Pick Wayne's Brain

May 19, 2012

Really, Michele? Really?

I need the help of someone who lives in Minnesota, preferably in Michele Bachmann’s district I just received an e-mail from her (I sign up for newsletters from several Republicans just to see what kind of crap they spew to their supposed supporters, of which I am not one) in which she claimed something rather dubious in veracity. Let me quote the first part of the e-mail:

There’s an old joke about a married couple that’s asked about their hobbies and interests. The husband says he’s focused on “important things” — like the federal budget, health care reform and peace in the Middle East. The wife says she’s focused on the “small things” — like their household budget, their children’s health care and keeping peace within their family.

There’s an important truth here. The things that women focus on and the decisions they make are often unappreciated — but they’re the foundation of our society.

A few facts should give you a better picture: Women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases; they make 85 percent of all health care decisions; they start two out of three new businesses, and for the first time in history, they’re a majority of the U.S. workforce.

Despite all the challenges that our nation faces — from the economy to health care to the national debt — this is an exciting time for American women. When it comes to our quality of life and the opportunities before us, there has never been a better time and place to be a woman than today in the United States.

That’s what makes the Democrats’ message to American women so strange and unsettling. For the past few months, the Democrats have been accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women” as if some honest disagreements between the parties — over matters like how an “Obamacare” mandate should affect religious institutions or the proper scope of federal law on tribal land — constitute a deliberate GOP campaign to take away women’s rights.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and Republican women have been at the forefront exposing these myths. Let’s face it: Republican women — like us — would never be part of a party that didn’t believe in women’s rights, equal pay for equal work and strong laws against sexual violence. The Republican Party believes in all of those things.

Okay, that’s where I had to stop and scratch my head. “…would never be part of party that didn’t believe in women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, and strong laws against sexual violence.” Really, Michele? Really? Just to pick one, I looked up the roll call vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Can you guess which party voted overwhelmingly against it? (No fair Googling the answer.) If you guessed the Republicans, you were “dead-on-balls accurate.” (It’s an industry term.) And how did Ms Bachmann vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? She, like many of her Republican colleagues, including the women, voted against it. Now, maybe her reason for voting against it had to do with some other, less-publicized, less well-known provision of the act. That would be surprising, as it was the goal of the Democrats to get that bill passed so President Obama could sign it as one of his first pieces of legislation, so why would they risk things by putting something in it that could jeopardize its passage? Or maybe she was one of those morons (like Pete Hoekstra) who thought it was a “nuisance” to small businesses to pay their female employees the same pay for the same work their male counterparts receive. (Really, Pete? Really? Paying equal pay for equal work is a “nuisance”? But let’s let him be the subject of another post.)

Near the end of her newsletter, Bachmann makes another false claim: “We’re also the only party in the past 25 years to nominate a woman for vice president.” Firstly, the only reason she has to qualify it by saying “the last 25 years” was because the late Geraldine Ferraro was nominated to be vice president by the Democrats in 1984. But even without that caveat, there have been other women nominated to be presidents and vice presidents since before women were even allowed to vote. Just because they weren’t from one of the two major political parties doesn’t mean they didn’t count. I chalk that one up to the binary thinking too prevalent in conservative thinking. There are always two, and only two, choices. You’re for it or your against it. You vote for Democrats or you vote for Republicans. You’re either completely self-reliant or you’re completely dependent on the government. (Neither of those is at all true.) That people with thinking like this even get elected is, to me, a sad, sad commentary on American Democracy.

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