On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, the President of the United States, Barak Obama, gave the yearly State of the Union speech. He was positive about the nation and vowed that as far as he could he would extend numerous programs if Congress did not act. He is the chief administrator in the country who carries out the laws. Congress alone has the power to pass laws.
The Republican response to his speech was given by Washington State Representative Cathy Mc Morris Rogers, the 200th woman elected to the House of Representatives. The fact that she mentioned that she is the 200th woman was interesting in that women make up about 53% of the overall population of the United States. There are 435 elected members of the House of Representatives. Women got the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Why is their number in Congress so low that it has taken 94 years for 200 members of their gender to be elected to Congress? Have they been busy being pregnant and raising children since 1920?
Mrs. Rogers, as she gave her presentation, appeared to be a very nice lady. She spoke sitting on a couch, presumably in a living room somewhere. To a certain extent she praised President Obama stating that their goals were similar, the welfare of the American people; but their methods of achieving them differed. She spoke about Republican plans in Congress to create more jobs, expand medical care, and generally improve conditions for the unemployed and middle class. Her statements were general, no specifics were given.
What came to my mind from what she said were some of the statements that Republicans had made over the years. They would achieve these ideal conditions by lowering taxes for the rich so that they could create more jobs. According to the Speaker, John Boehner, the rich are the job creators. The rich have gotten far richer in the last decade but we still have high unemployment. Where are the jobs they are supposed to have created?
Nothing Cathy Morris Rogers said dealt with how to expand medical care for everyone. She gave one example about Affordable Health Care where an individual’s rates were raised. It was a very general group of statements.
What basically I heard in her speech was pabulum: trust us, we’ll make things better for you. Even though the Republican in Congress have done nothing, since they gained control of the House in 2011, to improve economic conditions in the country except attach the term “Job Creating” to numerous bills that had nothing to do with jobs. In fact Republican actions in Congress have exacerbated negative conditions in the United States to the point of worsening the economic plight of a goodly percentage of the population.
Why did the Republicans choose a woman legislator to respond to the President’s speech? It struck me that the answer to this question was very obvious. The Republicans have been continually accused of making a war on women. According to Mike Huckabee, the former preacher and governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, they all want the government to pay for birth control so they can have continuous sex. The fact that birth control is a factor used by women for purposes of their own health and family planning is immaterial.
(Parenthetically, Huckabee signed a bill as Governor of Arkansas that made birth control a requirement for all female medical plans in Arkansas during his term as governor.)
The Republicans are acting as though women are incapable of making life decisions for themselves. They have been doing this for quite a while. They want women to pay the cost of many of their health decisions while men can freely get coverage on such sex enhancing drugs like Viagra.
In addition to all this many Republicans want an end to all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother being in danger. The Republicans, who seem to be mostly older white males seem to see women as objects that they must control. If this isn’t war on women I don’t know what is?
The choice of a woman, Cathy Morris Rogers, to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union speech was an attempt to demonstrate that there is no war on women. It was supposed to bring both women and men to or back to the Republican fold.
Her speech had no real substance and it belied Republican actions in Congress since 2011. The message she gave for the Republican Party was:
Trust us, we’ll do right by the nation. There was no way of telling how or when. It gave words but no actions. The President, on the other hand, was very specific about what he will do.
The Midterm Election will be held toward the end of 2014. By their voting the public will decide what kind of future the country will have in 2015 and 2016. Will it be more Republican austerity or Democratic growth?