Equal Rights For Women and the GOP: I Wouldn’t Go There, Sister!

As part of its largely symbolic pushback to the Democratic campaign on pay equity, the House GOP is pushing female spox out there to claim the water’s just fine for wimminfolk in that big-tent Republican Party. Yesterday Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) climbed into the wayback machine to claim the mantle of equal rights for women for her party (per TPM’s Caitlin MacNeal):

“I find this war on women rhetoric just almost silly,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when asked if Republicans opposed equal pay for women. “It is Republicans that have led the fight for women’s equality. Go back through history, and look at who was the first woman to ever vote, elected to office, go to Congress, four out of five governors.”

This is a tactic that is familiar from the GOP tactic on civil rights, when long-past Republican positions that were trampled into the dust by the now-ascendant conservative wing of the party are trotted out anachronistically as fresh evidence of the fidelity to long-lost causes.

If you “go back through history,” you do find a lot of Republican support for equal rights. Indeed, the Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced by two Republican members of Congress, and was subsequently endorsed in ten consecutive Republican National Convention platforms beginning in 1940.

The streak was broken in 1980, never to be revived, at the request of you-know-who and his supporters. Remember that every time Republican pols talk about their record of support for equal rights even as they genuflect to the memory of Ronald Reagan.

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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.