As liberal pundits and Democratic politicians alike insist the GOP has declared a de-facto war on women this election cycle, the Republican National Committee has released a new video arguing the Obama administration is a boy's club that has little to no regard for women.
Titled Obama's War on Women the video, uploaded to YouTube by the RNC on Friday, begins with clips highlighting comedian Bill Maher's history of inappropriate comments about conservative women, a story that has recently been picked up in the mainstream media in the wake of radio host Rush Limbaugh's offensive comments about Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke.
Bill Maher, the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, announcing that he's donated $1 million to President Obama's super PAC, begins a clip by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, before the video switches to another clip of Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, defending the famously liberal comedian during an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett.
The Limbaugh controversy, of course, receives no mention in the RNC video.
As a woman who's a public figure, I certainly, if someone called me a c-word -- Burnett said in a clip that was cut off, referring to a crude comment Maher made about Sarah Palin.
The RNC video did not include Axelrod's response. Instead, in an attempt to frame the strategist as a misogynist, it cut to a voiceover that describes the Obama administration as a boy's club -- said over a still frame of Obama, who appears to be laughing hysterically while flanked by Axelrod and other male staffers -- where women are talked over and effectively sidelined.
The RNC released the video in the wake of the Republican Party's stance on multiple reproductive issues that specifically target women. GOP leaders recently attacked the Obama administration's contraception mandate, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it is a violation of religious liberty. The controversy has placed Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion; a Bloomberg News poll released last week found that 77 percent of respondents said birth control should not be a topic of political debate.
A slew of legislative efforts that critics say would limit women's access to reproductive health services -- such as Virginia's ultrasound bill, requiring women to undergo intrusive procedures prior to having an abortion -- have also been heavily criticized by the left.
Issues related to reproductive health and rights received an unprecedented amount of attention in 2011, primarily through measures introduced by Republican lawmakers. Last year, 36 states enacted 135 provisions related to women's reproductive health and rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 68 percent of which restricted access to abortion services.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...