Two years ago, in the months leading up to Barack Obama’s re-election to the highest office in the land, I had a conversation with one of my sisters about who she was going to vote for. “Well”, she said “I don’t like Obama, but I’m worried that Mitt Romney will try to restrict access to abortion if he gets elected. So I’m going to vote for a third party candidate instead.” The Democratic advertisement that depicted Governor Romney talking about eliminating Planned Parenthood was very effective in convincing my sister not to vote for him. I had similar conversations with a few other women that I know, and was disappointed but not surprised when Romney narrowly lost to President Obama.
In this election cycle, I see the same tired mantra of the “War on Women” being spun up and deployed against Republican candidates. I see feminists going ballistic over the Hobby Lobby ruling earlier this summer and progressive Senators like Mark Udall introducing legislation to FORCE closely held businesses to violate their owners’ religious beliefs.
In a world where a major religion consigns half the population to second-class status and other backward cultures routinely harass, intimidate, sexually brutalize and abort female human beings, it is almost beyond belief that an American political party is able to turn a legitimate concern over a legal practice into the perception of a full-fledged assault on American women. By creating the “War on Women”, the progressive Left is reducing women to their reproductive organs and sexual practices. It is not only insulting, it is demeaning and those who perpetrate it are guilty of the very thing they accuse their opponents of.
I as a man have less authority on the subject of women’s issues than a woman does. That is why I was glad to see Katie Pavlich’s new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women in a bookstore a couple weeks ago.
Introduction and Part One
In the table of contents, readers are warned in bold print: “DUE TO THE VULGARITY OF MANY DEMOCRATIC LEADERS AS WELL AS THE SO-CALLED WOMEN’S RIGHTS GROUPS THAT DEFEND THEM, THIS BOOK CONTAINS LANGUAGE SUITABLE FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY. OR AT LEAST THOSE WITH STRONG STOMACHS.” Her warning is apt. As I will point out later, some of the language and hateful things said by prominent Leftists is indeed vulgar and disgusting.
In the Introduction, Ms. Pavlich reviews the hypocrisy of the Left in their treatment of conservative women. She cites the example of how Rush Limbaugh was boycotted and hounded until he apologized for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” then goes on to cite several examples of prominent progressives who attacked conservative women in quite offensive and disgusting ways; and how women’s groups are vocal in the case of the former and quite silent when it comes to the latter.
Some of the incidents recounted are MSNBC’s Martin Bashir saying that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth; Dan Savage – who wants to stop bullying of LGBT youth but apparently has no problem bullying conservative women, and in particular Christine O’Donnell; Progress Kentucky who made hateful comments about Elaine Chao; David Letterman who joked about raping Sarah Palin’s fourteen year old daughter; and Guy Cimbalo’s “Republican Rape List”, a list published in Playboy magazine of conservative women he wanted to “hate f*ck”. Just imagine, for one second, any conservative or Republican saying such things. He would, rightly, be hounded from public life. Sadly, the same standard does not apply to Leftist hate.
The three chapters that make up Part One start with a description of how Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe was elected governor of Virginia in part by the successful painting of his opponent Ken Cuccinelli as being “extreme” on women’s issues. As Pavlich points out:
“Ken Cuccinelli never took the time to address birth control bans directly and he lost 67 percent of single female voters because of it. You’d think Cuccinelli, being an attorney, would make it clear to birth control ban conspiracy theorists that the Supreme Court precedent…makes it illegal for state legislatures to ban contraception.
Terry McAuliffe was the candidate out of step with women’s views on abortion. He favors late-term abortions and loose restrictions on abortion clinics that leave women even more vulnerable to abuse or death…Quinnipiac polling regularly shows 60 percent of women favor a ban on late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy.”
The discussion then turns to women’s health in general and includes a recap of how Texas state senator Wendy Davis decided to oppose proposed legislation that would have banned abortions after five months of pregnancy (when fetuses are viable outside the womb), and would have required abortion clinics to meet the health and safety standards of a standard surgical facility. Davis’ opposition to this legislation which was passed overwhelmingly has propelled her to stardom among the progressive Left and led to her decision to run for governor of Texas.
Ms. Pavlich points out that Wendy Davis lied about her story of being a struggling young mother and putting herself through Harvard Law School, when in fact she had married a man several years older who put her through Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School, cashing in his 401K and going into debt to do so. She repaid him with adultery and by divorcing him the week he paid off the loans. When confronted about this, Ms. Davis said she should “tighten her language”.
“Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition”. In this section, Ms. Pavlich points out that it is natural to expect women to have higher health care costs because, in her words “Women are far more complicated than men…They’re the Cadillac of the human body. Statistically, women visit the doctor more and consume more health care…compared to the average man, the average woman lives longer, thinks further ahead, and is less stubborn. I just don’t think actuaries are sexist for knowing this.”
