As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Stating The Obvious

I'm very pleased that Debbie Stabenow and Debbie Wasserman Schultz called out the sexism of the GOP yesterday.

The call targeted Republican gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Viriginia, as well as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Republicans in general.

"I think we have an outdated view, an extreme view, a lack of understanding of what women's lives are like today and the role of women in America," Stabenow said. She wouldn't, however, use the word "sexist."

The lawmakers cited Republicans' opposition to health care reform as evidence, since women are usually in charge of their families' health care, and are disproportionately hurt by current health insurance policy.

But they also called out the NRCC's statement yesterday about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, specifically that Gen. Stanley McChrystal "should put her in her place." That, said Wasserman-Schultz, is evidence of "a total lack of respect for women."

"It's perhaps understandable they wouldn't understand the needs of women," she added, saying 80 percent of House Republicans are men. (Although no one said "sexism" on the call, Wasserman-Schultz appeared on MSNBC soon after and said the NRCC comment "shows the shocking sexism in the Republican party today.)

Stabenow, who recently got into a tussle with her Finance Committee colleague Kyl, said she was shocked by the Republicans' attitude toward things like requiring insurers to cover basic maternity care.

"One of the most shocking things of the Senate Finance Committee markup was the extent to which my Republican colleagues weren't even aware of what they were saying that was so offensive to women," she said. Maternity care "is not a frill. This is not an extra for the majority of Americans who happen to be women."

In fact, it's Chris Christie's position on women's health issues, particularly mammograms, that is killing him in New Jersey. My sister-in-law, who lives in NJ, just finished her breast cancer treatments, and under Christie her health plan wouldn't have had to cover the early detection procedure that caught the tumor. Why should he care, as a white man? He doesn't need a mammogram or a papsmear.

Wasserman Schultz went further with her criticism on MSNBC:

"I think the place for a woman is at the top of the House of Representatives," said Wasserman Schultz.

"It's evidence they long for the days when a woman's place was in the kitchen. Now a woman is third in line for the presidency... But it's not surprising, coming from a party that's 80 percent male and 100 percent white," she added, referring to the composition of the House GOP conference.

We are a terrible country when it comes to female political representation, and the crap they have to go through probably enters into that. You have one political party that feels no compunction against acting like it's 1952 and women in politics are their secretaries. And that has a real-world effect on women's health and women's pay issues, among other things. Wasserman Schultz is absolutely right to push back on this.

As I was saying. When you have sexual harrassers like Bill O'Reilly leering at you every day, why would you want to deal with that? And I know he's talking to Michele Bachmann, who's in another stratosphere and clearly doesn't care, but this is the approach of the old boy's network. It's kind of sickening.

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