Congressional Republicans on Saturday said that ObamaCare is part of a "war on women" administration. The attack came as part of the GOP's weekly address and was voiced by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a nurse who serves as the chairwoman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee. [...] "If you want to talk about a 'war on women,' look no further than this healthcare law," Ellmers countered in the weekly address. "After all, it's often women who make the healthcare decisions for our families. We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they'll affect our budgets. So by canceling your insurance -- despite a promise to let you keep your plan -- the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what's best for you and your family."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office called the rhetoric "pathetic," which is charitable under the circumstances.
First, Ellmers' characterization of the cancellations is so wildly misleading, it's hard to believe the chair of the Republican Women's Policy Committee would repeat this rhetoric out loud. The Affordable Care Act isn't canceling anyone's insurance; some private insurers are dropping individual plans, which consumers can replace under the law -- usually with a cheaper, better plan.
Second, "Obamacare" prevents insurers from charging women higher premiums for comparable coverage; it covers procedures such as mammograms and cervical cancer screenings as preventive care; it expands access to contraception without a co-pay; it ends the practice of treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition; and it brings affordable coverage to millions of women who were uninsured under the old system. To see this as part of a "war on women" is demonstrably ridiculous. (Ellmers, incidentally, has a problem with the ACA stopping insurers from charging women more.)
Third, the more Republicans use rhetoric like this, the more their critics get to remind the public what a real "war on women" looks like.
And finally, over the last couple of years, a pattern has emerged, which Rachel last year described as the "I'm rubber, you're glue" phenomenon. When it looked like Republican fat cats were trying to buy the election, Republicans argued that Democrats are trying to buy the election. When the Republican presidential hopeful looked like an out-of-touch elitist, he accused the Democratic president of being an out-of-touch elitist. When GOP officials pursued an aggressive voter-suppression campaign, Republicans accused Democrats of trying to "steal" the 2012 elections. When Republicans tried to kill Medicare, Republicans responded by saying Democrats want to kill Medicare.
And as the Republicans' "war on women" grew more intense, Republican voices once again ran the same play, insisting repeatedly that it's actually Democrats waging this war.
This has never worked for one simple reason: no fair-minded person could possibly look at reality and take this rhetoric seriously. Someone might want to let Renee Ellmers know.