Dave Weigel has a good piece about Republicans trying, lately, to tie national Democrats and President Barack Obama to the so-called “War on Women” that perpetuated as a major theme throughout last year’s campaign.
Over the last three weeks, one Democratic mayor — San Diego’s Bob Filner — and one Democratic mayoral candidate — Anthony Weiner — have become embroiled in scandal over lewd revelations involving sexual harassment (Filner) and continued online sexual relationships (Weiner).
Republicans have cried hypocrisy, saying it is irresponsible that Obama won’t weigh in on the Weiner or Filner scandals, after making the “War on Women” a campaign theme last year. They have also criticised the media for devoting much attention last year to GOP Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock’s comments related to rape and abortion, while not pressing Obama with the same urgency.
There are a couple of key differences here between the two situations. And it’s worth questioning why Republicans even want to bring the difference into the spotlight.
The first is that Democrats nationally have weighed in on Filner — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, called on him to resign last Friday. As Weigel points out, Obama weighed in after Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments because of a bill Akin had co-sponsored in the House that would have tightened the definition of rape to be “forcible.”
“Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama said then.
“So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women. And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.”
The other key difference is that the Democratic National Committee or any of its subsidiaries aren’t helping to bankroll either Weiner’s campaign or Filner.
The RNC and its campaign subsidiaries, meanwhile, have had quite the hand in helping to fund the campaigns of their more controversial candidates. The NRSC spent $US43,100 on Mourdock’s campaign, according to Open Secrets, and its PAC spent more than $US4 million.
It also quietly sent $US760,000 into Missouri during the final week of the heated Senate campaign in Missouri that featured Akin.
And more recently, when one of its own politicians returning from scandal was making a comeback — Mark Sanford — the NRCC spent $US164,000 to back Sanford’s campaign in its last three weeks.
When asked how the situations were comparable and why Obama should comment — considering Republicans had helped fund their campaigns, RNC communications director Sean Spicer said, “Simple — it was the DNC and OFA that made up this so-called war.”
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