GOP comments highlight regressive views about women

Updated
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Susan Walsh

Even after a crushing defeat, the men of the GOP still think they know what’s best for women.

On Tuesday, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant blamed America’s dismal education outcomes on women working outside the home. When Bryant was asked at a forum why he thought children in the United States were not learning enough, he said, “Both parents started working, and the mom is in the work place.” Predicting that he could “see the emails tomorrow,” he lamented the “loving, nurturing opportunity” that single-income households provided.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault in the military that same day, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions blamed pornography for the epidemic levels of violence. According to Sessions, the problem is not a culture of complacency and misogyny in the ranks but “a culture that’s awash in sexual activity.” Sexually explicit material “creates some problems,” he said.

Sessions’ Armed Services committee colleague Saxby Chambliss of Georgia suggested the root cause of the estimated 26,000 instances of unwanted sexual contact in the armed forces was overactive hormones in young adults. “Gee whiz,” said Chambliss, “the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility” that members of the military would abuse their fellow soldiers.

After the GOP’s decisive losses in the 2012 election, it crafted a plan to broaden its appeal with women and minorities. But from sexual assault to equal pay, members of the Republican Party continue to oppose measures that would address long-standing issues.

Democratic women in the House and Senate have taken up these causes and show no signs of backing down.

On All in with Chris Hayes on Tuesday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, responded to Chambliss’ comments, saying that there is a “disconnect between what this crime is and how it is perceived.” Sexual assault, she said, is about power, “not issues of the hookup culture from high school.” Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a former prosecutor, made the same point at Tuesday’s hearing, and victim advocates agree. As a spokesperson for Service Women’s Action Network told msnbc, “The statements from Sen. Sessions and Sen. Chambliss reflect an astounding lack of understanding about sexual violence. Hormones and pornography are not responsible for sexual assaults, criminals are.”

See the “All In” interview with Senator Gillibrand and more below.

GOP comments highlight regressive views about women

Updated