Metropolitik: Is GOP ‘war on women’ just a Fluke?

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum thinks the insurance mandate debate 
is about protecting liberty,not restricting it. Tell us what you think: Letters@metro.us

For complaints, suggestions and digital attaboys, e-mail us at brayden.simms@metro.us.

Is the Republican party waging a “War on Women,” and if so, are they winning it? The answers to these questions depend on whether you perceive the nasty legislative battle over the Obama administration’s health care mandate as one over religious liberty or women’s reproductive health.

Leading Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum say the president is trampling religious freedom by forcing employers to comply with a national health care law requiring insurers to provide contraceptive services for women. A Bloomberg poll released Wednesday reports that 62 percent of respondents think otherwise. (The poll also indicated that Democrats aren’t actually benefiting from the debate.)

So just what are Republican legislators doing? Following the failure to pass the controversial Blunt Amendment — which would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage if it violated their beliefs, like, for instance, devout mysoginists — national lawmakers largely abandoned the issue, if not the rhetoric. But at least nine Republican-led states aren’t ready to move on, proposing to expand contraception exemptions or moving symbolic condemnations of the law. In Arizona, lawmakers take their support of religious liberty a step further than others, working to legalize firing workers over birth control use.

What began with fallout over the Komen foundation’s now-rescinded decision to unfund Planned Parenthood and led to the Virginia invasive ultrasound bill (imposing barriers on a woman’s choice to abort) segued effortlessly into the character assassination of Sandra Fluke — which has now devolved into attacks over the student activist’s “rich socialist boyfriend” and a vacation that apparently included some alcohol consumption.

Then on Thursday, the story grew to envelop a Senate fight over the Violence Against Women Act, which provides funding to investigate domestic violence, passed with bipartisan consensus in 1994. Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly says the law led to “divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men.” Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski cautioned her party that it was “at risk of being successfully painted as anti-woman,” The New York Times reported.

Whichever side you sit on, it’s hard not to connect the dots here. Republicans accuse Democrats of political point-scoring; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Dems were “manufacturing fights” over the Women Act. (Murkowski doesn’t see it that way. “This is too important an issue for women and men and families that we not address it,” she said.)

McConnell’s argument isn’t, of course, unimaginable — U.S. politics seem to be a no-holds-barred arena. But, in response, why are Republican legislators playing into this narrative? Maybe it’s because, despite public outrage, they think they’re the ones winning all the points. Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review certainly thinks so: “The issue is likely to help Republicans in the fall, if they can keep their wits about them,” he writes. For the current field of Republican presidential candidates, that’s a very big “if.”


Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.