Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), facing a tough re-election campaign, seems to be going out of his way to appear moderate, if not progressive, on several key issued related to women. It’s not going well.
In August, for example, McConnell’s campaign boasted that the Kentucky senator is a long-time supporter of the Violence Against Women Act. This wasn’t true – he voted against VAWA in 1994, 2012, and 2013 – and instead of defending his record, McConnell tried to mislead the public.
A similar situation came up late last week. Facing criticism from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), Team McConnell told another whopper.
“As the father of three daughters, fair pay for women is more than a talking point for Sen. McConnell,” said campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore. “It’s something he’s worked to achieve his entire career by setting an example for others and promoting thoughtful policies to ensure talent overcomes bias.”
Actually, no, it’s not.
Remember the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? McConnell voted against it – twice. Remember the Paycheck Fairness Act? McConnell voted against it, too – twice.
Fair pay for women is something McConnell’s “worked to achieve his entire career”? Has his campaign spokesperson seen the senator’s voting record?
The fact remains that McConnell shouldn’t struggle this badly to explain his own positions – if he can’t defend the votes he’s cast, maybe he shouldn’t have cast them. The senator’s task is to tell voters why he repeatedly voted to kill the Violence Against Women Act, not pretend he supported it. He now needs to persuade Kentuckians he was right to oppose the Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, not masquerade as a champion of pay equity.
If the senator is struggling with women voters, he can either apologize for his votes or explain his votes on the merits. Wilful deception only adds insult to injury.