Why Would Women Buy What the GOP is Selling?

As a brother to three sisters I have — just a little — awareness of what women think of and go through dealing with creatures of my gender. A lot of that came flooding back when for some reason I decided to wade through an Atlantic cover story from last fall titled, “What, Me Marry?’, written by Katie Bolick, a bona fide smart and good-looking gal who also posed for the cover shot.

The story was a sprawler, covering easily 10,000 words and with more than a few “Sex and the City”-like sidebar discussions between Bolick and her gal pals on the topic of why modern American men were such immature knuckleheads, louts, whiners and so generally beneath them. But since it was an Atlantic piece, (Bolick is on staff there), its roots were down deeper than Cosmo or, well, pick any of another dozen supermarket favorites.

What Bolick was resting her arguments on were a series of surveys on the widening education, economic and sophistication gap between younger American women and their male counterparts. Beyond that comes the questions of what this means to culture in general as more and more women find themselves not just free of economic dependence on men, but well … bored … with the way so many men think and behave. Where once they had little choice but to put up with sophomoric, over-aggressive male swagger, fewer and fewer have to anymore. Moreover, better-educated, more disciplined women find themselves in a position to leverage their brain power when engaged in sexual politics with men, who largely remain trapped in the amber of some frankly silly lone cowboy, frat boy and/or bull moose Master of the Universe wannabe shtick.

Bolick’s story, her essential point, has become relevant anew in the wake of Rush Limbaugh’s not-all-that-out-of-the-ordinary slandering of private citizen and college student, Sandra Fluke. (While I still think there’s some  sweet, easy money to be made suing El Rushbo, the appearance of Gloria Allred in the story pretty well made that idea toxic.) Democrats and a long list of women’s group have leapt on the insult to Fluke and the Republicans’ inability to muster full-throated indignation to demonize the GOP brand (again) and fund-raise for liberal causes, simultaneous with Limbaugh shedding virtually every credible sponsor he had.

In other words, Limbaugh’s treasured “free market”, the one 95% controlled by white male CEOs, (who fully appreciate the buying power of women), is already rendering harsh summary judgment against him without a messy court scene. (If the experience with Tom Barnard here in Minnesota after his 1998 slurring of local Hmong is any indication, some of these companies will trickle back once the heat is off, but only after negotiating significantly lower ad rates.)

The liberal response is of course opportunistic and exploitative, two characteristics of effective politics. But it also benefits from being culturally and intellectually valid. Some may choose not to recognize Limbaugh’s impact on the rhetoric and messaging of the modern Republican party. But those that don’t also fit quite perfectly into Katie Bolick’s portrait of un-evolved, fundamentally insecure men clinging to adolescent notions of male valor and unquestioned, unexamined superiority. Its primary leader/spokesman or not, Limbaugh’s anti-feminist, anti-educated “elite”, anti-environmental, anti-regulatory, anti-social program, anti-liberal, hell, anti-Enlightenment message is in perfect harmony with the GOP base, which is to say the entire Republican party of 2012.

What sort of educated, self-sufficient woman sees a point, much less merit, in any of that?

Beyond the statistics proving this widening education gulf between men and women, I won’t ascribe to women a higher, intuitive moral standard, (even though based on a lot of empirical evidence a strong case could be made). But women, in my experience put more time and effort into analyzing the motivations and behavior of men than men do of women. Women have to pay closer attention to us for reasons of simple survival. We’re bigger and have more tendencies to violence. And lets not get started on all the sexual cues women have to be alert to, all the titles, accessories, false flattery and implements men need to feel “potent”. Any woman who  caught the long version of Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke rant had to fear for her “perv” antennae melting down as he went on … and on … and on about “all the sex” Fluke must be having … to need birth control pills.

The guy screams … “I have a problem.”

For generations, women have tolerated numbskull male behavior because … they had no other viable choice. They were dependent on men for money and physical protection. Today more and more of them have other choices, even if, as Bolick laments, it may mean a life without marriage. And circa 2012, with more and more women feeling both economic freedom and frustration with the brutish, unsophisticated thinking of us “bros”, the GOP is (way) over-ripe for a pureeing, (to use a gender-sensitive cooking analogy.)

