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“The State Of Where We’re At”: Lizz Winstead Delivers ‘State Of The Uterus’ Address

It wasn’t an official response, but it was probably the most colorful.

After President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night, comedian, author and “The Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead delivered to the world the “State of the Uterus,” a progressive response complete with a uterus hand puppet.

“I thought, ‘Well, maybe the uterus needs to do a recap of the state of where we’re at,'” Winstead told Whispers. “So instead of being like vitriolic or ‘we’re so angry,’ we decided to take the satirical page of celebrating how great it is that government has gotten so involved and the great plans that they have for all the uteri in the country.”

So what did the Uterus have to say?

The Uterus thanked “Republicans and Republicans alike” for “tirelessly fighting so the uteri of America will have the same rights as the uteri of Saudi Arabia.” The Uterus name-dropped former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, two anti-abortion conservatives who’ve voiced controversial positions on abortion and the Democratic Party, respectively. And, at the end of the video, the Uterus tipped over a Deer Park water bottle as an homage to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“There’s not really a whole lot of comedy rapid response – in fact, there’s none,” Winstead said. “And so we kind of want to carve out our space there.”

The State of the Uterus was posted on the website Lady Parts Justice, which Winstead helped create. The site already got some attention because of a video comedian Sarah Silverman made for it, where she talks to Jesus Christ about birth control.

“So it went out and then all of a sudden our project exploded a month before we were actually getting our staffing in place and getting our people on board,” Winstead laughed. “It’s fine, it’s really fun actually.”

In the coming months, Winstead will have other famous faces – including “Girls'” creator Lena Dunham – participate in her progressive, pro-abortion rights videos. The spots will shine light on what lawmakers are up to on a more local level in the areas of abortion and birth control. And a big event, entitled “V to Shining V” is being planned for Sept. 27, where women will gather in every state capital to have a gay pride-like celebration for reproductive rights.

“We’re really, really, really focused on local and state legislatures, that’s really our thing,” Winstead said. “Because no one is and those are the feeder programs where we go, ‘Oh, my God, somebody needs to dam up this horrible, horrible river because it is spawning people who are absolutely not invested in compromise or the truth or science or education or anything else.'”

 

By: Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers, U. S. News and World Report, January 29, 2014

January 31, 2014 Posted by | State of the Union, War On Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The GOP Is Driving In Circles”: Like Past Outreach Efforts, “Burning Glass” Is Doomed To Failure

Just days after Republican Ken Cuccinelli discovered that running as the transvaginal ultrasound candidate may have been a mistake in increasingly blue Virginia, three Republican women are launching a new effort to solve the GOP’s serious problem with female voters.

The Republican Party’s outreach to women — to the degree that it reaches out at all — has clearly not been working. Poll after poll shows that women favor the Democratic Party over the Republicans, and recent elections have confirmed it. President Obama topped Mitt Romney by 9 percent among women in 2012, and Terry McAuliffe beat Cuccinelli by an identical amount in Virginia in 2013. Among unmarried women, the gender gap is even more severe.

As Jonathan Martin reports in the New York Times, Republican consultants Katie Packer Gage, Ashley O’Connor and Christine Matthews hope to reverse the trend by launching a group called Burning Glass Consulting.

“We want to get smarter about how we communicate the Republican message specifically to women,” Gage told the Times. “Certainly there are challenges with other demographic groups, but women represent 53 percent of the electorate.”

According to the report, “The three strategists will undertake public opinion research, TV ads and general consulting for Republican candidates about how to better reach that majority.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Republican Party has been down this road before. Just eight months ago, the Republican National Committee itself declared its intention to “stop talking to itself,” and improve outreach to minorities, the working class, and the same women that Burning Glass intends to target today.

“Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need a party whose brand of conservatism invites and inspires new people to visit us,” the Republican consultants who wrote the report optimistically suggested.

The suggestion didn’t take. On the contrary, Republicans have managed to move even further out of the mainstream — at a grave cost to their already tattered reputation.

Ultimately, Burning Glass Consultants will encounter the same problem the RNC did. Sure, a more moderate tone couldn’t hurt the Republican Party’s efforts to win over women — it may even help them on the margins. But there is no message fix that could paper over the fact that elected Republicans are devoting their efforts to shuttering women’s health clinics, restricting access to contraception, and trashing the Affordable Care Act’s maternity coverage, among a long, long list of other policies that are genuinely hostile to women.

Yes, the Republican Party would benefit if far-right candidates like Richard Mourdock would stop telling women that they can’t undergo an abortion after being raped, because “God intended” for them to be attacked. But the GOP would be even better off if that wasn’t the party’s official platform.