Early in his campaign for Colorado’s 6th District House seat, progressive candidate Andrew Romanoff was trying to play the “Equal Pay” campaign theme, counting on voter ignorance of the fact that equal pay for women has been the law since 1963-64, and that the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act is too extreme even for the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass. Ms. Pavlich spends several paragraphs citing the reasons why men may get paid more over their lifetimes than women do, and how this is usually the result of education, career and lifestyle choices on the part of women themselves. Best of all, she points out the hypocrisy of the Obama administration, which “…pays women 13% less than men.”
The next chapter describes how it was the Republican Party, like with civil rights, supported women’s suffrage against vigorous Democratic opposition. It was Republicans who introduced the Nineteenth Amendment in 1876 and every year after. On the 18th of August this year, the Democratic Party posted a picture of suffragettes on Facebook to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment. But as Katie Pavlich points out, it took years of effort, fighting at the state level and a change in the political winds in Washington before Democrats came around and allowed the passage of the amendment giving women the right to vote. It is unfortunate that the Democrats have been allowed to subvert history by claiming the credit for civil rights and women’s rights when it was the Republican Party that drove these reforms. Pavlich devotes several pages to recounting the history of women’s suffrage, the first woman to serve in Congress – Jeannette Rankin, Republican – and how the Democrats have hijacked this proud history.
The key takeaway from this chapter is the description of an Obama campaign video from 2012 titled “The Life of Julia”, which laid out the Left’s vision of the nanny state as it applies to women. According to Pavlich,
“This is the true war to make women feel dependent on the political success of the Democratic Party and radical liberals. Susan B. Anthony, who declared, ‘I declare to you that woman must not depend on the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and here I take my stand,’ would have been outraged at the paternalism rampant in the ‘life of Julia.’”
According to Pavlich, the agenda is not about women’s rights or what’s best for women, but about political power and the leftist agenda. The radical feminist movement has aligned itself with the larger progressive movement to secure their vision of a nanny state providing cradle to grave care for women, at the cost of their personal freedom and economic well-being.
In the next chapter Ms. Pavlich recounts how the radical feminist movement, aligned with the teachings of Karl Marx, seeks to destroy the traditional institution of marriage, and instead pushes to have the State become a woman’s caretaker and provider instead of a husband or partner. The dismal statistics surrounding the poverty experienced by single mothers, and the failure of the war on poverty are also recounted. She describes the marriage penalty built into the Affordable Care Act, which amounts to about $10,000 per year. The same individuals with the same incomes who are not married do not have to pay this penalty.
Third Left Wall of Shame
The next chapters of the book comprise Part Two, titled “Profiles in Liberal Misogyny”. In these five chapters, Ms. Pavlich colorfully describes the loathsome behavior toward women exhibited by several leading Democratic political figures, including:
- Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, a Democratic icon responsible for the drunk driving death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Through several pages, the infamous exploits of this alcoholic serial womanizer are described. Republican Todd Akin was hounded from public life for his stupid rape comments. But progressives, women’s groups and other liberals are hypocritically silent about Kennedy’s misdeeds and celebrate him as a “champion” of women’s rights.
- In another telling passage, Ms. Pavlich recounts the hate she received for pointing out this sorry tale on a televised debate. Viewers tweeted that she was a “c*nt”, a “bitch”, and a “ho”. Other tweeters thought that “her back should be broke”. Again, these attacks on a conservative woman are par for the course, with no outrage or offense taken by the left.
- The sordid sexual history of the male line of the Kennedy clan, starting with Joe Sr., who had “hundreds of affairs” are recounted. The serial sexual escapades of John F. Kennedy are described, along with the mysterious death of Mary Pinchot Meyer, one of JFKs mistresses who was murdered execution style in 1964. Of course, JFK mistress Marilyn Munroe also died of a “suicide”. Robert F. Kennedy was no choir boy either. I had not known that he carried on a sordid four year affair with Jackie Kennedy after JFK’s death.
- The sexual predations of the next generation are recounted with a review of William Kennedy Smith and Michael Skakel (accused of rape and convicted of murdering a 15 year old girl, respectively) and their sexual misdeeds.
- The suffering of the Kennedy women is described too – how Joe Sr.’s daughter Rosemary was lobotomized because she was “slow”, how long-suffering Rose covered for her husband as his life-long abuse of women continued, of how Ted’s wife Joan succumbed to alcoholism to numb her pain, and how Mary Kennedy hanged herself in 2012.