Pick a topic: Health care reform,with all its subsets, including Ms. Fluke’s entirely coherent call for full contraceptive coverage, Social Security, Medicaid, over-the-top aggressive military adventures, environmental protection and on and on … and women see issues with direct effect on them being controlled and controlled badly by men, specifically the Limbaugh-looking, waddling, quacking GOP. Where before they’d have to throw their support behind some male and hope, via filtering, their demands for better government service would be met, more and more now have the money, wit and experience to do the job themselves.

Prediction here: A woman will be elected president either in 2016 or 2020. If she wins in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren will be on a fast track.

The makeup of Rush Limbaugh’s audience is a mirror image of the makeup of the Tea Party, the “base” that is controlling today’s GOP, no matter how much Mitt Romney’s SuperPAC spends. The latest numbers put his radio/internet audience at 72% male, 54% over age 45, 28% over age 55 and … 91% white. In other words, a bubble culture of a fast-receding era.

… that can’t recede fast enough.

 

 

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15 Responses

  1. I’ve said it before: Women will never reach full equality in this society until they stop marrying dirtbags.

    And for many middle aged men, the best thing I can about them is their wives’ first name.

  2. Rush is on wife #…?

    I do think that your larger point is right–Rush and any number of the current Republican leaders are fighting a rearguard action, trying to fend off the future. You could make the same point with respect to college education or immigration and latinos.

    Jon Chait made much the same argument:

    http://nymag.com/news/features/gop-primary-chait-2012-3/index1.html

    Others have disagreed:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/03/06/why_2012_is_not_the_gops_last_chance_113380-full.html

    http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/52565

    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/race-republicans-and-realignment/

    https://philebersole.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/demographics-and-the-gop-future/

    But at some point the Republican party will change–instead of a party of angry old white men, it will become a party of angry, old white men and women (Sarah Palin isn’t getting any younger, you know), and eventually angry old people who are afraid of all the rest. And, Lambert, at some point you too will become angry and old, and maybe join the Republican Party?

  3. “The makeup of Rush Limbaugh’s audience is a mirror image of the makeup of the Tea Party, the “base” that is controlling today’s GOP, no matter how much Mitt Romney’s SuperPAC spends. The latest numbers put his radio/internet audience at 72% male, 54% over age 45, 28% over age 55 and … 91% white. In other words, a bubble culture of a fast-receding era.”

    So spot on.

    Which is why there’s been a huge rush of anti-women legislation, voter supression ballot efforts and legislation, corporate giveaways at the local level, abject union-bashing, etc., etc. Because as much as the Kochs and ALEC members and their aging, rich ilk can spend money the demographics and information channels are rapidly going against today’s version of the GOP, and the party as a whole. They are rapidly become a parody, these aren’t Republicans, they are neo-cons, and we’re witnessing the last gasp of the dinosaurs here. They will drag a lot into the tar pit on the way down, however. To paraphrase that movie saying, “desperation is as desperate does”

  4. Er, Bri, did you notice Brodkob’s suit names him as a “protected class”.

    Seems your positing about the notin of marriage averse free ranging single female sex amercenaries (myterm) may be correct – they’re apparently operating at our own State Capital, and getting away wwith it!

    Free Mike!

    Free Mike!

    Free Mike!

    Yours,

    Bertram Jr

    • Bertram: When I think of free-ranging predators … I think of you.

    • Are those sort of like Mama Grizzlies, Bert?

    • It looks like Brodkob is trying to shake down the Republicans although I imagine not all the philanderers belong to the family values party. Any fan of the entrepreneurial spirit ought to admire the attempt.

      • This is curious….

        Lambo, does Bordkorb moving to litigate persuade you at all that the state GOPs money men didn’t buy his silence in December / January with a six figure hush money settlement? Because it seems you were convinced of that. Or do you still have complete faith that did actually happen. Like your faith in an impending Fluke lawsuit against Limbaugh. Or your faith in a non-Oswald JFK theory.

  5. Yeah, when I heard about Gloria Allred’s comment, I shook my head and thought, How do we get this jerk to give up her 15 minutes?

    I can’t believe Elizabeth Warren is wupping Scott Brown in the polls yet. I hope to have the chance to vote for her some day (without moving to Masschusetts). And that she’s still worth voting for when the time comes, given the corrupting nature of our system.

  6. According to a Fox poll, among Hispanics Obama is out-polling Romney 70% to 14%, and Romney is the Republican Hispanics like.

