Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Thursday accused Democrats of inventing an "imaginary" war on women to score political points in an election year.
During a Senate speech outlining why he supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), something that many Republicans oppose, McCain blasted Democrats for "dividing the country in the name of greater fairness and unity."
"My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," the Arizona senator declared.
"I believe women and men in our country are smart enough to recognize that when a politician or political party resorts to dividing us in the name of bringing us together it usually means that they are either out of ideas or short on resolve to address the challenges of our time," he added. "At this time in our nation’s history, we face an abundance of hard choices. Divisive slogans and the declaring of phony wars are intended to avoid those hard choices and to escape paying a political price for doing so."
"Women and men are no different in their rights and responsibilities," McCain concluded. "I believe this legislation recognizes that. I don’t believe the ludicrous, partisan posturing that has conjured up this imaginary war does."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) recently explained to CNN's Candy Crowley why she thought if was fair to pin the "war on women" label on the GOP.
“The policies that have come out of the Republican Party, saying that we should have a debate again over contraception and whether we should have access to it and it should be affordable, saying that — like Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, you know, he tried to quietly repeal the Equal Pay Act,” Wasserman Schultz noted. “Women aren’t going to stand for that. Governor Walker just signed a bill that repeals the equal pay law they had in Wisconsin for years.”
She continued: “You have Republicans who have engaged themselves for the entire Congress trying to redefine rape as only being forcible rape, defunding Planned Parenthood and family planning programs. The Lilly Ledbetter Act — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act put teeth behind the notion that women deserve equal pay for equal work. That was the first bill the President Obama signed into law. The overwhelming majority of Republicans serving in Congress voted against it.”
“So, the focus of the Republican Party on turning back the clock for women really is something that is unacceptable and shows how callous and insensitive they are towards women’s priorities.”
House Republicans on Wednesday introduced a watered-down version of VAWA that diminishes protections for Native women, lacks provisions for the LGBT community and removes added visas for undocumented victims of violence.
The law was first passed in 1994 and then reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, all by bipartisan majorities.
Vice President Joe Biden, who drafted the original bill while serving as a senator, said last week that he couldn't understand why it had now become a partisan issue.
"The idea we’re still fighting about this in Congress, that this is even a debatable issue, is truly sad," the vice president lamented.
“No one should question whether this is needed,” Biden added. “It would have been bad if the law had never been passed. But imagine now, the message it sends if it is not reauthorized. Just ask what message it would send to every one of our daughters, every woman imprisoned in their home.”
Watch the video below from C-SPAN, broadcast April 26, 2012.
(h/t: The Huffington Post)