'War on women' rhetoric heats up in Michigan state politics
Michigan State Capital building is seen March 17, 2008 in Lansing, Michigan
June 6th, 2014
11:41 AM ET
3 months ago

'War on women' rhetoric heats up in Michigan state politics

(CNN) - The political back-and-forth over the recurrent "war on women" line is playing out again in Michigan politics.

A picture showing a trio of male GOP state representatives pretending to read women's fashion magazine has predictably caused a stir among Michigan Democrats.

The photo of Republican state lawmakers Pete Pettalia, Roger Victory and Ben Glardon was tweeted out Thursday by a Michigan reporter with the text: "Don't say we don't understand women."

The reporter, Jake Neher of the Michigan Public Radio Network, later tweeted that the quote was from Pettalia, "...He said it a couple times, jokingly."

Pettalia said in a statement that the remark was taken out of context.

"During a short break on the House floor, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, a leading advocate on women's issues in the Legislature, gave some of us magazines to read and asked to take our photo with them," Petallia said, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

But it didn't take long for House Democrats to fire back with their own version of women's choice reading material.

"Real Women read bills not fashion mags..." Democratic legislators responded along with a picture of four women legislators studying pages of documents.

Some controversial comments by Republicans over the past few years have fed Democratic claims the GOP is out of touch with women, and this week's Twitter picture battle isn't the first time female issue have inflamed political drama in the Great Lakes state.

In April, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land took perceptions of the GOP into her own hands with an ad titled "Really" mocking the "war on women" line.

"As a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters," Land said about her Democratic opponent in the spot.

In the latest clash over gender equality, Democrats throughout the state were quick to capitalize on the picture of the Republican representatives.

The Michigan Democratic Party called on the men to apologize and the group ProgressMichigan jumped on the comments it called "sexist," asking supporters to donate to protect women's issues.

And Democratic candidate for governor, Mark Schauer, said, "No, Michigan GOP, you really don't understand women."


Filed under: Michigan • Republicans
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. RF

    Lets see what the Republicans have on hand for women in Michigan
    Abolish all abortion even in the case of rape or incest
    Make women's contraception under health insurance a separate rider that must be purchased separately
    Not require mens sexual performance drugs be covered under a separate insurance rider
    Do nothing on equal pay for women

    Yes this is what the "war on women" is all about in Michigan

    June 6, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. rs

    You see, this is part of the GOP's suicidal tendency. They know they are failing with women voters (generically by 10 points, and I believe by nearly 18 with Mr. Romney). Their assault on women's rights has been real, and brutal, and thankfully, largely un-Constitutional, but the damage is real and significant. Joking about it won't improve things much for them.
    The GOP and outreach, an often comical endeavor!

    June 6, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    I'd say that they have a very good understanding of conservative women, who faithfully obey their husbands. The image they portray is something straight out of movie, a bunch of women sitting around in a beauty parlor.

    June 6, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Sniffit

    ""Don't say we don't understand women.""

    We don't have to. Your picture says it 1,000 times for us.

    June 6, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Michigan women can't afford the Republican Party! Vote no on Terri Lynn Land!

    This message is approved by a Michigan woman that votes Democrat!!

    June 6, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. bobo

    OMG..... It's a JOKE people!!! Geez......

    June 6, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @The photo of Republican state lawmakers Pete Pettalia, Roger Victory and Ben Glardon was tweeted out Thursday by a Michigan reporter with the text: "Don't say we don't understand women."
    ------–
    Oh my. Don't you have anyone on staff who can tell you when you look like total idiots.
    Was that an earthquake or did 1000's of moderate voters suddenly run to the left?
    Please please PLEASE conservatives – more photo ops like that one.

    Women voters – remember conservatives often speak of rolling back 100 years of liberal policies.
    That would put us back before women could vote – think about it!

    June 6, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. O'drama ya Mama

    That is probably one of the biggest insults to intelligence I've seen in a while. How easy would it be to take that 30 second photo op and then toss the magazines behind them? Reading "the top 10 things to impress your man" isnt exactly a great way to claim you understand women.

    June 6, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. g

    republicans voted for free Viagra

    June 6, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. O'drama ya Mama

    bobo

    OMG..... It's a JOKE people!!! Geez......
    June 6, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    I doubt it was a joke. For Republicans to joke about it and admit it would only solidify their views on women even more.

