THE ONGOING GOP CAMPAIGN TO DRIVE WOMEN AWAY…. As the debate on health care reform got underway on Saturday, the first set of speakers were members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, who took to the floor of the House of Representatives to highlight the health needs of American women, and the ways in which reform is necessary. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) decided not to let them speak.

It was a painful and offensive display, but it was also a reminder of a larger truth — congressional Republicans seem to be going out of their way to push women away.

While Republicans scored a pair of impressive electoral victories in New Jersey and Virginia with solid support among female voters, the events of the last week offer harbingers of serious trouble ahead with the largest swing voter bloc in the country — women. […]

Democrats have long maintained that the Republican Party is hostile to all but the most conservative women, and they cited last week’s rough-and-tumble House health care debate as proof that things are getting worse.

Price’s procedural antics on Saturday did not go unnoticed, but just as important, let’s also not forget what happened during Friday night’s House Rules Committee meeting. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) noted discriminatory insurance practices against women customers. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), the head of the Republicans’ campaign committee, suggested women should pay more.

“Well, we’re all different,” Sessions argued. “Why should a smoker pay more?”

And this comes on the heels of the NRCC arguing that Speaker Pelosi should be put “in her place.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told Politico, “This is a party that doesn’t respect women, a party that doesn’t believe women are equal to men…. I don’t think they attract women to their party. I think they repulse women.”

Well, at a minimum, they’re moving in that direction.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.