The “Bizarre Obsession” of Pay Equity

There are a number of ways Republicans might have responded to this week’s Democratic offensive on pay equity for women. They could, of course, go along with the modest steps Obama and congressional Dems have promoted, which will hardly shake the foundations of American capitalism. They could admit the problem but argue Democratic solutions either won’t work or will have bad side-effects that outweigh the advantages. Or they might even come up with their own solutions; after all, many conservative women get underpaid just like their liberal or centrist or apolitical sisters.

But here’s how Mitch McConnell has chosen to respond (per TPM’s Sahil Kapur):

“Instead of focusing on jobs, [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] launched into another confusing attack on the left’s latest bizarre obsession,” the Republican leader said on the Senate floor. “Just think about that. The percentage of Americans in the workforce is at an almost four-decade low, and Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”

McConnell said that what working class Americans “need right now are real job-creation solutions, not some tone-deaf blame-deflection rally or some daily bout of shadow boxing here on the Senate floor.” He attacked it as part of Democrats’ “never-ending political road show.”

Perhaps McConnell was referring not to pay equity bills but to Reid’s attacks on the Koch Brothers and their massive preemptive advertising against Democratic senators up for re-election this year. But according to everything McConnell has ever said on the subject of campaign spending, the Kochs are just patriotic individuals expressing their First Amendment rights, not a part of some semi-coordinated GOP machine. So why does he need to fly off the handle defending them? He protesteth far, far too much.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.