I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar . . .
Well, it’s almost a year now since Willard Romney limped offstage and exactly nine months, almost to the day, that the Republican National Committee floated its 100-page manifesto for The Great Rebranding of 2013: The Growth and Opportunity Project (GOP—get it? how clever is that?).
The GOP was chock full of searing insights and smart advice for a titanic course adjustment and anyone unfamiliar with the actual Republican Party might have thought “by Jingo, I think they’ve got it!”
The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.
Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need . . . a route into our Party that a non-traditional Republican will want to travel. Our standard should not be universal purity; it should be a more welcoming conservatism.
The Republican Party must focus its efforts to earn new supporters and voters in the following demographic communities: Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth. This priority needs to be a continual effort that affects every facet of our Party’s activities, including our messaging, strategy, outreach, and budget.
AMEN! Y’all . . . a regular Rainbow Coalition, feel me?
Fast forward to mid-November, 2013 and the rainbow has faded to a white stripe. Immigration reform? a goner. Mumble mumble something something Marco Rubio. African Americans? as long as they have photo ID and can cut out of one of their “workin for food stamps” jobs to stand in line for a day. Youth? get a job. And pay back that loan! LGBTs don’t even make the list of potential GOP converts because . . . EWWWW!!1!
Not to worry, though, because there’s still a minority (that’s actually a majority) to focus on. WIMMEN!
Word! if it wasn’t for women, The Cooch would totally be governor.
And so it is that three white gals in Alexandria, VA with good resumes, au pairs and Gelicures have undertaken to teach Republican candidates how to talk Woman. They call themselves Burning Glass Consulting “a reference to what they see as the need for a focus on appealing to women that is so laserlike that it can burn glass.”
Because? who wouldn’t want to burn glass? except that glass doesn’t burn? it melts. And a “burning glass” is not a laser, it’s the magnifying glass you use to set last week’s homework, your little brother’s arm hairs, or the neighborhood ants on fire. In fact, if you use a laser (not included) to burn your “burning glass”—no more “burning glass.”
That’s a little muddled and, well, I’ll just say it—a somewhat disturbing image to project but, I guess they figure all of their clients will be men who generally like to burn stuff and absolutely love lasers. So that’s OK, I guess.
So. Who exactly are Burning Glass Consulting, you ask? Well, let’s see there’s Katie Packer Gage, who served proudly as Deputy Campaign Manager of the 2012 Romney for President Campaign.
Now, at least one prominent Republican, recently, said that:
. . . political advice from people who ran the Romney campaign is probably something nobody should really give a darn about . . .
But he’s not a True Conservative, anyway, so he doesn’t count . . .
Then there’s Ashley O’Connor, the Romney Campaign’s Director of Advertising who distinguished herself by creating one of the most discredited ads of the 2012 presidential race. You know, the one that said that President Obama encouraged welfare freeloaders by doing away with work requirements? The one that Politifact rated “Pants on Fire’’ wrong? and the Washington Post gave four Pinocchios? and FactCheck.org said: “It’s simply not true?”
Yeh. That ad.
Well, Ms. O’Connor stood up for that effort, thus:
It’s a strong ad that holds the president responsible for his actions and gets us back to talking about the issues . . . We’re trying to reach undecided voters who supported Obama in 2008 and don’t think he lives up to his promises.
So what if it’s a pack of lies, and it’s “holding him responsible” for something he didn’t do, as long as it delivers up some undecided voters? Clearly, Ms O’Connor has the right stuff to handle BGC’s messaging. Besides, women are so busy and dizzy they’ll never check facts.
And, finally, every strategy shop needs a pollster and that’s where Christine Matthews, President of Bellwether Research comes in. And what a pleasant surprise! after doing a good bit of digging, I’m ready to pronounce Ms. Matthews saner-than-most-Republican-operatives. And her polls didn’t even require skewing.
According to the Burning Glass Consulting website, BGC’s guiding principle is straight out of the RNC’s aforementioned Growth and Opportunity Plan: “Women are not a Coalition,” despite the fact that Republican Candidates treat them as such. What’s needed, according to BGC is “Women’s messaging . . . with the nuance needed to make a strong connection.”
The service that BGC is selling is described as “effectively communicating with women voters.”
Why is this all starting to make me feel like some exotic life-form? I’m a woman and I’ve spent sixty-odd years living with men, raising a man, studying with men, working with men, competing with men, partying with men and learning their tricks.
They’ve got bupkus I don’t understand regardless of their communications skills level. When they are sincere, I know it. When they are conniving, I know it. When they are kind, or brave, or afraid, I know it. Most of the, time when they’re lying, I know it.
So what exactly do you ladies at BGC imagine yourself teaching male candidates that will actually make the Republican Party Platform seem any more palatable to American women? What kind of “sophisticated approach” could you possibly teach Republican male candidates that would transform their moldering 19th century social policies, privileged Old Boy’s Network mentality and hypocritical religious exploitation into something wonderful that will help women achieve their potential and enhance their lives? i.e., something to vote for?
I’m waiting . . .
You can put three coats of lipstick on it and throw in a little eyeliner and it’s still misogynistic crap. Despite the oft-repeated Republican mantra, that the “War on Women” is a Democratic invention to smear the GOP, it is actually an accurate reaction, felt by millions of real women including myself, to the very real ways that Republican policies and social legislation threaten women’s lives, livelihoods and opportunities.
I think Erin Ryan at Jezebel said it best regarding unmarried women’s voting behavior:
As long as single women feel like their bodily safety would be threatened by the election of a candidate, all of the rebranding in the world won’t convince single women to vote Republican.
It’s that simple.
So. Until that day that the Republican Party wakes up dead and starts all over from jump, elections will continue to have consequences. More and more consequences that Republican ladies and gentlemen won’t like much.