While Democrats have long been seen as the party most concerned with women’s issues, Republicans won the women’s vote by one percentage point during the 2010 election cycle.
Sensing blood in the water, the GOP is working to position itself to once again win the women’s vote in 2012 and — perhaps — beyond.
The highest ranking Republican woman in the House, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is one of the major players in the fight to win women’s approval and votes. Indeed, the two-time vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues has been working hard to show that women’s issues are GOP issues.
According to McMorris Rodgers and her GOP colleagues, women start two out of every three new businesses, create nearly $2.5 trillion in revenue annually, manage 83% of household income, and represent the majority of America’s health care providers.
“[Women] understand firsthand the impact of regulations, tax policy on starting a new business,” McMorris Rodgers told TheDC. “We need to continue to talk to women about health care. The health care bill that passed last year is not popular among women … [who] make the health care decisions for many households — for themselves, for their families — and they don’t like the idea of the federal government in the way of them being able to make those health care decisions.”
Despite rhetoric to the contrary, Democrats are no longer the best choice for women, said McMorris Rodgers. As the fairer sex begins seriously looking at the issues that affect them, they will see that the solutions Republicans have are the one which will benefit them the most. (Michele Bachmann officially enters 2012 field)
According to the leading female Republicans, the GOP just needs to keep reaching out to women until they hear the message.
“I really think we just need to do more to talk to women,” Rodgers said. “The Democrats for so long have been telling women in America that if you’re a woman you’re a Democrat, and now I think that more women are really taking a look at these issues and how they impact themselves, the opportunity to start a new business, raise a family …They’re looking for a party that’s actually going to ensure that we are taking those steps to leave a better America for our children and then grandchildren.”
McMorris Rodgers is one of the leading voices to bring more women into the party and the polls, galvanizing current Republican women and encouraging others to get into the movement.
“I think it’s a great time to be a Republican woman, and what we’re seeing is that as more women see other women running for office, being successful, being given opportunities to be out front that they’re seeing other women do it, and they think, ‘You know what? If she can do it, I can do it.’” (Helen Thomas claims to have reapplied for White House press credentials)
Despite her sensitivity to women’s issues, McMorris Rodgers has little patience for women, especially Republican women, who throw down the sexism card at every turn. To her, it is best to stick to the issues and let the trivial fall by the wayside.
“I think it feeds the victim mentality,” she said. “And I don’t want us to be focusing on being — I don’t want it to sound like we’re victims. I want the focus to be more on the opportunities that are available.”