Citing attacks on abortion and contraception rights, many liberals have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women.”
But in an interview with Bloomberg TV, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus dismissed these charges as entirely baseless. He comparing the “war on women” to a “war on caterpillars,” blaming the media for trumping up the supposedly fictional attacks on women’s rights:
“If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “It’s a fiction.”
While his choice of comparison to caterpillars is questionable, the bigger problem with Priebus’ comments is that they completely ignore the fact that policies advanced by his party in Congress and the states are already having an effect on women’s rights and women’s health. One could take issue with calling it a “war on women,” but not the reality that conservatives are actively working to curtail women’s constitutionally guaranteed rights as much as possible in dozens of states across the country, and access to contraception in Congress.
While some conservative environmental policies may hurt caterpillars somewhere, Republican lawmakers haven’t systematically targeted the insect’s rights the way they have with women.
To dismiss and belittle this fact with a glib remark suggests Priebus is either ignorant or in denial. Given that attitude, perhaps it’s not surprising Mitt Romney is struggling to gain support from female voters.
The Obama campaign hit back at Priebus in a statement from Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter:
“Reince Priebus’ comparison of Republican attempts to limit women’s access to mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and contraception to a ‘war on caterpillars’ shows how little regard leading Republicans, including Mitt Romney, have for women’s health. … Reince Priebus’ comments today only reinforce why women simply cannot trust Mitt Romney or other leading Republicans to stand up for them.”