- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Listen up! Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has emerged from his man cave to issue an Official Announcement — an announcement of such epic importance that it’s truly more a pronouncement — and it’s one that goes like this: Umm, you women over there. You all can come to the health care party, too.

Grab your cameras now. This may be a rare appearance, folks.

McConnell was speaking to his female Senate colleagues, of course — the same ones who were curiously absent from a 13-member work group that was just established to take up Obamacare reform and repeal. The sign outside the door of this gathering? Testosterone Only, Please.

Let’s just say that particular gathering didn’t look good for a party that had just been dinged by Planned Parenthood for its all-white-male approach to deciding matters of female health care. The abortion provider — err, make that, mammogram provider, for the lawyers in the room — had in March sent a photograph around social media showing 30 or so men around a table, talking Obamacare overhaul, nary a woman in sight, with this message: “Here’s the picture of the leaders negotiating away birth control, maternity care and abortion. Notice anything?”

You’d think the Republican Party, post-Planned Parenthood PR ding, might be a bit more sensitive of the need to include a token or two of the fairer sex in future get-togethers. But no — nope. Just a few short weeks later, and it was all men, all the time once more. And once again, the Senate Republicans took a beating in the press.

Well now, McConnell is making clear: We like the women. 

From The Hill: “McConnell has provided assurance to GOP colleagues that women will be invited to attend future meetings of a special working group tasked with negotiating healthcare reform. The assurances, made in private, backed up by a public statement earlier in the week, have quelled concern in the GOP conference that the rollout of the working group would be derailed by controversy over gender politics.”

Quelled concern — yes. Quelled my humor? No, not so much.

To say McConnell just walked into this one would be a true understatement. He donned Superman cape and flew.

But kudos to the recovery. McConnell actually invited three women to this week’s meetings of the working group, The Hill reported. Among: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Jodi Ernst. And the GOP conference, as we’re told, contains five female Republican senators.

McConnell is also said to have expressed to colleagues during lunch that any senator who wanted to attend — any senator at all, both XY and XX chromosome types — could go to the working group sessions.

So again, kudos for the clarification. But really, Democrats and the media never should have been handed this fodder to fight the Republican agenda in the first place. The Senate already has a reputation in Beyond-the-Beltway land as a body of old white men, out of touch with the modern-day concerns of most Americans. Let’s not spoon-feed the left into taking that image, underserved as it might be, and running roughshod over Republican majority agendas. Conservatives fought too hard to win the Senate to see it cowed by silly public relations messaging. So remember, Senate, going forward: Women, good. All white men, all the time: Not so good on the optics.

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