Alice Ollstein of Think Progress went to a campaign event for Barbara Comstock, a current state delegate in Virginia who is running for Congress. Comstock, being a bona fide lady, provides one of the skirts the GOP is hiding behind to fight back against the accusations that they’re waging war on women. Cathy Gillespie, the wife of candidate Ed Gillespie, asked the audience, “How could they anyone ever think we have a War on Women when we’re running great women candidates like Barbara Comstock?”
Easy: Because Comstock appears to be an old-fashioned female misogynist, a type that exists and is easily identifiable despite Republican claims that such a thing is impossible. We can tell because of her vicious history of attacks on other women, attacks she avoided mentioning during this event:
Comstock also did not mention her past support for Virginia’s controversial mandatory ultrasound law, which in its original iteration would have forced some pregnant women, including survivors of rape or incest, to undergo atransvaginal ultrasound before receiving an abortion. The final version mandates only abdominal ultrasounds.
Comstock, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries and the military contractor Blackwater, has also been a vocal opponent of expanding Medicaid to 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians, an estimated 169,000 of whom are women. Comstock has also promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected to Congress.
But, in an effort to seem like she doesn’t totally hate women—even though she also opposes the HHS requirement that health care plans cover contraception like they do with other preventive medicine—Comstock grabbed onto the shiny new distraction that Republicans think it totally killer: Over the counter birth control pills. Republican candidates in swing states fucking love tossing out “I support over the counter birth control pills”. It allows them to claim they are for contraception while actually working hard to remove access to it. After all, they can be “for” OTC pills all they want, but since they’re running for Congress and not the FDA, there’s nothing they can actually do that would make it happen. So they’re against insurance coverage of contraception, federal subsidies for family planning, sex education in schools, anything that actually makes it easier to get contraception. But hey, on the narrow question of whether they’re for a policy that they literally have no power to make happen, sure they’re for it. Because they don’t actually have to do anything that would actually help women, and thank god, because actually helping women out means that Jesus hates you and you turn into a newt.
But what’s really funny is that even in trying to imitate what they think someone who actually supports contraception access looks like, Republicans fall right into the uncanny valley. Their imitations of what they imagine someone who doesn’t hate women sounds like remind me of Steve Carrell’s character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin trying to describe what he thinks boobs feel like.
Comstock, even though she is an actual woman, seems to know nothing about how this birth control business works. “It would be more accessible,” Comstock told Think Progress. “Instead of having to get to the clinic, it would be at any drug store, which is a lot easier for people.”
Here’s hoping she’s just talking about the birth control pill, because some forms of contraception (condoms) are already available at drug store and some (IUDs) are really not something you want to buy OTC and try at home for yourself. But even generously offering her that, this comment is super strange. I mean, birth control pills are already at any drug store and you don’t actually have to go to a clinic every time you need them. You just go to the pharmacy counter and refill your prescription, a process the “50 white and elderly Republicans” at this event no doubt are familiar with. The use of the word “clinic” instead of “doctor” is also telling, as if getting the birth control pill is something only done through public health clinics like Planned Parenthood. It’s just weird is all. Does Comstock’s own doctor hide away the birth control pill display when she comes in for a check-up, so she doesn’t think that she’s mingling with the common people who do things like that? So many questions.
Further questions were raised by this picture that Ollstein took of a cake being served at the event:
Those are supposed to be balloons. I think. Balloons that will not be thwarted in their Jesus-approved mission of getting an embryo in every uterus. (But, but OTC birth control pills that Congress will never make happen! Believe it!)
Or this amazing speech Ollstein witnessed:
Just minutes later, local community leader Chuck Pearce took the microphone to auction off donated items. Holding up a floral patterned purse, Pearce joked: “Get this for your wife and then you can watch as much football as you want!” When offering up a set of beer glasses decorated with owls, he offered: “When your wife says you’ve had too much to drink, now you can tell her, ‘I don’t give a hoot!’” He later shared that he bought a GPS for his car, but took it back to the dealer because he “didn’t want another woman telling me what to do!”
Women: The Republicans totally want your vote. They are willing to work for 5, 6 seconds at a time for it, and then back to the sexist jokes.