When msnbc’s Chris Jansing asked Republican National Committee Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski in April what policies her party would support to improve pay equity, Kukowski couldn’t think of anything. It was right around this time that the Texas Republican Party blamed women for the pay gap, saying women in the workforce would be better compensated if they became “better negotiators.”
It’s incidents like these that lead to discouraging results for the GOP: “A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups – including one backed by Karl Rove – paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as ‘intolerant,’ ‘lacking in compassion’ and ‘stuck in the past.”
But that was last week. This week, as Laura Clawson noted, the RNC has a new message.
Remember the one about the man who killed his parents, then asked for mercy because he’s an orphan? Well, chutzpah has a new definition. On Labor Day, the Republican National Committee tweeted the following claim: “This #LaborDay, the White House & Democrats believe paying women less than men is an acceptable practice.” […]Staggering. Stunstonishing. Mind-blowing. I mean, if tweeting that graphic means that the RNC is ready to line up every Republican in or running for Congress and seriously press them to talk about equal pay, great. Because so far what we’ve got does not seem to support this statement even a little bit.
It’s hard to even know where to start with a claim this audacious. Does one focus on Republican opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? Or how about the GOP killing the Paycheck Fairness Act?
Do you highlight the prominent Republican officials who worry about what pay-equity measures might mean for men? Or focus on the prominent Republican officials who see the debate over wage discrimination as “nonsense”? Or maybe remind folks about the prominent Republican officials who are convinced that “most of the barriers” women face in the workplace have already “been lowered”?
But perhaps the toughest question to answer today is, why in the world would the RNC pick this fight today?
It’s easy to assume the Republican National Committee is just poking Democrats with a stick for the sake of getting attention – the party, in other words, is just trolling – but this is the kind of move that undermines the RNC’s own interests.
After all, this election season, Democrats would be absolutely thrilled to have a big, post-Labor Day fight over which party is more committed to pay equity.
Now the RNC wants to start this fight on purpose? Which strategic genius in Reince Priebus’ office came up with this idea?