After the last three years (last few decades, really) of the Republican party pushing blatantly sexist policies like mandatory ultrasounds on women, they’re trying to weasel out of the backlash by playing the “I know you are but what am I” game. And they’ve got a female legislator carrying the water. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) lays out this transparently silly argument for why it’s really Obamacare that is the “war on women.”
“If you want to talk about a ‘war on women,’ look no further than this healthcare law,” Ellmers countered in the weekly address. “After all, it’s often women who make the healthcare decisions for our families. We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they’ll affect our budgets. So by canceling your insurance – despite a promise to let you keep your plan – the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what’s best for you and your family.”
The obvious response:
Spokeswoman for Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Ashley Etienne, slammed Ellmers’ claims. “This pathetic attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act is a profound insult to the intelligence of women across this country,” she said.
“Under the Affordable Care Act insurance companies cannot charge women more than men for health insurance coverage, and hundreds of thousands of women are now enjoying access to preventive care, like breast and cervical screenings. The question before House Republicans is why they’re trying so desperately to take these benefits away from women?,” she continued.
Which is only the beginning. It also provides no-cost contraception to give women, especially poor women, more control of their own reproduction. And it provides access to health insurance for millions and millions of low-income women who could not get it before. And prevents insurance companies from considering pregnancy a pre-existing condition. By any measure, this law is very good for women.
This is part of a larger pattern of this childish game of “I know you are but what am I.” We hear this kind of rhetoric constantly now. Want to pass a law preventing discrimination against gay people? You’re discriminating against Christians! Want to keep Christians from imposing their religious views on others? You’re violating their religious freedom! Want to do something to prevent bullying? You’re bullying them! Want to protect people from institutional racism? You’re being racist against white people!
This all goes back to Newt Gingrich, Frank Luntz and others who have taught Republicans that their best defense against criticism is to accuse their opponents of their own worst sins. And it’s quite ridiculous.