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GOP senators whine that having almost no women makes them look bad

The GOP knows its lack of women is a bad look.

By Eric Boehlert - September 24, 2018
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GOP senators Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch

Republicans continue to scramble ahead of the scheduled Thursday Judiciary Committee hearing, where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will testify about her allegations that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her when the two were in high school.

Not only has a second accuser now stepped forward to claim Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was a student at Yale University, but Republicans are faced with the prospect of an all-male panel of older Republicans questioning Ford about the personal claims.

Why no Republican women? Because in the Judiciary Committee’s 202-year history, not a single Republican woman has been asked to serve on it. And of the 23 women in the Senate, only 6 of them are Republicans.

Now the GOP is trying to shift the blame for their shortage of women.

Over the weekend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wondered why Ford only wants to be questioned by senators on the Judiciary Committee, and not allow (women) aides to pose questions. Republicans had floated the highly unusual idea that aides be included as a way to get out of having an all-male face on the day of the hearings.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn had even suggested his fellow Republicans on the committee might hire women attorneys to do the questioning.

Ari Fleisher, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, echoed Hatch’s point on Twitter, suggesting Democrats were guilty of being “calculating” about how the hearing will look to voters.

Obviously, it’s not the fault of Democrats — or, certainly, Ford — that the GOP so few women in the Senate, and none of them serve on the Judiciary Committee. And it’s not up to Democrats to help rectify that problem this week.

The GOP’s problem extends far beyond the Judiciary Committee. There are currently eight Senate committees that have no Republican women serving on them — Banking, Budget, Ethics, Finance, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Veterans’ Affairs.

But for this week, all eyes will be on the Judiciary Committee, and all eyes will be on 11 Republican men who will questions Kavanaugh and his accuser.

The potential for a day-long optics fiasco remain high.

“The spectacle of Ford, 51, being interrogated about her sexual history by older men could present an uncomfortable sight that the White House may take great pains to avoid,” Yahoo notes.

For instance, one committee Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, has already announced that no matter what Ford tells the committee, he’s going to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. And Hatch has already suggested Ford is “mixed up” regarding her claims about Kavanaugh, but even if her claims are true, he still thinks Kavanaugh is a “good man” who should be confirmed.

The GOP’s committed obtuseness comes as new polling data indicates more women voters oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

A group of men who have already said they support Kavanaugh and will vote to confirm him grilling a woman accusing him of assault is not a good look for Republicans — and they know it. But they have no one but themselves to blame for the fact that their party has no women to do that dirty work for them.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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