Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank did his best to spin the extramarital affair of Congressman Vance McAllister (R-La.) by declaring “Republicans make their ‘war on women’ worse.” In a piece published April 8, Milbank professed that the McAllister affair was “Not the way Republican leaders had planned to observe Equal Pay Day” before laying into the GOP’s supposed problems with female voters.
After spending three paragraphs detailing the affair itself, the Post columnist asserted that “Republicans aren’t responsible for McAllister any more than Democrats are to blame for Anthony Weiner’s weirdness. But for Republicans, who have a big disadvantage among unmarried women, this reinforces a perception.
Milbank then describes what the so-called “perception” was:
The Democrats’ accusation of a GOP “war on women” sticks not because of what Democrats say but because of what Republicans do- and the problems aren’t personal pratfalls but rather public policy.
So according to Milbank’s bizarre logic, the GOP isn’t responsible for McAllister but it “reinforces a perception” that GOP policies are anti-women? So only Republicans engaged in extramarital affairs or sex scandals can reinforce a “war on women” narrative, yet Democrats like Anthony Weiner, Elliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton don’t suggest that the Democratic Party is engaged in a “war on women?”
Using Milbank’s logic, shouldn’t scandals by Democrats cut into the “war on women” argument made by Democrats? Rather than see the hypocrisy in his flawed argument, Milbank happily sidestepped the notion that disgraceful acts of Democratic politicians reflected the image of the entire Democratic Party.
Milbank continued to double-down on his attempts to connect McAllister to the GOP’s “problems” with women:
But when one side complains that the other is “playing politics,” it’s a safe bet that those doing the complaining are losing. Cantor and McConnell don’t seem to grasp that the war-on-women accusations aren’t made in a vacuum; they gain traction because of proposals Republicans are advancing.
Consider Paul Ryan’s budget, which the House is debating this week. Among those functions of government the Republican congressman from Wisconsin would cut, many disproportionately benefit women, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
The piece concluded with Milbank once again using a double-standard when saying that the GOP wasn’t responsible for the action of individuals before blaming the party for the actions of a few:
Certainly, it doesn’t help the Republican image when Michael Hayden, who was CIA director during the George W. Bush administration, attempts to discredit Dianne Feinstein, the earnest and steady chair of the Senate intelligence committee, as “emotional.” Neither does it help when Breitbart News, a conservative outlet, runs ads featuring Nancy Pelosi’s head on an image of a woman twerking. Or when McAllister marks Equal Pay Day by firing the staffer he kissed.
But the indignities visited on a few women wouldn’t be a problem for Republicans if millions of other women weren’t also threatened with injury — by the clinical language of a budget resolution.
Interestingly, in addition to Milbank's column, the McAllister scandal lead the gossip column on page 2 of the Style section on April 9th. The Post proclaimed “Scandal’s Recipe: Vice and Visuals” and included a large image of the Republican caught on camera with his female staffer. While the Post’s Style section didn’t go as far as Milbank in connecting McAllister to the GOP’s policies, their decision to deem this scandal worthy of such extensive coverage seems to fit the narrative Milbank was trying to push.