Burning Glass’ effort to attract female voters is surely well intentioned. But as Republicans are finding out in their unsuccessful push to attract Hispanic voters, actions speak louder than words.

By: Henry Decker, the National Memo, November 12, 2013

November 14, 2013 Posted by | GOP, War On Women, Women's Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“And This Too Shall Fail”: The GOP Wants To Solve Its “Woman Problem” By Rebranding Its War On Women

Three women in Virginia have started a consulting firm to help the Republican party appeal to women voters, which seems like it will be a real challenge since the Republican party is terrible on the issues that many women care about.

The women behind the firm — two Mitt Romney 2012 campaign alums and a Republican pollster — launched Burning Glass Consulting because they “want to get smarter about how we communicate the Republican message specifically to women,” Katie Packer Gage, a former deputy campaign manager for Romney, explained to the New York Times. “Certainly there are challenges with other demographic groups, but women represent 53 percent of the electorate.”

But better messaging will do little to save the party from its core platform, which the Times frames as an opinion held only by Democratic strategists, but really just seems like common sense. The GOP has for years been buttering its bread with increasingly extreme positions on contraception, abortion, voting rights and other issues that negatively impact and alienate single women voters — the group Burning Glass would most like to reach.

“There were something like 53 million unmarried women eligible to vote in 2012, but on campaigns you don’t hear a specific strategy discussed of ‘How are we going to reach unmarried women?’” said Gage.

The firm seems to think that Democrats have just gotten very good at framing the Republican party as hostile to women, which misses the point that the Republican party is actually very hostile to women.

When you have the chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee laughing on Fox News about how women should have to shoulder the financial burden of maternity coverage alone because a man “has never delivered a baby,” you know the problem isn’t about messaging.

When you have a state attorney general wondering aloud why God hasn’t punished the United States for guaranteeing women their constitutional right to abortion care, you know the problem isn’t about messaging.

As Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America noted last week after single women helped defeat Ken Cuccinnelli in Virginia, “The lesson for candidates in 2014 is unmistakable: Dismiss and demean women at your peril.”

 

By: Katie McDonough, Salon, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Republicans, War On Women, Womens Rights | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Grand Old Party In Reverse”: Christie, Cuccinelli And What The GOP Didn’t Learn In 2012

Elections, the saying goes, have consequences. Of course, some have more consequences than others. Consider the 2012 election – and then ponder this week’s gubernatorial races. You’d imagine that the big nationwide election would do more to jar the GOP than a couple of off-year gubernatorial races. But given the right’s nonreaction to 2012, reality-based Republicans must hope otherwise.

Think back a year. Given the results of the 2012 elections – Barack Obama won re-election by 4 percentage points and 5 million votes; Senate Democrats gained seats, and House Democrats drew more votes (if not more seats) than House Republicans – you would not be faulted for thinking that the GOP was in for a course correction. And, for a brief while, it seemed likely. The Republican National Committee issued a postmortem with a slew of recommendations on how to turn the party around, with a focus on reaching out to female, minority and young voters. Washington pundits declared comprehensive immigration reform inevitable because Republicans had to do something to get on the right side of Hispanic voters. That was then. Now?

“At this point, we’ve gone backwards because of the government shutdown,” says Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “That doesn’t mean we can’t be resurrected in time to do very well in the 2014 elections given the gift of Obamacare. But it’s hard to look at the state of the party today versus Election Day in 2012 and think we’ve made much progress.”

What happened? The party leaders who wanted to adjust to the facts of reality were rolled by the alliance of the tea party and the right wing’s media-industrial complex, which is more interested in whipping up the base (and then fundraising off of it) than what movement conservatives like Erick Erickson derisively refer to as the “‘governing’ trap.” The Republican reboot was lost in a miasma of conservative windmill-tilting that culminated in the ill-conceived, predictably disastrous shutdown.

“They don’t care [about polls], but they need to care,” says Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy. “When you need to pick up as many [Senate] seats as Republicans need right now, you can’t afford to have your brand hurt.” As former Rep. Tom Davis, a moderate Virginia Republican, said recently, “You’ve had the diagnosis, and now there’s the denial.”

When asked whether the GOP is better off a year later than immediately after getting trounced last November, one veteran Republican lobbyist offers that sometimes a party has to hit rock bottom. “At some point you have to cleanse your system,” the lobbyist says. “The question is how do you respond when you hit rock bottom?” The twin events of the dismal shutdown and this week’s contrasting gubernatorial elections give the GOP a fresh chance to hit the rock bottom reset button.

