It was slim pickings.
One GOP candidate, Art Gardner, concedes a woman has the “right to exercise control over her own body.” Eugene Yu and David Perdue don’t mention women’s issues. The others say they’re anti-abortion.
And that’s it as far as women are concerned.
But there are many issues besides abortion conservative women care about. If, for example, they work outside the home, conservative women want to earn the same pay as men for performing the same job, not 77 cents on the dollar the Census Bureau says they’re getting.
They certainly don’t want their sons and daughters serving in the military if there’s a chance they’ll be sexually assaulted by their superiors.
Conservative women want high quality public school education for their children, pre-K through 12.
And they don’t want their parents’ Social Security or Medicare cut or privatized as Representatives Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston hope to do.
Progressives are talking about all these issues. Conservative candidates aren’t, perhaps because they’re taking the votes of conservative women for granted.
There also seems to be a pervasive hostility toward women among right wing males that even conservative women are beginning to acknowledge.
“I’m not sure what’s worse: conservatives ignoring women’s issues or conservatives addressing them,” Christina Hoff Sommers, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said recently. “Conservative leaders and funders, they don’t take women’s issues seriously.”
She’s right. We already know about “binders of women,” outlawed contraception, “legitimate rape,” aspirin between your knees, rape as God’s will, and female “libidos,” all ignorantly offensive comments directed at women by conservative men.
Instead of being chastened, however, conservative men are doubling down on their demeaning rhetoric.
In Texas, state Sen. Wendy Davis is running for governor against Attorney General Greg Abbott. Davis has an up-from-her-bootstraps story that many Texas women have found inspirational.
In response, Abbott made the calculated decision to invite Ted Nugent to his campaign even though the over-the-hill rocker has attacked progressive women with language so vilely misogynistic it can’t be repeated in a family newspaper.
Incidentally, this is the same Nugent Bob Barr welcomed to his local congressional campaign.
“Abbott’s embrace of Ted Nugent … is an insult to every woman,” noted Davis.
Also insulting was Sen. Rand Paul’s smirking comments about Hillary Clinton: “Bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns. … Now it’s not Hillary’s fault. This was with regard to the Clintons. It’s hard enough to separate one from the other.”
No, it’s not hard. Hillary Clinton has a laudable record as a United States senator and internationally respected Secretary of State.
After three years in the Senate, Paul has achieved little. But he isn’t the first man to suggest a wife is to blame for her husband’s philandering or that a woman can’t amount to anything without a man’s help.
A recent Wall Street Journal poll, by the way, has Hillary crushing Paul by 20 percentage points in a mock presidential race.
Then there is reproductive health. Women know birth control pills have other important indications besides contraception such as treating polycystic ovary syndrome, amenorrhea, and lowering the risk of ovarian cancer.
Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, accurately explained to Congress in 2012 that the Catholic university’s ban on providing birth control pills in its health insurance plan was hurting women.
“It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford contraception,” brayed 63-year-old Rush Limbaugh, whose fourth wife is not much older than Fluke.
Not a single Republican leader condemned Limbaugh.
With male “friends” like these, conservative women don’t need enemies.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.