Branding Women

BrandThat GOP rebranding effort is made all the more difficult by Republicans at various levels of government who are getting in their own way.  The problems are visible in economic issues, as well as social ones.

Home Economics

H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act, is currently stalled in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and there’s a discharge petition to blast it back into consideration on the House Floor.  Representative Dina Titus (D-NV1) and Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV4) have signed the petition, as have another 191 members of Congress as of Thursday, April 25, 2013.  Noticeably absent are the signatures of Nevada Representatives Heck and Amodei, both Republicans.

The bill simply states that wage rate differentials are to be based on experience, education, and training — not merely on gender.  It also provides for collecting statistics on employment and the publication of the data.   The part which usually causes groans, moans, and predictable grimaces from Republicans might be:

Revises the prohibition against employer retaliation for employee complaints. Prohibits retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee or another employee in response to a complaint or charge, or in furtherance of a sex discrimination investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, or an investigation conducted by the employer.

Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or (except for the federal government) punitive damages.  [CRS]

The standard GOP response to these kinds of provisions is (1) The Trial Lawyers are Coming, The Trial Lawyers are Coming; and, (2) Onerous Government Infringements on Your Liberty! Your Freedom! Both are nonsense.

The problem isn’t anything new; consider this from 2010:

Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 — even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming. Female secretaries, for instance, earn just 83.4% as much as male ones.

This has economic implications for 50.8% of the American population, or 49.5% of the Nevada population — women.  It also has evident connections to Nevada’s median household income ($55,553) in which the female’s contribution to household revenue is, on average, worth about 75 cents of every dollar contributed by the male partner.   IF members of the Republican Party are serious about improving the micro-economics of the average Nevada home, then insuring pay equity would be a good place to start.  The Discharge Petition needs 218 signatures to reach the floor — the ‘John Hancocks’ of Congressmen Heck and Amodei would be helpful.

Home Not-S0-Sweet-Home

Under the convenient rhetoric of “Liberty” and “Big Government,” lie some inconvenient attitudes on display from various levels of Republican leadership.

It’s Big Government if gender pay equity solutions are under discussion. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to allow government intrusion into private family decisions like contraception and birth control.  Heaven Forefend, a family should debate abortion options in private!   The Republican Party seems to have no problems at all when it comes to calling in the Big Government to prohibit abortion procedures.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a Fetal Personhood Bill, S. 583, on March 14, 2013, under the terms of which a fetus would have 14th Amendment rights.  As noted previously, could a fetus decide that the economic circumstances of the family to which it was about to be born were insufficient for its grand plans and sue for emancipation?  Personally, I would like to see a fetus challenge Citizens United.

Anti-Choice bills have also been introduced by Representative Diane Black (R-TN) HR 940 and HR 217;  by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) HR 447;  Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) HR 732; Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) HR 61; Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) HR 1091; Senator David Vitter (R-LA) S. 138;  Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) HR 1122;  Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) HR 23; Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-OK) S. 154; Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) S. 356;  and the list goes on.

Anyone operating on the comforting delusion that the newly formed 113th Congress will be less focused on anti-choice legislation and more intent on JOBS and bills to improve the economic situation of American families will be sorely disappointed.

The GOP still hasn’t quite found its footing on Women’s Issues.  Perhaps this could be because it hasn’t quieted those voices within it ranks for whom women are variously mobile wombs, ranting radicals, or irresponsible sows at the public trough.

Leading GOP spokesperson Rush Limbaugh’s memorable misogynistic rants in regard to Sandra Fluke’s testimony on behalf of women who need contraceptive medication to avoid complications of ovarian disorders are echoed by an Albuquerque Republican who called a minimum wage increase advocate “names” on social media — and who later said (a lá Limbaugh) he was “just joking.” [ABJ] [TP]

Opposed to sexual violence, and want to “Take Back The Night?” Then expect some moron, such as the notable example in Arizona, who preaches that “Women Are Asking For It.” [TP] At Dartmouth sexual assault protesters were threatened with rape.  [TP] Or, call for police assistance too often to report domestic violence?  You could be facing a police department pressuring your landlord to evict you.  [TP]  Had enough of hearing about Steubenville, OH? There’s a new example from Michigan. [TP]  There’s a thread running through all these unfortunate incidents.

Women are undeserving of full consideration as human beings.  They are responsible for the exercise of male transgressions.  They are prey for the predators and it’s the woman’s fault if…if almost anything.  It’s a woman’s fault if a man is unsatisfied…in nearly all realms of human endeavor.   Can’t establish a meaningful long term relationship with the fair sex? Blame the Femi-Nazis?  Can’t get and hold a job? Blame the radical feminists for demanding employment?  Can’t understand the point a person is making about medical conditions or employment situations?  Call names! Like, “Radical Bitch.”  Want a simplistic solution to the complex personal issues involved in family planning? Just rail about abortion.

So long as Congress turns its attention to abortion more often than it does to women’s health, as long as radio ranters validate the misogyny of the disgruntled, so long as corporate interests can insert their anti-labor message into the parlance of economic discussions of wage rate equity — we will have trouble addressing the problems facing American families.  The GOP is still branding women, instead of rebranding their own party.

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