The pro-life movement has an opportunity to re-capture the Senate from abortion activists next year, but pro-life Republican candidates who are looking to win Senate seat in the mid-term elections need to be prepared for continued phony attacks accusing them of engaging in a so-called War on Women.
During the Virginia gubernatorial election, the Planned Parenthood abortion business threw $1 million in false attacks on pro-life candidate Ken Cuccinelli at Virginia voters. They flooded their mailboxes with propaganda aimed at making Cuccinelli’s mainstream pro-life views look out of touch by falsely characterizing him as opposing birth control and contraception. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign joined in on the smear campaign and most voters had a difficult time avoiding the constant drumbeats of television and radio commercials making it appear Cuccinelli hated women.
That lie of attack was successful against pro-life candidates in the 2012 presidential election and Planned Parenthood and other abortion activist groups successfully targeted Mitt Romney and Senate candidates with false ads saying they, too, oppose contraception and birth control — despite their numerous protestations that they merely opposed abortion.
Candidates should expect more of the same in 2014 and they had better be prepared now with responses showing their pro-life views at part of mainstream America.
As Politico reported this weekend, Democrats understand the mileage they made with the false attacks and are already planning to bring them back next year.
“I think we’re going to get to a point where how many times do voters across the country need to send the tea party and the Republican Party a message?” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told POLITICO at McAuliffe’s victory party. “Stop the divisiveness; stop the polarization; stop the obsessive focus on women’s reproductive health.”
Whether that line of argument can be replicated in the 2014 midterms may hinge on who the GOP candidates are and how they respond. Republicans note that many politicians on the ballot next year haven’t prioritized social issues the way Cuccinelli has throughout his career in Virginia politics — and they vow that their candidates won’t be defined by the subject.
“Being pro-life is a majority position in this country or at least close to it,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring. “Candidates have to explain their positions without getting stuck getting nitpicked to death. … We fully expect the ‘war on women’ politics to be used and exploited by Democrats, [and] we fully expect our candidates to be fully prepared for it.”
“It was the most pronounced I’ve ever seen it,” Dawn Laguens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, speaking on a panel Thursday about the emphasis on women’s health issues in the Virginia race.
McAuliffe won the overall female vote by 9 percentage points, 51 percent to 42 percent — slightly below President Barack Obama’s margin and far below what polls ahead of the election suggested but 5 percentage points higher than Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds’s support among women in 2009. Cuccinelli won among married women, 51 percent to 42 percent, according to exit poll data.
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Republicans say the closer-than-expected race proves that the “war on women” narrative isn’t nearly as potent as Democrats suggest.
“The Democrats tried focusing completely on social issues in Virginia and won by just” under 3 percentage points, said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski, who said Republicans are emphasizing Obamacare.
What is definitely clear is that Republicans need to go on the offense on abortion. Voters should have spent more time considering Terry McAuliffe’s extreme abortion views — how he promised he would accept no limits on late-term abortions to taxpayer funding of abortions — than on false attacks on pro-life candidates.