5 Reasons the 'War on Women' Rhetoric Is a Lie

Several women are rising to influential roles in the Republican Party, proving that the "war on women" is a myth.

By + More
FE_120706_AnnMarieBuerkle.jpg
In this Feb. 21, 2011 photo, U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., addresses a packed town hall meeting in Liverpool, N.Y. Buerkle, like dozens of other freshman members, was sent to Congress on a promise to slash government spending. Now, she and some of her colleagues who visited constituents this week in their home districts are facing reactions ranging from support to mild worry over just the cuts they promised they’d make.

Democrats may say that there's a Republican "war on women," but there's another side to the that story: These days, there are more opportunities for GOP women to take leadership roles in the party. It's a win-win: good for the women and good for the party, which needs their energy and expertise.

For example, when party leaders approached Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York about giving this Saturday's weekly radio address, she didn't hesitate to say yes. Despite the fact that she's a freshman who's never given any sort of national address, she's become one of the president's most outspoken critics on the Affordable Care Act. Buerkle, originally trained as a registered nurse, went back to law school when her six children were grown. She then served for 13 years as an assistant New York state attorney general, representing  Upstate Medical University, and then ran for Congress once healthcare reform became law. It helps that she's the granddaughter of immigrants and a limited government conservative to boot. She's the seventh Republican woman to give the weekly address so far this year; if she does well, don't be surprised if we see more of her as the House moves toward a July 11 repeal vote, which she told the Syracuse Post-Standard she is supporting.

[Find out about the women of the Senate.]

Or take Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, a fiscal conservative who was first elected in 2004 and currently is serving her second term as vice chair of the House Republican Conference. She's the only woman and the youngest member of the elected House Republican leadership. She's also the first woman to give birth twice while in office. She grew up on a Western farm as the descendent of pioneers, has small business experience, and is married to a Navy veteran. The Romney campaign wisely named her to serve as its liaison to the House Republican conference, coordinating more contact between Romney's policy advisers and House members with expertise in key issues. Keep an eye on her: Politico is predicting that she will likely have a speaking role at the GOP convention in Tampa, along with New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. McMorris Rodgers is rumored to be on the VP prospect list. If you ask me, she's going places.

Last week, Ann Romney endorsed Mia Love, candidate for a House seat from Utah who is hoping to become the first black Republican congresswoman ever. She's the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and previously served two terms on the city council. During the decade she's been in public office, Saratoga Springs saw 1700 percent population growth—as well as an economic downturn and plummeting revenues.  Mayor Love led the effort to close a gaping budget deficit and was able to secure the highest bond rating available for a city its size. Love is a marathon-running mother of three whose father, a hard-working legal immigrant from Haiti, taught her: "Your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back."

[See the GOP's top Senate targets for 2012.]

In an interview with Yahoo News, Love explained why Republican leaders like House Majority Leader Eric Holder, Budget Chair Paul Ryan, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy have donated to her campaign:

I know what the proper role of government is ... I don't really want to know what's going on in somebody's backyard. It's not my job to know what's going on in their backyard and I try to stay out of everyone's personal lives and their property ... We have an opportunity to reach some of our fellow Americans that we haven't been able to reach, ever, on the conservative side. And if I can reach our fellow Americans and get them to believe what we believe—that the way that they're going to realize the American dream is through hard work and that they can do it, then I'm happy to play that role. I'm happy to be the example.

Republican women like these are great examples of hard-working public servants who believe in limited government; they are mothers who, like many of us, are concerned about leaving our country stronger for the next generation. The more we hear from Democrats about the so-called "war on women," the more we'll hear from these impressive leaders. And the more opportunities for these women, the better for all of us.

  • Read the U.S. News Debate: Is Mitt Romney Blowing It Against Barack Obama?
  • Follow the Thomas Jefferson Street blog on Twitter at @TJSBlog.
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.