In the next chapter Ms. Pavlich recaps the more recent, hence better known story of America’s 42nd President, serial womanizer, accused perjurer and husband of possible future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though this history is more recent and fresher in people’s minds, it is still worth noting that Bill Clinton was an adulterer, accused rapist, and all-around creep. It mystifies me how this man can be idolized when his personal behavior is so abhorrent. If a prominent Republican exhibited the same behaviors, he would be (rightly) vilified, demonized, resignations demanded and prosecutions pleaded for.
In the chapter titled “The Clinton Democreeps”, Ms. Pavlich catalogues a pretty impressive list of prominent and less well known Democratic politicians who have engaged in truly reprehensible behavior against women including verbal abuse, inappropriate touching, sexual assaults of various degrees of severity including rape, paying women less than men (in apparent violation of the Equal Pay Act), and other bad behaviors. The miscreants noted include Bob Filner (close friend of Nancy Pelosi and co-founder of the Congressional Progressive caucus), Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Sheldon Silver, Dick Harpootlian, David Wu, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Dodd, John Arnold and Mel Reynolds.
The next chapter describes how Hillary Clinton “broke the women’s rights movement”. As Pavlich wrote:
“She [Hillary] is America’s most famous enabler of abusive powerful men and, as a result, the great betrayer of everything Susan B. Anthony and every other women’s rights pioneer once stood for…Hillary is the woman who looked the other way. Because she looked the other way, her husband was allowed to demean and humiliate scores of women. Because she looked the other way, Bill Clinton’s behavior became a template for impressionable boys and young men for whom mauling interns and cheating on your wife is socially acceptable “private behavior”. Because she looked the other way, the women’s movement has become a partisan joke. And of course because she looked the other way, she became a successful politician as a quid pro quo.” [Emphasis mine]
The vile attacks on the various women who came forward to claim that Bill Clinton had sexually harassed them (Paula Jones), had affairs with and impregnated them (Gennifer Flowers), raped them (Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey) and others are well documented and discussed. With Hillary’s tacit or outright approval and participation, these women were called “…liars, crazies, gold diggers, stalkers and sluts.”
Not only did Hillary enable and condone harmful behavior as First Lady, the State Department under her “leadership” was also a rife with “…cover-ups, scandals, and sexual misconduct from senior officials, including a U.S. ambassador.”
The remainder of the chapter discusses various antics of the radical women’s movement that are disgusting and pathetic at the same time. I will let readers discover this material on their own.
Of noteworthy mention is the “Hosurance” campaign dreamed up by our own ProgressNow Colorado and its “loose cannon” political director Alan Franklin. These low-budget ads promoting Obamacare among young people provoked outrage among conservatives and pride of authorship among Colorado progressives. In my view, they promoted a vision of young people being conned into paying more than their fair share to subsidize the health care of others in a fraudulent big-government scheme.
In Chapter Eight, Ms. Pavlich describes how Barack Obama is the most “anti-woman” president ever. I found this surprising. After all, his top advisor, Valerie Jarrett, is a woman. He is married and has two daughters. Katie Pavlich, however, states that “Obama is the worst president for women because he has systematically lied to them. He has brazenly campaigned as their champion, even as he seeks to make them wards of the state, forever dependent on government largesse in the form of food stamps and free birth control. He’s claimed to work for their best interests, and yet screwed them at every opportunity.”
Pretty strong words, but she goes on to back them up with several “indictments”, including:
- Atmosphere of sexism – a former woman worker told Obama’s consigliere Valerie Jarrett that the White House “…fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.” Perhaps it’s because of concerns over Michelle’s jealousy, but Obama’s top golfing partners are all men. He has taken women to play golf on only a few occasions. Basketball games are all-male occasions.
- Equal pay for women. In apparent defiance of the law, Obama’s White House pays women on average $11,000 less than men in terms of average salaries. Only 10 percent of Obama’s appointed “czars” are women.
- Patterns of discrimination and sexual harassment. As I read through this section, I tried to imagine some of the behaviors described taking place in any workplace I have been a part of over the last 20 years. I could not do it. The experiences of Christy McCormick, a Department of Justice civil rights attorney are described in detail. They are appalling.
- Using the IRS to keep women out of politics. Everybody knows about the scandal of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups in a blatant attempt to suppress and terrorize political opponents. What is less well known is that many of these groups are led by women. Over the course of several pages the abuse, intimidation and harassment of these women by various agencies of the federal government is described, a chilling account of unconscionable abuses of government power.
- Obamanomics. “There are 780,000 fewer women in the workforce today than when Obama took office in 2009”. Jobs added during the tepid recovery have been mostly filled by men. This accords with Obama’s and the progressives’ belief that women should be wards of the state. Their policies are helping to make that happen.
