There’s an old joke about a married couple that’s asked about their hobbies and interests. The husband says he’s focused on “important things” — like the federal budget, health care reform and peace in the Middle East. The wife says she’s focused on the “small things” — like their household budget, their children’s health care and keeping peace within their family.
There’s an important truth here. The things that women focus on and the decisions they make are often unappreciated — but they’re the foundation of our society.
A few facts should give you a better picture: Women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases; they make 85 percent of all health care decisions; they start two out of three new businesses, and for the first time in history, they’re a majority of the U.S. workforce.
Despite all the challenges that our nation faces — from the economy to health care to the national debt — this is an exciting time for American women. When it comes to our quality of life and the opportunities before us, there has never been a better time and place to be a woman than today in the United States.
That’s what makes the Democrats’ message to American women so strange and unsettling. For the past few months, the Democrats have been accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women” as if some honest disagreements between the parties — over matters like how an “Obamacare” mandate should affect religious institutions or the proper scope of federal law on tribal land — constitute a deliberate GOP campaign to take away women’s rights.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and Republican women have been at the forefront exposing these myths. Let’s face it: Republican women — like us — would never be part of a party that didn’t believe in women’s rights, equal pay for equal work and strong laws against sexual violence. The Republican Party believes in all of those things.
We also believe in something else: We believe that women want to be empowered. We believe that women want independence. We want opportunities. We want an equal chance to succeed — no special favors and no glass ceilings. We want our daughters to have those same opportunities, that same chance to live the American dream. We want our sons to have it, too.
What policies promote freedom, opportunity and self-ownership? Certainly not the Democrats’ Big Government policies. The Democrats showed their hand recently with their “Life of Julia” infographic. The Obama campaign used this to illustrate how a typical woman is dependent on government programs from birth to death — and how the GOP is supposedly undermining those programs.
Leaving aside that everything the “Julia” campaign said about Republicans is either mostly wrong or totally wrong, “Julia’s” life is not typical of American women. Nor is it something that we aspire to. We don’t see our lives as a product of government handouts. In fact, we resent the idea that we owe our success to bureaucrats, and not our own initiative.
The real reason Democrats manufactured “Julia” and the “war on women” is because women don’t support their policies. In 2010, Republicans won the women’s vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan. We fired the first woman speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, because we didn’t like the direction Democrats were taking our country — on the economy, on health care and especially on the debt. We still don’t like it today.
When Republicans talk about freedom, entrepreneurship, patient-centered health care and fiscal responsibility, most women respond positively. And when Republicans propose policies grounded in those principles — reducing taxes on small businesses, shrinking the deficit through the Ryan plan, and repealing “Obamacare” — women see that it’s the Republican Party that’s advancing their values, not the Democrats.
The Republican Party is the real party of American women. And women have played a huge role in our party’s success. We have a dynamic group of 24 women in the House, including a record nine freshmen. Four of the six women governors today are Republicans. We’re also the only party in the past 25 years to nominate a woman for vice president.
American women have a right to be self-confident, and we have a right to be suspicious of politicians who say we should be dependent on government programs. We, the House Republican women, will continue to advocate for the positive solutions that women want — and America needs.
If the Democrats think we’ll be silent on women’s issues — or any issue — they should think again.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
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