenthood. And, while it’s true that he would eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, that doesn’t mean that he would “defund it.”
“Federal funding of abortion is not a noble thing to do. And so, defunding from a federal budget perspective of Planned Parenthood is not the same thing. […]
“[I]t’s not fair to say not having federal funding for Planned Parenthood is defunding Planned Parenthood.”
What does this leave us with? I guess we can be happy that Romney won’t make it illegal for you and me to make a donation to Planned Parenthood. But that’s not much to be happy about because Planned Parenthood would not exist without federal funding. That’s the whole point. In context, that’s what Romney said he would do. He was talking about eliminating subsidies and programs to help balance the budget.
“You get rid of Obamacare, but there are others,” Romney [told] the station. “Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.”
Does anyone think Amtrak will exist without federal subsidies? Of course not. And neither will Planned Parenthood.
These two talking points (about female unemployment and Planned Parenthood) are so stupid and misleading and dishonest that they cannot even fly on Fox News Sunday. That means their effectiveness will be limited to the people who exclusively watch Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Perhaps these talking points aren’t even good enough for O’Reilly, who seems to have an unpredictable bullshit detector that does occasionally go off.
And what is the point of these talking points? In the first case, it’s saying that “we’re bad, but Obama’s worse..” And, in the second case, it’s saying “it depends on what the meaning of ‘defund’ is.”
These are not winning arguments even when you have the facts on your side, which is not the case here.
The problem really boils down the fact that the modern GOP cannot agree that the federal government should do anything. And that includes doing anything that women might appreciate more than men. They can’t come out with some set of policies that might interest women because the policy is that there are no policies. Are they going to increase the minimum wage? Chase down deadbeat dads? Help lower the cost of college loans? Include contraception in health care plans? Help women afford day care? Keep abortion legal? Improve maternity leave?
No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
Think of any idea you want to that might benefit women. Now imagine the likelihood of the Republicans funding that idea on the federal level.
See? It’s impossible to imagine. They have no women’s agenda. The agenda they have is uniformly hostile to what women already have under the law.
The Republicans cannot parse their way of this. The gender gap will actually grow rather than shrink if they continue to insist that the federal government cannot and should not do anything to help women and that the most important thing is not to help women but to stop helping them.