03.27.2012 0

The Myth of the GOP’s War on Women

War on WomenBy David Bozeman — The intellectual heavy lifting of maintaining meaningful political discourse in America is done mostly by conservatives.  And sometimes they drop the ball, which is excusable given that the left dominates news dissemination and entertainment.  The leftist currency is not rational debate but smelling-salt hysterics and theater, and a conservative need only speak his mind to be cast as the day’s Dickensian abuser of orphan children, or, luckily, just the village idiot.

The idea of the Republican Party waging a war on women is preposterous.  It goes something like this: with unemployment at just above 8 percent and a national debt at over $15.5 trillion, Republicans are so threatened by good economic news that they would change the subject and seek to alienate women, who comprise approximately 51 percetn of the voting population.  That makes almost as much sense as the notion of Republicans being the party of the rich.  How does a party remain viable for most of its 150-year existence by catering to so narrow a demographic?

But news and commentary tend to focus on the inane over the substantive.  Conservatives find themselves gnawing on the liberal bait — by simply calming fears and quelling nasty rumors, conservatives resemble animals who must chew off their own limbs to free themselves from traps.

Why are we arguing about contraception?  Why has so much cable news airtime been spent debating whether the president should return a $1 million donation made by Bill Maher, who uttered misogynistic comments about Sarah Palin?  CNN’s Piers Morgan recently interviewed the insufferable Gloria Allred, who is still droning on about the heroism of the women she represents who claimed sexual dalliances with Herman Cain.  It is not by accident but by design that the intellectual gravitas of political talk shows and regular news broadcasts sometimes matches that of Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood.

Though obvious now, it bears repeating that it was not Rick Santorum who started this whole contraception episode.  At a New Hampshire debate in January, former Clinton advisor turned ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos inexplicably grilled Mitt Romney on whether birth control could or should be banned by the states.  So now we ask, which side wanted to change the subject from the economic concerns that had dominated this endless campaign season?

Political debate is so much showmanship, with Etch-a-Sketch references and Twitter posts masquerading as lively discourse.  Like a funhouse mirror that distorts images, it is the trivial that dominates the conversation and makes the liberal blood boil.  In a recent discussion with a dear liberal friend over HBO’s Palin “docu-drama” Game Change, he became enraged that Palin wrote a concession speech for Election Night 2008, going against all precedent and advice.  “It just isn’t done!” he yelled.  “The VP candidate never speaks.”  Whew!  And thus our republic was saved from a rogue VP also-ran.

Of course, you won’t hear a peep about such violations of our national character as Obamacare, spending beyond our means, massive bailouts, the notion of “too big to fail,” semi-government ownership of the auto industry, Solyndra and other green initiatives, food stamps (now known by SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) being touted on radio commercials with the pep and verve of old soap ads, a sweeping culture of entitlement, the demonizing of the productive, etc.  And yes, much of the above pre-dates the Obama Administration.

Sadly, those who skew the national agenda from the urgent to the mundane so outnumber the advocates of the Constitution and limited government that the latter stand out as, at best, freaks and oddballs.

Because of human nature, the media has always tended toward the trivial, but once upon a time, certain core concepts were, if not universally accepted, at least not controversial.  Today, “free enterprise” is considered a racist code word in some quarters, the Horatio Alger tales of individual initiative are, if remembered at all, held up to ridicule, and don’t dare mention chastity and marriage as antidotes to poverty.  Granted, there is plenty of substantive debate out there, but freedom always demands more, so take a seat, Sandra Fluke, you’ve had your fifteen minutes.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer

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