    The pattern you describe has been going on forever among blacks with women going to college and men to prison.

    When the t.p-ers say they want their country back, anybody who lived through the 50’s knows what they mean only without the union jobs.

  7. Here are words from Limbaugh, as compiled by pbstoprush. All I can say is wow. This guy is a serious hater.

    “What is it with all of these young, single white women? Overeducated- doesn’t mean intelligent.” Source

    “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.” Source

    “A Georgetown coed told Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex they’re going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is. So, I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” Source

    “Colleges have been chickified. Men aren’t showing up in as many numbers as they used to…This is what we have done to boys and men. The feminists / feminazis have been working for years to this end: advance women by diminishing men.” Source

    “The definition of a misogynist is a man who hates women almost as much as women hate women. That’s what a misogynist is. Did you know that…A misogynist is a guy who hates women almost as much as women hate women.” Source

    “Feminism is about victimization. Don’t forget Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24. Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” Source

    “My cat comes to me when she wants to be fed. I have learned this. I accept it for what it is. Many people in my position would think my cat’s coming to me because she loves me. Well, she likes me, and she is attached, but she comes to me when she wants to be fed. And after I feed her…she’s off to wherever she wants to be in the house, until the next time she gets hungry. She’s smart enough to know she can’t feed herself. She’s actually a very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn’t have to do anything for it, which is why I say this cat’s taught me more about women, than anything my whole life.” Source

    On Fox & riends, defending his selection as a Miss America judge, 02/03/2010: “I’m a huge supporter of women. What I’m not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose. Feminism has led women astray. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.” Source

    “I wonder: Why is it that Anthony Weiner turns out to be the kind of guy he is? How does that happen?…What kinda women has Anthony Weiner been around his whole life?He has been around a bunch of these kinds of women who have been attacking testosterone, who have been attacking traditional male roles. He’s been around women to whom the idea of a real guy is some metrosexual. Is it any wonder, ladies and gentlemen?…Hollywood is working on four or five (it might even be six) sitcoms about how men have basically just been just beaten down to pantywaist, Milquetoast wimps — and they’re comedies. It’s in vogue to make fun of weak, worthless, wimp sissies. That’s who the men are in these upcoming shows. Now, how do these men turn out that way? Who makes them that way? ‘Cause that’s not their natural state. I mean, you look at Weiner. We cannot blame what happened to Weiner on testosterone. We’re looking at a guy here who is kiddie whipped…somebody here who’s been hanging around these kind of women — and he’s doing anything he can to break out. He’s doing everything he can to step out and get away from their control. This, to Anthony Weiner, is being a guy. He’s not allowed to be a guy hanging around a bunch of liberal women.” Source

    “The problem is — and dare I say this — it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice. And then we hear that she’s out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving, yeah it does — what do you mean, what do I mean?

    “What is it – no, I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won’t be obese. Okay, fine, show us.” Source

    Referring to above comments: “These were highly civil comments for crying out loud. I mean, people are going nuts. USA Today, the Politico. And some people were suggesting that my comments were below the belt. Well, take a look at some pictures. Given where she wears her belts. I mean, she wears them high up there around the bust line. Isn’t just about everything about her below the belt when you look at the fashion sense she has?” Source

    On his TV show in 1993, while holding a photo of Chelsea Clinton, then 13: “Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?” Source

    “I think this reason why girls don’t do well on multiple choice tests goes all the way back to the Bible, all the way back to Genesis, Adam and Eve. God said, ‘All right, Eve, multiple choice or multiple orgasms, what’s it going to be?’ We all know what was chosen.” Source

    On women who protest sexual harassment: “They’re out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes.” Source

    “Female politicians get a pass on every aspect of their appearance. You would never have stories about how some female politican’s fat… There are plenty of lard-ass women in politics, and they get a total pass on it.” Source

    “I’ll tell you, you women. Why don’t you just make it official, put on some burkas and I’ll guaran-damn-tee you nobody’ll touch you. You put on a burka, and everybody’ll leave you alone if that’s what you want.” Source

  8. Enough.

    A national anti-war rally will be held April 28..the anti-war against women rally. Every state in the nation is involved.

    I urge all of the enlightened men who read and write for this blog to join us, as well. To me, this is a human rights issue.

    http://www.wearewomenmarch.net/groups/minnesota-we-are-women-march/

    on Twitter: @natlwow

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