COMMENTARY | Whether or not there is a government shutdown, and the reader may know of this as he or she reads these words, the run up has featured some of the most super-heated, hyperbolic rhetoric since the Civil War.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting House delegate from Washington, D.C., said that a government shutdown was the equivalent to bombing innocent civilians. Mind, one gets the idea that Norton has not actually ever been under a bombing attack or been in a place that had, otherwise she might have hesitated to say such a thing.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-N.Y.), is quite sure that Republicans who want to cut the federal budget deficit are hell bent on killing women.
“‘This is probably one of the worst times we’ve seen because the numbers of people elected to Congress. I went through this as co-chair of the arts caucus,’ Slaughter said. ‘In ’94 people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.'”
Slaughter also violated Godwin’s Law by bringing up the Nazis. So, by the logic offered by Rep, Slaughter, Michele Bachmann, who is a deficit hawk, a woman, and Jewish, also wants to kill women and is a Nazi.
The theme was taken up by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“‘There is actually a war on women,’ the minority leader told several hundred activists attending the Women Money Power Summit sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation. ‘Abortion is one issue but contraception and family planning and birth control are opposed by this crowd too. Understand what is at risk here,’ Pelosi said, referring to proposals promoted by the new House Republican leadership.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid rose up on the floor of the Senate and took the war on women theme and ran with it. He accused Republicans of not wanting women to get cancer screenings, even bringing his own wife and daughters into the mix.
Clearly, the Democrats have moved on from the kill old people and starve children meme to the kill women meme. They may have internal polling data that suggest that women will be open to the argument that the Republicans hate them and are coming for them.
The question arises over whether it will work. The tactic of accusing Republicans are some latter day horde of Attila the Hun, murdering and raping all before them, worked to some extent in 1995. The Democrats are running with the 15-plus-year old playbook, like the general who is fighting the last war.
The accusations, though, are so over the top that they smack of desperation. Most Americans want to cut the budget deficit and also do not want to kill women or really hurt anyone who is not a terrorist. Therefore, the rhetoric of killing women has every likelihood of backfiring and making the people who are using it look silly.
Sources: DC Democrat: Shutting Down Government is Like Bombing Civilians, Eyeblast TV, April 8, 2011
Rep. Louise Slaughter: GOP Freshmen Came to Washington ‘To Kill Women’, Dan Joseph, CNS News, April 7, 2011
Sen. Harry Reid brings his family into shutdown battle, Chris Moody, The Daily Caller, April 8, 2011
Pelosi: There is a war on women, Jessica Yellin and Kevin Bohn, CNN, April 7, 2011