Women rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2013.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

When anti-women rhetoric reaches new depths

Updated
At CPAC over the weekend, Republican strategist Kate Obenshain offered her party some reasonable advice about addressing the gender gap between the major parties.
 
“We cannot have any stupid comments this year. No stupid comments,” she said. “Please think before you make pithy, obnoxious comments.”
 
The suggestion may not be enough – rhetoric matters, though I think public policy matters more – but some Republicans continue to ignore the advice anyway.
New Hampshire state Rep. Kyle Tasker (R) went on a public Facebook forum Monday and posted a sexually explicit joke about women who have been the victims of domestic abuse.
 
The discussion on the Facebook page of the Greater Nashua Tea Party arose over the New Hampshire GOP’s refusal to stand by another state lawmaker, Rep. Mark Warden (R), who has come under scrutiny in recent days for saying, “Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”
Tasker defended Warden, and as the online discussion continued, he proceeded to publish a sexually explicit graphic with a joke about “battered women.” I’m not comfortable republishing his message here, but the GOP state lawmaker was apparently trying to make a joke about abusive victims and oral sex.
 
Tasker later deleted the message, though the move doesn’t make his conduct any less offensive. It also doesn’t resolve questions about his judgment in publishing it in the first place.
 
The state representative was previously best known for accidentally dropping a gun during a legislative public-safety committee hearing.
 
And as long as we’re talking about GOP rhetoric related to women, let’s also mention that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) shared some new thoughts on how to compete against a women rival for elected office.
“I’ve twice run against women opponents, and it’s a very different kind of approach,” he tells me. Different how? “For those of us who have some chivalry left, there’s a level of respect…. You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common.” A male opponent is “common,” a woman requires “a sense of pedestal.”
 
“I’ll put it this way,” Huckabee says. “I treat my wife very differently than I treat my chums and my pals. I wouldn’t worry about calling them on Valentine’s Day, opening the door for them, or making sure they were OK.”
Huckabee later elaborated: “I believe in equality, and I have a record of transforming that belief into action. However, equality doesn’t mean sameness.”
 

War On Women

When anti-women rhetoric reaches new depths

Updated