On "Meet the Press" the other day, David Gregory asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), "Do you think that there is something of a war on women among Republicans?" Instead of rejecting the very idea out of hand, the senator implicitly conceded the reality of the situation, responding, "I think we have to fix that."
On Tuesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the only woman in the Republican leadership in either chamber, delivered a very different message to reporters (via Balloon Juice's ABL).
For those who can't watch clips on line, the congresswoman told reporters, "They call it a 'war on women.' And, as a woman, I'm here to tell you that the Democrats are off base... And as Americans look a little deeper into these issues what they see is not that Republicans are trying to undermine women's health, what they see is that Democrats are trying to scare American women."
As a matter of political rhetoric, that's a perfectly good example of spin. As a matter of reality, McMorris Rodgers doesn't seem to appreciate what her party has been up to lately.
As we've reported on the show many times, including in a segment last night, the effort on the part of GOP policymakers at the federal and state level to undermine women's health care is as severe as anything we've seen from a major party in many years.
I'll spare you the full list of every bill in every state, but the policy offensive is, well, offensive. Restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, going after prenatal care, possible abortion permission slips ... this is not a minor policy initiative. (It's also probably not what Americans thought they were getting in 2010, when they voted for Republicans because they were unsatisfied with the state of the national economy.)
If McMorris Rodgers wants to defend these policy measures, she's welcome to try. But if American women are scared by the Republican agenda, it's not because of Democratic rhetoric; it's because of the consequences of the GOP proposals.