This is our message as Republicans. It comes from the State of the Union response delivered by newly elected Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. All issues are important and principles matter. This, however, is the absolute core of Republican philosophy.
"You don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work."
Personal freedom to make the American Dream work for you and yours is our most basic message. Why, then, do we continue to allow the male leadership of the party to torpedo our message when it is completely avoidable?
Wednesday House Republican women took on the male leadership and it was a very good thing. Instead of allowing the leadership to present a bill simply for the optics of the date, the bill was pulled without a vote allowed. The bill is called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and has been voted on in the affirmative in previous years. Last year it was voted on and passed despite a last minute change that betrayed the Republican women enough that they told leadership that if it happened again, they would no longer vote for the bill. What did the leadership do? Put the language into the bill again this year anyway.
This year leadership brought the bill forward to be passed Wednesday, with the optics playing out that the March For Life in D.C. was set for Thursday.
Taking the lead were Rep Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep Jackie Walorski (R-IN). There was language in the bill that required women to report rape to the police in order to receive an exception to the law for an abortion after 20 weeks. This language was slipped in at the last minute the last time and Republican women objected, yet voted for it anyway. This time it was different.
The women were concerned that requiring a police report would discourage some women from reporting rape to medical officials. The women were also concerned about the next election. This type of rigid language is what turns off Independent and more conservative Democrats from voting for Republicans in the presidential elections. As responsible politicians, it is vital that they look at the long term gains of legislation, not just quick optics that contain potentially offensive language.
About eleven Republican women stood up and insisted that passing a bill on the anniversary of Roe v Wade just for optics was not the way to go. More thoughtful discussion was needed.
Do social issues matter? Yes. It is also imperative that Republican candidates and elected officials learn to talk to voters in a way that maintains personal principle while keeping conversations on the true focus of Republican philosophy. Why give the ugly leftists fodder to lob against Republican candidates? There is a better way. It is perfectly reasonable to support the Pain Capable Anti-Abortion Bill, except for the one requirement. Republican candidates in 2016 need all the millennial and women voters possible.
As pointed out in this article, abortion is an issue that can be prominent in both parties, but the messages are different.
But, the key to politics -- or at least to winning in politics -- is emphasizing those issues where you have the support of a majority of the country and spending less time and energy on those where you don't. Abortion -- particularly when it comes to questions of women who have been raped or the victims of incest -- is an issue in which the majority of the country is not in line with the Republican base. Fifty-two percent of voters in the 2014 election said that abortion should be legal in the United States (23 percent said in all cases, 29 percent in "most" cases), while 44 percent said it should be illegal in all (17 percent) or most (27 percent) cases. And those raw numbers might not even tell the full story. Remember that the electorate in 2014 was strongly tilted toward Republicans, making it more likely that in a more neutral election with presidential-year turnout -- like, say 2016 -- the support for keeping abortion legal would be higher.Message matters. The Republican message of economic opportunity and the freedom to pursue it is the strongest of all messages from the party. Sixteen House Republicans spoke in favor of the bill Wednesday night. Only one was a woman. It is time to move women forward as a voice of the Republican party, especially on an issue like this one. This is a perfect example of why it is so necessary for women to run for and win elected office. Women bring a different perspective to issues.
The language in this bill would not have brought a single new voter to vote Republican in the next election. Banning abortions after 20 weeks is not unreasonable. I would say that eliminating any federal money in abortion is not unreasonable. Without the police report requirement, at least the battle from Democrats on that issue is eliminated. And conservative Republican principles remain in tact.