And there’s some hope that the 2013 elections will have the consequences that can finally penetrate the right’s bubble. Mitt Romney might have been challenging Obama in 2012, but he was also stalked by a phantasm of the right – a “true” conservative candidate that could set their hearts aflutter. The far right says “look, Romney wasn’t conservative enough … you need to shut the government down over Obamacare,” according to Davis. A true conservative, the theory goes, would have delivered the victory over Obama that the right wing fully expected right up until Fox News declared the president re-elected last year.

The 2013 elections, while more narrowly focused, present a starker contrast. You have conservative darling Ken Cuccinelli in the purple state of Virginia losing to Terry McAuliffe of all people; and you have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Republican who literally embraced Obama last October after Superstorm Sandy, winning by a landslide in a true-blue state. As pollster Ayres said when asked about this scenario last week: “It certainly presents a pair of compelling case studies whose message is obvious to all who are willing to see.”

So where to from here? Two things to keep an eye on: First is the budget battle rerun due in January – to what extent is the Ted Cruz-led conservative cabal able to drive the party into another vain, self-destructive shutdown? Early signs give reason for skepticism. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, has ruled out another shutdown. “Ted Cruz went out and led a parade that he said would be a success … and then he walked down the alley like that character at the end of ‘Animal House,’ marched the whole band into the wall – and then he ran out and had a TV interview,” says conservative activist Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, who adds that the next time Cruz has an idea, Republicans are either “going to throw something big at him” or otherwise politely dismiss him.

A second focus point will be the 2014 primaries. McConnell faces a serious challenge and a slew of other incumbents have primaries as well. “Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races,” former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook recently. “Let’s start with Kentucky – which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi – from sea to shining sea we will not give up.” The latter references were to GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham, Lamar Alexander and Thad Cochrane – all incumbents facing challengers. It’s early to say whether any are credible, says Duffy, “but for a collection of safe incumbents, that’s a lot of primaries.” If the primaries produce few or any upsets, it could mean the tea party’s influence has receded.

“Republicans are only one election and one candidate away from resurrection in 2016,” says Ayres. Time will tell.

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, U. S. News and World Report, November 8, 2013

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Election 2012, GOP | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Obvious Problem”: Chris Christie Needs Republicans To Have A Terrible 2014

I wouldn’t say that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the presumptive frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016—though, like Ross Douthat, I’m not sure who could beat him—but it is true that he is the official candidate of the GOP establishment. And, with a reelection coalition of Republicans, Democrats, young people, Latinos, and African Americans, Christie stands as the only potential presidential nominee that can claim a credible path to victory.

It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, to learn that his rivals are already throwing shade in his direction. NBC News has a good round-up of the Republican presidential contenders who have opened fire on the New Jersey governor:

“Clearly [Christie] was able to speak to the hopes and aspirations of people within New Jersey,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told CNN. “That’s important. We want to win everywhere and Gov. Christie has certainly shown he has a way of winning in New Jersey, in states like New Jersey… so I congratulate him on that.” In other words, as TPM put it, Rubio was saying, “Try replicating this outside of New Jersey.”

Here was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “I think the Republican Party is a big party, and we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey in our party.” Hear that? Christie is a “moderate,” per Paul, who also knocked the Hurricane Sandy TV ads Christie ran in his re-election effort. And here was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “I think it is terrific that he is brash, that he is outspoken, and that he won his race,” Cruz told ABC. “But I think we need more leaders in Washington with the courage to stand for principle. And in particular, Obamacare is not working.”

Even after the disaster of the shutdown and Ken Cuccinelli’s loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race, the operating assumption of right-wing Republicans is that success will come when conservatives take a doctrinaire approach to their ideology. The available evidence makes clear that this isn’t true—Ted Cruz, for instance, won his election, but he underperformed Romney—but this doesn’t matter to either the GOP base or lawmakers like Cruz.

This poses an obvious problem for Christie. Insofar that his message of electability has any chance of resonating with Republican primary voters, it will be because they have given up the quest for purity, and are desperate to win, which means that, for Christie, the best thing that could happen is for Republicans to have a terrible 2014. If the GOP continues down its path of extremism, and loses its shot at capturing the Senate as a result, Christie has perfect ground for making his pitch.

Unfortunately for him, the more likely outcome is that Republicans do pretty well. The combination of a sluggish economy and voter discontent will hurt incumbents, which threatens the Democratic majority in the Senate and precludes the party from making real gains in the House. And a GOP base that does well—or even okay—in next year’s midterms is one that doesn’t have much interest in Christie’s message.

 

By: Jamelle Bouie, The Daily Beast, November 7, 2014

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Election 2014, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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