Of course, the GOP has blocked multiple pay equity laws in the past, so the party’s real stance on the issue is clear. But in the past they have at least paid lip service to “equal pay for equal work.” It’s tough to avoid the conclusion that many Republicans, including Boehner, simply care about female voters so little that they won’t even go through the motions anymore of expressing “support” for women.
Already, though, the GOP is seeing the damage of ignoring women in its own caucus. When the party went on its policy retreat last week in Hershey, Pa., Reps. Renee L. Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) raised concerns about the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” introduced by Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). Ellmers and Walorski were concerned about the optics with female and younger voters of holding a vote on an abortion bill so early in the year, and about the bill only allowing exceptions for women who were raped and had reported the rape to law enforcement. (Regardless of one’s stance on abortion writ large, surely most people can agree it is wrong to not allow exceptions for incest or the life of the mother and to force traumatized rape victims to go to law enforcement whether or not they want to.)
Republicans, especially would-be presidential candidates, should hope Boehner learns a lesson from this. The House GOP leadership has already seen the cost of ignoring female representatives. If the party doesn’t change its attitude, it will see the same disaster play out on a grander scale with female voters.