The War on the War on the "War on Women"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 13 2012 4:48 PM

The War on the War on the "War on Women"

Ed Kilgore takes issue with my story about the life cycle of the "War on Women" talking point.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

It’s not like any of the raw material Democrats used in talking about a “war on women” has been trashed; new examples are popping up almost daily. Arizona just became the seventh state to enact an abortion ban directly challenging Roe v. Wade, and Georgia will soon become the eighth. The Catholic Bishops just announced a summer campaign to make its attacks on the contraception coverage mandate a matter of existential importance. Mitt Romney is going to have to very conspicuously bend his knee to the Christian Right, with its anti-choice and anti-feminist preoccupations, in choosing a running-mate. The present and perhaps imminent behavior of the Supreme Court could make judicial appointments—and the tenuous nature of reproductive rights—a bigger issue than it’s ever been in a presidential election.

Indeed, and I don't disagree with any of this! In the story, which tracks the various bills and statements and outrages that fed the "War," the reader should grok that the Democrats were not making stuff up. They were just convinced, for a while, that the way to talk about various bills that could hurt poor women was to wrap and tie it all up with one term.

Blue Girl chimes in.

Sorry Dave, but you whiffed this one. One impolitic comment does not a wholesale surrender make, nor does it truncate the actual policies that GOP lawmakers are instituting nationwide to disenfranchise old women at the ballot box and to turn young women who have sex into brood mares. It doesn't undo the attacks on our access to abortion, it doesn't undo the fact that equal pay provisions are being rolled back, that women's jobs have been eliminated at the state and local government level when funding for schools and healthcare are slashed (most teachers and nurses are women) and it doesn't obviate the fact that there are people who, in all plaintive seriousness, want to make contraceptives illegal.

See above re: "Nope." What I was trying to do: Split the talking point from the underlying narrative,* like The Hulk being cleaved from Bruce Banner.

*This is an irritating word, I agree.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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