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Inside the Beltway: GOP advised to battle ‘war on women’ rhetoric

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

There's Republican reinforcement for the March for Life at the National Mall on Wednesday, offering a boost for pro-lifers and potential push back against liberal rhetoric claiming the GOP is waging a "war against women." Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus delayed the start of the organization's winter meeting so members could attend the march. And of interest: delegates will consider a new resolution demanding that the organization should not support a "strategy of silence" when it comes to Republican candidates and life issues.

"Candidates who stay silent on pro-life issues do not identify with key voters, fail to alert voters to Democrats' extreme pro-abortion stances, and have lost their elections," the resolution states. "Staying silent fails because this strategy allows Democrats to define the Republican brand and prevents the Republican Party from taking advantage of widely supported pro-life positions: to attract traditional and new values voters."

Indeed, Democrats are often very deft at both skewing the brand and influencing the national media.

"Some Republican candidates have adopted a strategy of deflection and silence when attacked with 'War on Women' rhetoric, and we've now seen that silence is a losing strategy," says delegate Ellen Barrosse, who authored the resolution and is a board member of American Principles in Action, a nonprofit group.

"If Republican candidates want to connect with key voters, such as women, Hispanics, and young people. They need to fight back on the life issue when attacked," she adds.

"This resolution, paired with the news that the RNC will participate in the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., is a powerful step in the right direction for the Republican Party," says Frank Cannon, president of American Principles in Action. "Abortion is one of the most contentious issues of our time, but the majority of voters stand with the Republican Party on life."

ABORTION BELIEFS: SOME NUMBERS

57 percent of Americans say abortion is "morally wrong" (CNN poll of 1,015 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 3-5).

49 percent of likely U.S. voters believe there should be a waiting period before a woman can get an abortion; 70 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats agree (Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted Jan. 2).

48 percent of Americans say they are "pro-life," 45 percent are "pro-choice" (Gallup poll of 1,535 adults conducted May 2-7, 2013).

THE PERSISTENT CALL FOR BEN CARSON

They insist he is a "citizen statesman," a trustworthy, Reaganesque communicator and a "sure winner." That would be the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which has signed on for some serious signage. The Virginia-based interest group has launched a spate of electronic billboards in Des Moines, Iowa, and Baltimore to make their point about the retired pediatric neurosurgeon who drew national attention following a speech he gave less than a year ago at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Among the persuasive new messages blinking at passersby: "To Heal Our Country: Run, Ben, Run," and "Sick of Politics As Usual," this according to John Philip Sousa IV, chairman of the organization.

Dr. Carson — who contributes a weekly column to The Washington Times — is not affiliated with the group. But he's allowed there is room in his life for politics, should the call come. More than 200,000 have signed the group's petition that they are "clamoring" for him to consider a White House run.

THE WENDY DAVIS MEDIA

Some mainstream news organizations coddle certain people. It does not go unnoticed, as in the case of Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who offered inaccurate details about her personal history to enhance her vigorous campaign for governor in the Lone Star State. This question now emerges: Will the press offer corrections after embracing Ms. Davis' narrative? Newsbusters.com analyst Kyle Drennan wonders if news organizations — NBC in particular — will amend their coverage after offering "fawning" but nevertheless incorrect stories on a woman who has been billed as a "darling" of the Left.

Then there's Glenn Reynolds, the "InstaPundit" for PJ Media. He has taken particular interest in a Washington Post account which characterized Ms. Davis' errors as "fuzzy facts" rather than something more serious.

"Fuzzy facts is when a Democrat tells lies," says Mr. Reynolds, who is a law professor at the University of Tennessee.

Ms. Davis acknowledged her errors, though. "My language should be tighter. I'm learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail," she explained after her magnifications were revealed by a Dallas Morning News investigation that found the candidate was not nessarily the heroic, divorced working mom living in a trailer, as she had claimed.

"Note that she's a Harvard-trained lawyer, but says she can't express herself with precision. Is this what feminism looks like?" Mr. Reynolds asks.

Well, maybe. Meanwhile, her story is still subject to interpretation. Some headlines of note from the last 24 hours:

"Right pounces on news that Wendy Davis embellished her life story" (MSNBC), "Did mainstream media darling Wendy Davis commit perjury?" (Fox News), "Wendy Davis steps on a rake" (Esquire), "Wendy Davis, fibber" (National Review), "Wendy Davis stretched the truth" (The Daily Beast).

SUPREME REGULATOR OF REGULATIONS

"Expect a regulatory rush from Washington before President Obama leaves office in 2017. Frustrated by a divided and stalled Congress, he'll use the executive branch's vast authority to put in place programs that he sees as necessary," predicts the Kiplinger Letter, a trend forecaster for management and the workplace.

"Not by accident, many will also boost his party, burnish his legacy and fulfill campaign promises. This isn't new. Every president does it. Obama, though, is starting much earlier than others in opting for regulation over legislation. Republicans are poised to put up a fight. But Obama will largely have his way, barring intervention by federal judges or big shifts in opinion. The GOP will have to elect one of its own in 2016 to overwrite Obama's regulatory choices," the forecast says.

What kind of regs are we talking about here? Kiplinger predicts multiple new workplace and food-safety rules, gun sale restrictions, more calorie counts in restaurants, higher energy efficiency standards for home furnaces, increased airline fees, greenhouse gas emission restrictions, crackdowns on payday lenders and debt collectors, an end to Cold War export limits and more policing of electronic cigarettes, and possibly cigars.

"Don't be surprised if Obama ends up with more regs than any predecessor," Kiplinger advises.

POLL DU JOUR

50 percent of Americans say they trust "the government in Washington" to do what is right some of the time.

55 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of conservatives, 53 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of liberals agree.

33 percent say the government "hardly ever" does what is right; 37 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of conservatives, 14 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of liberals agree.

13 percent say the government does what's right "most of the time"; 5 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of conservatives, 24 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of liberals agree.

2 percent say the government does what's right "almost all of the time"; 1 percent of Republicans, 2 percent of conservatives, 5 percent of Democrats and 2 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,933 registered U.S, voters conducted Jan. 15-19.

Churlish remarks, polite applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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