• Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo


    How the GOP Invented Elizabeth Warren

    The senator and would-be presidential contender just wanted to be a Washington bureaucrat. Now, thanks to Republican opposition, she’s become the de facto leader of the left.

    In 2007, a Harvard Law School professor wrote an article for the journal Democracy proposing a federal watchdog agency regulating consumer financial products. “It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house,” the professor wrote. “But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street—and the mortgage won’t even carry a disclosure of that fact to the homeowner.”

    Written in the very early days of what would become the Great Recession, the professor noted that the sub-prime mortgage market was a “stunning example” of the lack of such government oversight, pointing out that 52 percent of all sub-prime mortgages “originated with companies with no federal supervision at all.”

  • Mike Segar / Reuters

    Female Troubles

    What Do Women Want? Not the GOP

    It may be a good November for Republicans, but it could have been a lot better if the party had any idea how to talk to women voters.

    Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, and David Perdue, the GOP nominee for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat, are locked in tight races. If they lose, women will have played decisive and outsized roles in their defeats. Walker is facing a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke, and trails by 4 points according to the latest polls. In the Peach State, Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, appears to have scratched out a tentative lead.  

    It’s not that Burke and Nunn are across-the-board favorites; far from it. Rather, both candidates have built up double-digit margins among distaff voters, and in the case of Walker, he has also managed to engender more than just a modicum of disdain. According to a WeAskAmerica poll released last week, Walker is suffering from a 15-point deficit among women, while holding only a 6-point edge among men. An earlier Marquette Law School poll showed a tighter race, but with Burke again easily beating Walker by 18 points among women. To put things into perspective, Barack Obama won the women’s vote in 2012 by 11 percent.

  • Reza Estakhrian


    Will Republicans Win Back the Senate?

    Electable candidates are finally winning GOP primaries again, but the party must do more than just keep embarrassments out of general elections to get its first majority since 2006.

    Mourdock. Akin. O’Donnell. For political junkies, these Republicans are famous for throwing away winnable Senate seats in recent election cycles. For Republican operatives, they are the stuff of nightmares, mistakes never to be repeated and the fuel animating a massive effort to put good candidates on ballots across the country.

    Judging by the results of last week’s Senate primaries, Republicans appear to have figured out how to avoid unforced errors this time around. Establishment Republicans were justifiably delighted with their “mini super Tuesday,” which capped off a strong string of primary results for the GOP this spring. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held off a challenger whose election would have made Kentucky’s Senate seat far more vulnerable. In Oregon and Nebraska, Republicans got some fresh faces in Monica Wehby and Ben Sasse, and in North Carolina and Georgia, electable names have made it to the fall ballot or at least to a runoff.

  • LEAH NASH/Redux

    ‘Upset and Angry’

    Is This the Democrats’ War on Women?

    In 2013, an ex-boyfriend called the cops on Monica Wehby—and four days before her GOP primary, the police report resurfaced. To blame for the leak? A Democratic attack, say Republicans.

    Republicans are crying foul over an eleventh-hour flurry of press reports that Dr. Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon and the frontrunner in Oregon’s Republican Senate primary, was labeled a “stalker” in a year-old police report published Friday by Politico.

    The police report details a 2013 incident in which Wehby’s ex-boyfriend, timber executive and GOP donor Andrew Miller, called the police after Wehby came to his Portland home, knocked on the door for 10 minutes, and then let herself in through a back door. Miller told the police that Wehby had been to his home at least 10 times that week and also was calling employees at his company inappropriately.

  • The Daily Beast

    GOP: Divide And Conquer Women

    In the latest attempt to defuse the left’s ‘war on women’ rhetoric, Republicans are trying to flatter white, married women as “good” while portraying single women as libidinous parasites.

    Common wisdom in the political media is that Republicans have a woman problem. GOP politicians on both the state and federal level attack legal abortion with an obsession rivaling Captain Ahab. Attacks on contraception have grown more shrill, culminating in Mike Huckabee’s instantly notorious RNC speech wherein he claimed Democrats who support contraception access are telling women they can’t control “their libidos.” A number of Republican politicians, most notably Todd Akin, lost in the last election after making offensive remarks about rape victims. The phrase “the Republican war on women” approached “Just Do It” levels of cultural recognition. Most importantly, Barack Obama was handed the White House because of women: 55 percent of women voted for Obama in 2012, but men voted for Romney at 52 percent. Women vote more than men, making the Republican’s woman problem seemingly intractable. Women hate the Republicans, end of story, right?

