War on Women, the Outcome Disastrous

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 13 2012 9:54 AM

War on Women, the Outcome Disastrous

My new story is about the "War on Women" talking point, and about talking points in general. What's the life cycle of a buzzword, or buzzphrase? (I believe that I accidentally invented the last neologism.) It is born, it learns to walk, it lives until the people burned by it find an effective way to co-opt it.

I talked to DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse to check whether Democrats were really shutting down the lights on the "WOW." Indeed.

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On Thursday, as the Rosen saga unfolded, DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse echoed her plea for peace. “I’m not a fan of the term,” he said in an interview. “I mean, I’m sure I’ve probably used it. We all fall into these easy vernaculars … but we in the DNC have not been running a campaign based on the term ‘War on Women.’ That’s a myth cooked up by Republicans.”

Worth noting: Woodhouse made those comments as he explained that the issues behind the War were still operational.

"The truth of the matter is that Republicans want to use a discussion about whether the language is appropriate to hide from a discussion of the issues," said Woodhouse. "There's a reason they're 18-23 points down with women. It's the issues. Look, I'm not goint to judge anyone. There are other political committees that have built entire campaigns around this terminology. But let's look at this tripe they [the Romney campaign] created about the job losses during the Obama years -- 92.3 percent of job loss coming at the expense of women. The only way they got there was to count the two-thirds of a month when Bush was still president. When the dust settles on these dust-ups, they're stuck with the policies."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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