I have followed the talk about the US Republicans' woman problem with awe and fascination. It's terribly exciting, a bit like some Earthian trying to figure out which end of an alien the food should enter and which end it should leave.
It must be very very hard to have to learn, quite suddenly, how to do political campaigning that could reach a little more than one half of all American voters!
Here's one approach that will be tried:
O'Connor singles out an ad aired by Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon seeking the Republican nomination for Senate in Oregon. In the ad, a woman tells the story of Webby operating on her daughter.
"Dr. Wehby was going to open her back and reconstruct my daughter's entire lower spine," the woman says. "She just hugged me and kissed my forehead, and she said, 'It's going to be OK, sweetheart. I've got her, and I am going to see you in a couple of hours.' "
"This is a 60-second ad and it's not particularly issue-driven," O'Connor says of the spot. "It sort of goes to this point that when talking to women, I don't think you necessarily have to be delivering factual information to move them. I think connecting with their heart and really trying to build emotion is more effective."
That may sound a little sexist, but appealing to emotions is what all effective advertising does. And the fact that Republicans are trying to do it is the biggest new development in political ads aimed at women.
Isn't this great? Bolds are mine, of course, as are the happy tears of emotional attachment to this particular campaign strategy. Now I can't stop thinking of all the kinds of ads we are going to get from the Republicans: Benghazi and hugs, Benghazi and fuzzy kitten, Benghazi and evil monster Hillary Clinton attacking fuzzy kitten.
Never mind that, because there's a real live example of this, out of the mouths of Jeb Bush (yes, of that extended presidential family) and Paul Ryan:
Bush and Ryan offered a decidedly softer tone on the nation's problems than some of their more conservative Republican colleagues.
Having toured the country in recent months focusing on the nation's poor, Ryan declared that "the best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned hopelessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love."
"That's how you fight poverty," Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee, told a crowd of roughly 750 dressed in tuxedos and gowns.
Bush, the son of one president and brother of another, called for more welcoming immigration policies, while offering his own poverty prescription: "A loving family taking care of their children in a traditional marriage will create the chance to break out of poverty far better, far better than any of the government programs that we can create."
All the bolds are mine! Are our conservative politicians learning yet (to paraphrase the most recent Bush president)?
I love love love all this talk about love, and in particular the sneaky way "traditional marriage" enters the love-fest. Because the meaning of that is in the moist eye of the beholder. It could be a statement opposing same-sex marriage or it could be a statement telling us that the husband is the head of the household and the wife the compliant helpmate, or it could be about single-parent households as not being filled with love at all and therefore so very poor.
And indeed, this particular conversation isn't very issue-driven! Love and friendship are not terribly effective in combating poverty, unless the love and friendship is felt by the politicians and "job creators" who actually have power to affect the economy! But it's good stuff for the wimminfolks!