    Republicans, unsurprisingly, disagree that it’s a lost cause, and have spent the past year dumping huge amounts of money on consultants and prodding politicians into meetings to craft a new strategy when it comes to women. The goal isn’t exactly to win the majority of female votes during a presidential election, which Republicans haven’t done since 1988. The goal is more to derail the “war on women” narrative, and in the early part of 2014, it seems they’ve landed on a strategy that is as brilliant as it is simple: Deny that “women” constitutes a meaningful category that anyone can make broad statements about. Instead, Republicans intend to say that while they don’t speak for all women, they certainly speak for some women, and because of that, it’s false to say they are warring on “women.” If effective, that will make it harder for Republican opponents to use the phrase “war on women” without getting bogged down in a derailing discussion about what women and who feels warred upon.

  • Joe Robbins/Getty, Joe Robbins

    No Pink

    The GOP Can Learn from the NFL

    Advertisers during the football games have started to realize that women are among the viewers and don’t just want pink, girly products. Politicians should take note.

    This Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Broncos and the Seahawks will pit two extremely impressive football teams against one another on the field. Bruno Mars will perform. And many, many people will tune in to watch the ads.

    Super Bowl ads are infamous, in large part because they are what Nielsen calls “the most expensive 30 seconds on TV.” With millions of bucks on the line, advertisers aim to one-up each other with the funniest, most memorable spots. And let’s be honest—most of the ads are for the guys.  It’s not just during the Super Bowl, though; tune in any given football Sunday to be treated to an assortment of ads for dudes, selling dude stuff, and doing dude things. (Also possibly featuring a woman in a bikini or a woman being a buzzkill.)

  • Bill Clark/Getty

    Faux Concern

    Hypocrisy on Privacy and The Pill

    Birth control and data mining used to be things they believed in, now both are Big Government plots to be stopped.

    I’m sure you chuckled at this weekend development as much as I did: At its winter meeting, the Republican National Committee, , passed a resolution condemning the NSA’s data-mining policy. The language about “unwarranted” government surveillance being an “intrusion on basic human rights” passed by voice vote, with only a few dissenters.

    This is being read in the media as evidence for the party’s continuing turn away from war-mongery, Ari Fleischer-style, “watch what you say and do” Big Brotherism and toward a Pauline (as in Rand) libertarianism. And I wouldn’t deny that there’s something to that. The libertarian streak is very in vogue on the right, and neocons can’t seem to get Americans agitated about anything.

  • Eric Gay/AP; Joyce Marshall/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT, via Getty


    When Wendy Davis Was a Republican

    The Democratic hopeful for Texas governor proved she had chops as a local Republican pol. The GOP would do well to remember when she was one of theirs.

    So what do we know about Wendy Davis, Texas state senator turned gubernatorial candidate and Democratic “It” Girl? With her up-from-nothing backstory and Harvard Law degree, the woman is clearly smart, savvy, ambitious, and determined. (There’s no question that she grasps the value of a moving personal narrative.) In her five years in Austin, she has amassed one of the senate’s most liberal voting records. She does not shy from a fight, and she has a flair for political theater to make Ted Cruz envious. (Her filibuster of anti-abortion legislation was, it bears recalling, not her first such rodeo.) People have gone ga-ga over the legislator’s sporty pink kicks.

    Unsurprisingly, the hard-charging, mediagenic Davis has become a hero to women’s group (Emily’s List, nursing a major crush, cheers her as “an inspiring national heroine.”) Anxious Republicans, meanwhile, are sharpening their claws. One particularly troglodytic right-winger—laboring to cement conservatives’ image as sexist jackasses—refers to Davis as “Abortion Barbie.” Get it? She supports women’s reproductive rights and is a comely blonde. What more do voters need to know?

