Is the Republican Party already done trying to court the women’s vote? So it would seem, with the announcement of the final two speakers for the Republican National Convention.
The early speaker list was a who’s who of a little something for everyone, with a small mix of conservatives, social conservatives, moderates, women, and people of color. But when it comes to the prime speaking spots, women disappeared off the roster. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has the coveted role introducing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as the GOP presidential nominee. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be giving the convention keynote, the role widely believed to both set the tone and agenda for the ongoing campaign cycle, as well as put the politician in prime time for launching the rest of his or her political career.
Considering the campaign’s highly publicized issues with women voters–one that is believed to be made worse with the addition of the strongly anti-women, anti-healthcare, anti-social safety net vice presidential candidacy of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan–the GOP couldn’t be sending a louder message that they believe women voters and their desires aren’t key to their agenda. After all, Christie made a priority of vetoing family planning and women’s health care funding, even after it was shown that 40,000 women would be without care. As a result, six family planning clinics in the state closed. When the legislature restored the $7.5 million by taking it from an over $500 million in the state’s budget surplus, he vetoed it again.
Christie stalled on a bill that would ensure rape victims weren’t forced to pay for their own rape kits, and has repeatedly stated his opposition to abortion rights, coming just shy of outright endorsement granting fertilized eggs legal rights. In 2011 Christie gave a speech praising anti-choice activists, a move that tanked his local polling numbers but has obviously increased his national viability among the Republican party.
It would appear that the GOP still considers women a “special interest group,” and they aren’t especially interested in winning them over.