Not big on anecdotal stories, but this is certainly reflective of an important constituency.
As baby showers go, the party Mary Russell attended to celebrate her niece’s first child was sweet, with about a dozen women offering congratulations over ice cream and cake.
But somewhere between the baby name game and the gifts, what had been light conversation took a sharp turn toward the personal and political — specifically, the battle over access to birth control and other women’s health issues that have sprung to life on the Republican campaign trail in recent weeks.
“We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago,” said Ms. Russell, 57, a retired teacher from Iowa City who describes herself as an evangelical Christian and “old school” Republican of the moderate mold.
Until the baby shower, just two weeks ago, she had favored Mitt Romney for president.
Not anymore. She said she might vote for President Obama now. “I didn’t realize I had a strong viewpoint on this until these conversations,” Ms. Russell said. As for the Republican presidential candidates, she added: “If they’re going to decide on women’s reproductive issues, I’m not going to vote for any of them. Women’s reproduction is our own business.”
I'm not sure what the GOP electoral strategy is anymore on a national level. There seems to be a belief that one can win the presidency while Hispanics, African-Americans, and women vote in large majorities for the other side. Yet white male evangelicals/Catholics aren't exactly a burgeoning sector of the electorate.
It's the Tea Party dichotomy all over again. You can use extremist positions to move districts with large Republican majorities to the right, but as the races become larger and the districts become more competitive, the strategy rapidly becomes less effective.
And for the Democrats, Rush Limbaugh talking about women's ladyparts is the best thing that could have happened to this discussion.