On some level, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) realizes that the gender gap is putting his career in jeopardy. He’s facing a competitive challenge from a very talented woman, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who will almost certainly give McConnell the toughest re-election fight of his career.
It’s why the long-time Republican incumbent, worried about women voters putting Lundergan Grimes over the top, has occasionally been reduced to making claims about his record on women’s issues that aren’t quite in line with reality.
That said, this new report from Joe Sonka suggests McConnell is still a little confused about how to address issues of particular concern to women. Consider his remarks this week about the vanishing barriers American women now face:
“We’ve come a long way… in pay equity and uh… there are a ton of women CEOs now running major companies…“I could be wrong, but I think most of the barriers have been lowered. And I’m a little skeptical about arguments that – particularly people like my party who are hostile to women – what kind of nonsense is that? I think my opponent is going to make that argument to all of you this fall, that somehow I’m promoting policies that are harmful to women. I don’t think that kind of agenda exploitation for political purposes makes any sense. The last time I ran I got 50 percent of the women votes in the state. So I don’t grant the assumption that we need to sort of give preferential treatment to the majority of our population, which is in my view, leading and performing all across the… you know, maybe I’m missing something here.”
In this case, yes, maybe he’s “missing something here” and he “could be wrong.”
Indeed, it’s almost as if Mitch McConnell is daring women to vote against him.
To hear the Minority Leader tell it, gender discrimination is effectively a thing of the past. After all, just look at those women CEOs (and don’t look at the pervasive gap between men and women doing equal work).
That said, McConnell’s unexpected rhetoric does help explain a few things. This is a senator who voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.
And apparently, now we know why – McConnell apparently doesn’t see the problems many women face, which may explain why he’s fought so consistently against remedies to those problems.