- Obamacare. According to the Manhattan Institute, women’s insurance rates are increasing by 62% nationally, and in some states could triple. Pavlich recounts the stories of women like Edie Littlefield Sundby (a cancer patient who lost her doctor and insurance due to Obamacare) and Debra Fishericks, another cancer patient who lost her insurance. Progressive Democrats say they are all for “women’s choices”, but under Obamacare women are losing the choice of doctors that they had before, and married women who are covered under their husband’s plans are faring especially poorly.
- Negotiating with Iran. “Iran, of course, is among the most anti-woman regimes in the world.”. And, I might add, one of the most anti-gay regimes as well.
Abortion, My Least Favorite Subject
Ms. Pavlich kicks off Part Three of her book with a chapter on abortion, called “The Abortion Lie”. In her words,
“Many women will tell you that abortion is the main reason they vote for Democrats. They’ll say that the Democratic Party’s “pro-choice” platform is the best thing about the party of Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt. They’ll excuse every Democratic politician’s scandals, lies, and abuse of women in their personal lives just because that politician vows to protect the right to an abortion any time, any place, for any reason.” [Emphasis mine]
Ms. Pavlich has some pretty compelling arguments against abortion, and I learned more about the subject from this chapter. I still believe that personal health and reproductive choices are best left to the individual involved. While Pavlich presents a convincing argument that having an abortion may actually harm a woman, I still believe it is her choice whether or not to have one. The state is not (or shouldn’t be) the arbiter of personal health choices. This chapter deepened my dislike of late term abortion (which is what the 2013 legislation in Texas was about), and I continue to support restrictions of late term abortions except when the mother’s life is unquestionably at risk. As a man, my preference is to let women fight this one out. I believe male politicians of both parties should do the same.
The misogynistic culture in Hollywood is discussed next. Between the fact that there are far fewer women directors than men, women and young girls are routinely sexually harassed and abused (the story of Samantha Geimer, the young girl who was raped by Roman Polanski is particularly disturbing), and the culture of “anything goes” when it comes to sex, Hollywood is a “brutal and unforgiving city for women, where false expectations founder on a culture that chews up and spits out aspiring starlets, singers, and models.”
The final chapter in the book is about how the National Rifle Association is the true pro-
woman group in America. As everyone knows, a gun enables a 110 pound woman to defend herself against one or many 180 pound attackers intent on causing her grave physical harm or death. Ms. Pavlich describes various statistics to support the fact that owning and carrying guns does help enhance women’s safety. She also describes in detail some events I witnessed firsthand – the great gun control debate in the 2013 Colorado General Assembly session. She
recounts in some detail the story of Amanda Collins, the young woman who was raped by a man who went on to murder another 19-year old girl. Ms. Collins bravely testified against the ban on concealed carry on college campuses, only to be abused by former state senator Evie Hudak for her testimony.
When Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, I was unhappy that such an incompetent (as I thought then, I know better now) President had been given four more years to “fundamentally transform America”. I was distressed that a large part of Obama’s victory was due to the success of the Democrats in promoting the “War On Women” campaign theme and scaring so many women, like my sister, into voting for candidates other than Mitt Romney or sitting the election out. In keeping with the maxim “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” the Democrats appear to be promoting this same tired ploy in the 2014 elections, at least here in Colorado.
It is pathetic, sad, and just a little creepy that a man is running for re-election to the United States Senate based on his apparent desire for women to be sexually promiscuous and to force private businesses and taxpayers to pay for their birth control and abortion on demand. If a private company objects on religious grounds and their First Amendment rights are affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that’s just too bad. Mark Udall introduced legislation to compel these companies to violate their beliefs anyway.
As I said in the beginning of this review, the true and real war being waged on women is not happening in America, it is happening in China where more girls are aborted every year than are born in America; in countries run by Islamic fundamentalists where women are very much second-class citizens and oppressed as they NEVER WERE in Western Civilization. In a world where women are at the very real risk of having acid flung in their faces, is it really “war” to ask them to kindly pay the modest amounts that birth control pills cost? Is it “war” to pass legislation requiring medical facilities that provide abortions to meet the same health and safety standards as other surgical facilities? Is it so terrible to have concerns over human lives that are able to live outside the mother’s womb after five or six months of pregnancy?
I’m glad a woman wrote this book. I’m glad a woman pointed out the rank misogyny, hypocrisy, abominable behavior and institutional discrimination that the progressive Left regularly employs against women. As a man who cares about the women in his life, I am glad a woman has cast down this gauntlet.
Katie Pavlich is an excellent writer. I recommend this book with a 5 star rating and hope that everybody who cares about women’s rights and well-being, especially those on the Left, read it.
By Richard D. Turnquist
August 24, 2014
Washington Times Joy Overbeck article on Colorado’s Senate race August 21,2014