Feminists Furious About Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’ SOTU Rebuttal
Feminists Furious About Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’ SOTU Rebuttal
It was inevitable. It happens whenever a conservative female Republican dares to be vocal about their political beliefs. Last night, President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech. The rebuttal for the GOP was delivered by Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers. And she did well — even the liberal media is begrudgingly admitting that.
Shockingly, the woman chosen to deliver the GOP’s rebuttal spoke about conservative policies. This has just infuriated the self-proclaimed feminists, who are all outraged that the woman-hating Republicans let a woman talk, or something.
First up is the ever-inclusive Amanda Marcotte:
After demonstrating some enthusiasm for the working gals on camera, double down on the attacks on reproductive rights. This was left to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who gave the official GOP response speech. Most of the speech was vague platitudes, but a large chunk of it was driving home the message that she had three kids, one with Down syndrome, in six years while also being a congresswoman. “Cole, and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life—that whether we are born with an extra 21st chromosome or without a dollar to our name—we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential,” she said. The insinuation was quite clear: Anyone who thinks they need those birth control pills and legal abortions in order to avoid poverty and advance in their careers is a weakling who can’t cut it and certainly doesn’t deserve the easy access that Democrats advocate for.
It’s easy to see what’s going on with this rhetoric. It’s an attempt to pit married mothers against all other women, by flattering married mothers with images of how hard working and sexually restrained they are while suggesting that all those other women—the single mother and the childless woman who doesn’t have to leave work early to get her kids out of day care—are either lazy, spoiled, or immoral. As Hanna Rosin wrote here at Slate on Tuesday, Rodgers is the new ideal for Republicans: “Pen in one hand, baby in the other, having it all, all by herself.” The hope is that they can take the sting out of the phrase the “war on women” by highlighting women who don’t “need” those icky reproductive rights to get ahead. It’s an intriguing strategy, though one that likely underestimates how many married mothers also see themselves as people who need contraception and even abortion access. But will the narrative survive the ultimate test, when Hillary Clinton runs for president and reminds the public that there are plenty of married mothers who support the rights of all women, regardless of their marital or reproductive activity?
Then there was Hanna Rosin, who was just, like, so confused. You mean women don’t need government handouts?
The social values and the workaholic lifestyle sometimes make for a confusing message. McMorris Rodgers says she supports the “traditional family,” but in front of women’s groups she sometimes sounds like an overeager feminist, quoting Alexis de Tocqueville on the American woman’s “confidence” and “independence,” citing statistics that women manage 83 percent of the nation’s household income. She also invokes Margaret Thatcher: “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”
But in public policy terms, the swaggering-woman rhetoric translates into “don’t ask for handouts.” McMorris Rodgers has voted like a standard conservative, for cuts to nearly every social service. She voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and in favor of cutting funding for birth control. Last year, she supported a version of the Violence Against Women Act that excluded gay, immigrant, and Native American women, calling them a “side issue.” And her constituents once delivered empty milk bottles to her office to protest her support for cuts in the “WIC” nutritional program. The war on women, Matt Yglesias points out, is not about symbols. It’s about public policy. So if you want something like that done, ask another woman.
But the most despicable attack comes, as usual, from the trolls at Jezebel, who even sunk so low as to mock her speaking about her child with Down syndrome.
McMorris Rodgers, in addition to being a rare powerful woman in the GOP’s overwhelmingly male House leadership, is staunchly anti-abortion, and often uses the fact that she has a son with Down Syndrome as a way to bolster her position with pathos. And last night was no exception. I have a son with Down Syndrome and everything worked out just perfectly for my family, reasons the power woman with the stay-at-home husband who collects a Navy pension, and so therefore no one, anywhere, ever should have abortions. It’s some pretty masterful anti-abortion dog whistle talk.
… But wait! Turns out that while the GOP wasn’t tapping its thin ranks of women to say Republican-approved talking points to TV cameras, they spent the day busily passing House Resolution 7, aka the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act. HR7, apart from being a waste of time that will never even be up for discussion in the Democrat-controlled Senate, would bar private insurance carriers who operate on the Obamacare exchanges from offering abortion coverage to women who buy policies with their own money. It would also allow women to deduct abortion-related medical expenses from their taxes if and only if they can prove to the IRS that those abortions were the product of incest or rape (And you thought hiring an accountant who moonlights as a gynecologist was impractical). It’s a garbage, wingnut pandering, dead-in-the-water bill with insulting implications. But remember: the GOP loves women. They let two women talk last night.
So remember, ladies, if you start feeling all conservative and stuff, remember: Republicans hate you. All of them. Because women all need birth control and abortions and even if you don’t agree with that, keep your mouth shut, because FEMINISM!
The entire argument relies on the notion that all women feel the same way about every issue, including birth control and abortion. The ones that don’t are brainwashed traitors to the sisterhood, mere slaves to the patriarchy. Because women couldn’t possibly have different opinions about stuff, right?
Nevermind that no one in the Republican party is talking about outlawing birth control. Feminazis talk about birth control like it’s in danger of being made illegal, because to them, if something isn’t subsidized, then that clearly means it’s not readily available. Women couldn’t possibly get birth control for like $4 at Walmart or anything. Us weak little women need the government to do it for us, and anyone who disagrees with that? Well, they must clearly hate women!
As a woman, it is absolutely infuriating having to see this crap whenever a Republican woman speaks up. The liberal femisogynists attacked Sarah Palin, despite the fact that she was a powerful female politician who worked her way up to become governor of Alaska, while having a loving, supportive husband and a great family. It didn’t matter, because she didn’t have the “right” beliefs. When Nikki Haley was being savaged in the media, the feminazis didn’t come to her defense. She’s a woman, but she doesn’t matter — she had an (R) behind her name.
Feminism was about equality for women. It was never meant to define which issues women should or shouldn’t stand behind. It also didn’t insult women by trying to outline for them which positions were the “correct” ones (like Amanda Marcotte so helpfully does). Women have brains of their own, thank you very much, and can decide for themselves what positions they agree or disagree with.
Today’s pseudo-feminists, though, are the exact opposite. They claim to speak for and support women. But if those women don’t have the “right” beliefs, those same so-called feminists will mock, attack, and smear them without mercy. They claim to want strong women, to be empowering, yet 99% of their modern platform revolves around getting the government to provide everything for them. Yet Republican women are somehow the weak girls? How is that, exactly? It certainly doesn’t seem like it takes much strength to accept handouts from the government. It isn’t empowering to tell women that they can’t do anything without Uncle Sam providing it for them. Women can’t get birth control unless it’s subsidized by taxpayers! Women aren’t strong enough to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, so abortion! Women need universal health care, because Europe! Women must be liberals, or they’re traitors for the patriarchy!
And this is what they call empowerment. There’s no actual strength, no resilience or empowerment or the capability to do anything for themselves. A strong woman to the feminazis is a woman who has the government pay for her birth control, her abortions, her health care, and has a government-mandated salary. Meanwhile, women who actually think women are capable of, you know, doing this on their own — that women are strong enough to not need the government holding their hand for their entire lives — are derided as weak. As traitors.
The only thing that matters to feminazis is that a woman is a liberal feminist extremist. If you don’t fit the bill, like Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, then don’t dare make the mistake of expecting that today’s modern feminists will speak for you. They’ll rip you to shreds, and then claim they did it in the name of being pro-woman.