As we all know, treating women like normal human beings can't be expected to come naturally. Especially if you're a poor member of the Republican party. According to Politico, Republican candidates are now being taught in special sessions with the National Republican Congressional Committee how to speak to women — whether it's a female political opponent, or a friendly female constituent. Sigh.
Ever since they lost the 2012 election, the GOP has been in the midst of a (so far largely unsuccessful) rebrand. The solution? Obviously, to create a course that sounds a lot like "Women 101." As Politico reports:
The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure there are no Todd Akin-style gaffes next year, so it’s meeting with top aides of sitting Republicans to teach them what to say — or not to say — on the trail, especially when their boss is running against a woman.
Speaker John Boehner is serious, too. His own top aides met recently with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents.
“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” said a Republican staffer who attended the session in Boehner’s office.
There have been “multiple sessions” with the NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] where aides to incumbents were schooled in “messaging against women opponents,” one GOP aide said.
We're not quite sure what this means. Even if science says that male and female brains are wired differently, this all smacks of mansplaining. How can they adopt this as a campaign-training strategy when so many of their policies are perceived as bad for women in the first place?
The GOP knows it has a woman-problem. According to an early-October National Journal poll, only 14 percent of American women think the GOP has "moved closer" to their views. One-third say it's moved further away. Fifty-nine percent of women now think the GOP is too conservative. Even Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry's wife admitted that abortion is a women's right — before Hubby quickly hushed her, telling the media that oh goodness, she didn't really mean it — the silly woman didn't know what she was saying!
Of the 20 female senators in Congress right now (which, by the way, is a record), only four are Republican. Even Republican strategists have spoken about the lack of Republican rapport with women within the party. John McCain's former advisor and 'political operative' Steve Schmidt:
I think in any organization where women are not at the table,where it is skewed male in today’s day and age, that’s an organization that’s deficient. That’s an organization that’s going to have problems. It’s one of the problems we have structurally in the Republican Party. We don’t have enough women at the table. But any company, any organization in today’s day and age that doesn’t give equal opportunity to women, that doesn’t advance women to the table, is going to be an organization that has difficulty competing.
Meanwhile, Democrats aren't training their candidates how to win against female opponents. Instead, they're recruiting women candidates to give voice to female concerns in a still overwhelmingly male Congress.
“Our essential strategy is to recruit problem-solvers. And with this Republican Congress having been so destructive to the concerns women have, we are putting a special emphasis on recruiting women who will end those problems,” said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Like all parents tell their children, it's not the words but the actions that count. And until the GOP changes its policies to reflect the views of American women, all the mansplaining in the world isn't going to help them much.