With a slew of women running political campaigns across the country in match-ups against men, it’s inevitable that the “war on women” rhetoric will keep coming up in overt and subtle ways. In Pennsylvania, gubernatorial hopeful Allyson Schwartz is putting gender front and center in one of her first ads, vowing to break through the “boys club” as she tries to stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field. And in Michigan, former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land, the presumptive GOP nominee facing Democratic Rep. Gary Peters for an open U.S. Senate seat, has taken it head-on in a 30-second spot called “Really?” that is simply one of the standout ads of the season.
Columnist George Will has said that Land and other women are the GOP’s best tool in the fight against the “war on women” argument. It’s an idea that the GOP clearly agrees with as it pushes to have more women in leadership positions and as candidates, with varying degrees of success. Female GOP primary candidates have made the same argument. Down in Georgia, Karen Handel has been arguing that she is the best GOP candidate to go up against Democrat Michelle Nunn for an open U.S. Senate seat because she would blunt the “war on women” argument.
In Michigan, polls show Land locked in a tight race against Peters, who gets 39.7 percent of the vote to Land’s 36.7 percent. Some 20 percent of the likely voters polled earlier this month are still undecided. Which means there is plenty of time to frame the election, which brings us back to the ad. What makes this ad so good? It’s simple, it’s funny, it’s humanizing, shareable, memorable and short. All of which means that going forward, every time Peters talks about his stance on women’s issues and tries to make the argument that Land is bad for women, there will be an automatic rejoinder courtesy of Land’s own ad. Can’t you just see her shaking her head and saying “Really?” in a debate?
Expect that this will come up again and again in match-ups featuring Republican women.