GOP Offers Flip Side to “War on Women” With Democrats’ “Male Problem”

For years now, Republican politicians and pundits have been trying to find the proper counter for claims that the party is conducting a “war on women.” They’ve paraded out a number of new (and mostly unsuccessful) female candidates, claimed that blocking workplace reforms is about making sure more women have the option to stay at home with their children, or touted that blocking access to birth control is really about ensuring women’s religious liberties are kept sacrosanct and unimpeded. The real anti-woman platform, according to the GOP, is providing any sort of  assistance to a woman in order to level the playing field economically or socially. After all, how else can they prove they are truly equal than by overcoming the additional roadblocks they encounter by virtue of being female?

Somehow, that talking point hasn’t played well with the general public. Now, a new one is being tested out, relying on a “men are from Mars, women from Venus” mentality that continues to place traditional gender roles firmly front and center. By fighting for gender equity, one pundit notes, Democrats are actually proving they have a man problem.

“Democrats have held varying advantages among females going back decades, just as Republicans have with men,” argues columnist David Catanese in US News and World Reports, in an article titled “The Democrats (White) Male  Problem.” “There are age-old reasons for this. Men are more drawn to the abstract ideology embraced by the GOP of self-reliance at home and a muscular defense abroad. Women are unsurprisingly more concerned about social issues like abortion because they directly affect their life and health care choices. Women also gravitate to a more collectivist view of society’s role, which fits neatly into the fabric of the Democratic Party, whereas men’s natural instinct to protect their herd attracts them to the individualist Republican identity.”

That Catanese, a reporter who was forced in 2012 to apologize after he defended Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” pregnancy comments, might have some 1950′s era views about how men and women instinctively behave is par for the course. What is more interesting is how this idea that by supporting gender equity — fair pay, the ability to prevent pregnancy so a person can continue to work or better parental leave so a person can work and raise children, abortion, affordable, available health care — that these initiatives somehow harm men, as if there is only so much wealth, jobs and economic security to go around.

Is the flip side to fighting against the GOP’s anti-women agenda an “anti-men” agenda? Catanese appears to believe so. By his description of male and female instincts, he implies that women are turning to government to assist them, which should be the role of the man who is created to want to “protect the herd.”

The language there is telling, and is what is really the key to the battle between Republicans and Democrats: who should be “protecting the herd?” When the government offers a social safety net, the ability to earn and get paid equally regardless of gender, free quality public schools, accessible health care — both reproductive care and otherwise — is it then taking over what the GOP sees as the instinctive role of the man, who should be father, husband and provider?

What the GOP doesn’t yet grasp, and needs to in order to win back moderates, is that this isn’t a male/female dichotomy as many of them see it. Men have just as much of a role in seeing women succeed, either as partners, parents, colleagues or a combination of the above. There are enough assets to go around, despite the efforts of a Republican party under whom wealth has consolidated more dramatically than at any point since the Great Depression. There is no magic scale that states that for every gain a woman makes, a man must be forced to give something up. Helping women in the U.S. does not come at the expense of harming men and there is not a limited pool of resources we must fight over and that requires blocking the other side from accessing it.

Supporting pro-woman legislation does not harm men, and both men and women benefit when economic security and equality for all genders is a plank in the agenda. Yes, even despite Catanese’s and his cohorts’ claims otherwise.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for the article.

Dale O.

Thomas M, I agree with you in almost everything that you stated, especially concerning David Catanese being 'a touch off this one.' (I would say more than a touch off...)
Your list of nicknames is interesting, except for that of Teddy Bore Cruz-out-of-control. You had inserted 'Canada' into his nickname. In this, you sound like a Republican, bringing up the 'foreigner' aspect to perhaps cast a bit of negativity on Cruz. However, in this respect, the eyes of most Canadians tend to glaze over when a connection to Cruz and Canada is mentioned (presumably, one assumes, to show that he is not really as 'American as Apple Pie' compared to those of you that are actually born in your country.)

Dale O.

He is as American as you are. Just because his parents lived in Alberta and worked in the oil patch for a number of years, doesn't make Teddy a true blue Canadian. He was born in Canada only because his parents worked here and he was four years old when his parents went back to the U.S. He was schooled in American schools, steeped in American culture and likely doesn't even know the names of all of Canada's provincial and territorial capitals. In reality, he is one of yours, don't blame us for the fact that his parents, as most adults do, had sex as a married couple while working outside your country.

Teddy Bore is an All-American dyed in the wool right wing teabagger. Please, don't try to pawn him off on us, we have our own right wing compost heap to deal with ...without taking any responsibility/credit for your right wingers.

Certainly, the GOP war on women, not to mention misunderstanding of women drags on and on and on, forevermore.

Janis K.
Janis K.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Poindexter, the only thing "amusing" here is your obvious reading comprehension problem and lack of critical thinking abilities. Go and re-read the information I have provided to you. This time do it more carefully and your inane question will be answered.

You make the mistake of thinking that names of parties mean anything, they do not, the conservative Republican party of today IS the same group that used to call itself Democratic party in the late 19th and early 20th century (as I clearly stated).

It is immaterial is the conservatives call themselves Republicans, Democrats, Nazis, or Know-Nothings, they are still conservatives.

Try studying issues and attempting to learn more, it will help you with your confusion.

Once again, I state, There have been a lot of tremendous accomplishments in this nation in the last 250 years, and the conservatives have been against all of them.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Kevin B.,
Actually, no. I was thoroughly amused by your previous post. Just out of curiousity, how do you explain the racial policies of the Democratic party from pre-Civil War until post-Vietnam? It was not called the "Solid South" for nothing. Must you always revert to insults when you cannot debate seriously?

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Aw, Poindexter are you off your meds again? You must be after that last idiotic post.

I suppose your new response to being completely humiliated and made to look like a total fool on an issue is just to post a "word salad" and play some "pigeon chess."

You are really quite sad.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Well omniscient and everassine Kevin,
Thank you for completely refuting your previous post. I never thought you would agree with me so thoroughly. But your claim that you disagree, even though your post says otherwise, really made me laugh. But then again, you never really knew your own limitations. Even while you were insulting others, for no other reason that they are smarter than you. Better luck next time.

Leia P.
Leia P.2 years ago


Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Oh Poindexter, you are so sad. Go and take a basic level history course. The "names" of parties mean NOTHING.

At one time the liberal party was the Republican party and the conservative party was the Democratic party (you know that red state-blud state graphic they use all the time? Well you could just flip it).

In 1860 the Republicans were the liberals who wanted to stop the spread of slavery, the Democrats were the conservatives and in the south spawned the Ku Klux Klan as a tool of political terror.

Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive Republican and his opposition were racist conservative Democrats, but this changed by the time of the New Deal and continued to change through the civil rights movement and finally the "southern strategy" put forth by RIchard Nixon.

The result was that the racist conservative Democratic party of the late 19th and early 20th century became the modern Republican party we endure today.

So I say again, There have been a lot of tremendous accomplishments in this nation in the last 250 years, and the conservatives have been against all of them.

But thanks for playing, Poindexter, we can always count on you to pontificate on subjects on which you are completely ignorant.