I have never thought of my gender as defining me politically. I am not a Republican because I am a woman or despite the fact that I am a woman. I am a Republican and a conservative because I have thought about the issues and believe that a system of limited government, free-market principles, and personal responsibility is the right path forward for our country.
And so when I hear Democratic politicians and pundits – and MSNBC by extension – rant and rave about the Republican Party’s “War on Women,” I am offended that they think so little of my intelligence and my conviction.
These attacks are based on the premise that I am nothing more than my chromosomal makeup. Everything else about me – my education, my religion, my personal experiences – are all stripped away, and I am reduced to one thing: my gender. According to them, I am genetically obligated to buy into the Democratic Party platform simply because I am a woman, and some politician with an R next to his name made a stupid comment.
To be honest, I don’t know which side would win, and I have better things to do with my time.
The fact that a Republican politician makes a stupid or inartful comment doesn’t make the Republican Party anti-women. When Todd Akin made his famous rape comment, I was not offended as a woman. I was mildly troubled as an intelligent person who has a basic understanding of biology.
I was not offended when a four-person panel on religious freedom in the House of Representatives last summer did not include any women. The gender of the panel members should in no way validate or invalidate their arguments. We should be able to have an honest debate about our constitutional right to religious liberty without crying about superficialities.
I am not offended when I hear Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) talk about the societal results of women entering the workplace. As a consultant, I would tell him to shut up, but as rational person, I believe we can have a serious debate about the advantages and disadvantages of having a stay-at-home parent without throwing a hissy fit.
And I am not offended by comments that indicate there are inherent genetic differences between men and women, most recently made by Erick Erickson. As a girl who grew up playing sports and shunning makeup, I am not oblivious to the fact that many of my female friends would rather shop for lipstick than play basketball.
Now, as a political consultant by profession, I understand why Democrats are perpetuating the “War on Women” myth. Many voters are disengaged and they buy into sound bites. Thirty-second commercials and the popularization of the four-minute cable TV segment means that a quick sound bite, regardless of the truth, will prove more lethal than a 20-minute intellectual argument.
But as a relatively intelligent person, I’m more concerned about the amount of stupidity and cowardice in Washington than I am by the ratio of men to women. As a conservative, I am more troubled by the GOP’s inability to articulate a compelling vision than the gender of our party’s leadership. And as a voter, I will continue to make personal decisions about policy and candidates based on issues, not gender.
I hope other women (and men) will do the same.
Nachama Soloveichik is a vice-president at Cold Spark Media.