Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer realizes that some Republicans may be tempted to change course in the wake of another electoral defeat, but he counsels his party: “No reinvention when none is needed. Do conservatism but do it better.” He said calls for moderation are “nonsense.”
The country doesn’t need two liberal parties. Yes, Republicans need to weed out candidates who talk like morons about rape. But this doesn’t mean the country needs two pro-choice parties either. In fact, more women are pro-life than are pro-choice. The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy – speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.
Now, as far as polls are concerned, the notion that more American women oppose reproductive rights than support them is extremely dubious. Indeed, it’s also worth noting that in this week’s exit polls, pro-choice voters were a clear majority.
But even putting that aside, I’m fascinated by this notion that Republicans would be fine if only they could present their far-right views on women’s health and reproductive rights with “delicacy.” In Krauthammer’s mind, his party’s difficulties – the gender gap crushed GOP candidates this year – are really just a matter of spin. Women would be far more inclined to support the right-wing agenda, the argument goes, if only Republicans explained it better.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Krauthammer has no idea what he’s talking about.
Since the 2010 midterms, Republican policymakers have fought to restrict contraception; cut off Planned Parenthood; require state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; force physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; limit equal-pay laws; delay the Violence Against Women Act; curtail reproductive rights at the state level at a historic level; insist that protections for impregnated rape victims were unnecessary; and do everything possible to overturn Roe v. Wade – and on Tuesday, the party paid a price for it.
“Delicacy” was unlikely to make much of a difference.