  • Susan Walsh/AP

    ‘Uncle Sugar’

    Why Women Do Not ♥ Huckabee

    What galaxy do Republican men live in? Apparently one where ladies who use contraception are ‘helpless’ and this potential 2016 contender could have been the fifth Beatle.

    A few weeks ago, right after the dark clouds gathered over Chris Christie’s presidential prospects, some friends and I were having the usual Washington conversation of discussing the rest of the field. After we agreed that it was an awfully B-list bench, someone piped up: Hey, don’t forget Mike Huckabee! He’s losing all the weight!

    Clearly, some of that vaporized body mass came out of his brain matter, based on his unhinged comments Wednesday at the Republican Party’s winter meeting. Discussing the GOP’s need to get more of the women’s vote, he said the Democratic Party tells women “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”

  • Joe Raedle/Getty

    GOP's Birth-Control Trojan Horse

    The right wants to use religion as an excuse to legally discriminate against gays and unmarried women—and, ultimately, anyone who doesn’t share their Christian faith.

    Ever since the Obama administration included contraception in the list of services that insurers must cover for clients without a copay, conservatives have been on the attack. As far as most right-wing media is concerned—and definitely as far as the average conservative on the ground is concerned—the problem with the mandate is that it supposedly forces others to “pay for” a woman’s “lifestyle” choice.

    Even though the insurance policies in question actually belong to the women, who usually earned them as part of their compensation packages at work or who paid for directly with premiums, conservatives routinely portray women who use their own insurance to pay for their own medicine as layabouts forcing other people pay for their birth control. Some conservatives even go so far as to erroneously claim that taxpayers are footing the bill for insurance companies to cover contraception.

  • (From left to right) Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman pose before the Republican Party presidential candidates debate in Sioux City, Iowa, on December 15, 2011. (Jeff Haynes/Reuters, © Jeff Haynes / Reuters)

    On Message

    Hey, GOP, Here’s How to Coach Men

    Politico reports that the Republicans are training male candidates how to run against women. Here’s what they should be teaching instead.

    It was recently revealed that Republicans, presumably in a desperate attempt to resuscitate their “autopsy” after the 2012 election, have been coaching male candidates about how to run against women in elections. The details of the trainings, as reported by Politico, are rather sparse. So it’s up to the rest of us to use our imaginations. Don’t mind if I do…

    Thus, below, is my informed rendering of what we might imagine Republican operatives are coaching other Republicans to do or not do in the future to avoid such disasters as Todd Akin, Trent Franks and Saxby Chambliss. And then, because I like to be helpful, I’ve also offered my suggestions for what such operatives might teach GOP candidates instead.

  • Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call, via Getty; Alex Wong/Getty; Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

    She’s a Lady

    Nine Women Remaking the Right

    They’re talented, they’re diverse, and they have almost nothing to do with the mess in Washington. Patricia Murphy on nine women breathing new life into the GOP.

    While the Republican National Committee brass writes autopsies for the party’s 2012 losses and GOP lawmakers in Congress fight with each other over who's a true conservative and who's a wacko bird, a new generation of Republican women is breathing new life into the Grand Old Party. Here, nine GOP women with the potential to revitalize the right. If you haven't heard of them yet, you will.

    1. Susana Martinez

  • Liz Cheney takes questions from the press during a campaign appearance in Casper, Wyoming on July 17. (Matt Young/AP)

    Senate Challenge

    Lean In, Liz

    Michelle Cottle is all for women being aggressive—just so long as Cheney doesn’t win that Senate seat.

    For the record, I warned everyone this day would come: that Liz Cheney would move to assume her father’s mantle as bloodthirsty overlord of the political scene.

    Now, admittedly, I thought Liz might start with something more modest, like a House seat. Or wait until one of Wyoming’s sitting Republican senators decided to retire. Or maybe run in a state where she has lived for more than 15 minutes. (Don’t give me that fourth-generation Wyoming drivel. Both sides of my family hail from Alabama for as far back as anyone can recall. That doesn’t make me a local.) Then again, the Senate has a fine history of carpetbaggery; far too many members of both houses of Congress cling to office until they can’t chew their own food; and, really, there’s only so long the human body can contain the combustible mix of ambition, neocon zeal, and how-dare-you-talk-smack-about-my-dad fury visibly fueling Dick’s elder daughter.