    June 6, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And Democratic candidate for governor, Mark Schauer, said, "No, Michigan GOP, you really don't understand women."

    Their condescension alone speaks volumes.

    June 6, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Dean

    Democrats are such humorless souls. That's why they make lousy governors, representatives, and presidents.

    June 6, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    bobo

    OMG..... It's a JOKE people!!! Geez......
    --------------------------
    Uh, duh, we know that, bobo. The problem is that it is not self deprecating. It targets women by mocking them.

    June 6, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Good joke.

    June 6, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Republican Rep. Gail Haines, a leading advocate on women's issues in the Legislature"

    HAHAHAHAHA. They made her Health Policy Committee chair precisely because she's an anti-choice fruitcake and a woman...and they think that gives it better "optics." She fully supported Rep. Bruce Rendon's anti-abortion-clinic bill that was specifically designed to shut down most, if not all, clinics in the entire state. Excessive emergency equipment and "surgery room" requirements even if they don't perform surgical abortions, hospital admitting privilege requirements, insane licensing hoops to jump through, extraordinarily vague language making it illegal to "coerce" someone into having an abortion and which would be open to ridiculous interpretations that would put doctors at risk of prosecution simply for telling her that having an abortion is safe, exceptions only for the life of the mother, but not her health or future ability to reproduce, and even a requirement for her to submit to screening to test her for "coercion," etc. Haines supported all of that and they call her a leader on women's issues? What a farce.

    June 6, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Marcus (from...?)

    Here's an honest question:
    'Does this guys realize that they are all looking like Mel Gibson in 'What Women Want', prior to the accident that gives him that psychic power, and failing miserably as he in the movie?'

    June 6, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Marcus (from...?)

    TYPO! – It's 'these guys' not 'this guys'

    June 6, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    Rudy NYC
    I'd say that they have a very good understanding of conservative women, who faithfully obey their husbands. The image they portray is something straight out of movie, a bunch of women sitting around in a beauty parlor.
    -------–

    Stepford wives...."can I get you your drink honey""your slippers are here along with your pipe""do you like my new flowered apron? It's very helpful when I'm in the kitchen all day"

    June 6, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Good joke.
    ------------------–
    Bad taste.

    FIFY

    June 6, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It targets women by mocking them."

    Rudy, I've often wondered if men such as these men have any idea whatsoever what the majority of women actually DO think of them on a personal level.

    Were they to truly understand women, it might wipe the smirks of their faces once and for all.

    June 6, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Your comment is awaiting deletion if it doesn't support Obama

    Just more of the same old tired leftist BS, election, after election, after election. Where are the ads with all of the leftist success stories? They don't have any success stories so we won't see those ads. Where are the ads on how they bankrupted Detroit?

    When are people in this country going to wake up and see what the Democrat Party is REALLY all about? All they do is pit one group of Americans against another, victimhood and dependence is their stock and trade, all in order to con people into voting for them.

    June 6, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. just saying

    the picture with the republicans was an obvious humorous picture. the picture with the democrat women was an obvious attempt to deceive.

    June 6, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Lynda/Minnesota
    Lynda Wrote:

    "It targets women by mocking them."

    Rudy, I've often wondered if men such as these men have any idea whatsoever what the majority of women actually DO think of them on a personal level. Were they to truly understand women, it might wipe the smirks of their faces once and for all.
    --------------------------------
    I think it the smirks would be replaced by grimaces of horror, OMG, as they realize just how out of touch they have been.

    June 6, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. vikingwoman

    The GOTP has Nothing to offer women! No equality, no autonomy, no healthcare, no education or concern for families/children & no voice! They offer the same 'perks' to 'minorities', immigrants, seniors & gays! They wrap it in an American flag patterned box full of religious,self righteous 'morality' & feel they are 'saving' the country this way! There is no discussion to be had with people who are fundamental/conservative fanatics & the GOTP is overrun w/persons of this ilk! Solution-Vote!!

    June 6, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. rs

    Your comment is awaiting deletion if it doesn't support Obama

    Just more of the same old tired leftist BS, election, after election, after election. Where are the ads with all of the leftist success stories? They don't have any success stories so we won't see those ads. Where are the ads on how they bankrupted Detroit?

    When are people in this country going to wake up and see what the Democrat Party is REALLY all about? All they do is pit one group of Americans against another, victimhood and dependence is their stock and trade, all in order to con people into voting for them.
    ________________________
    So, in your world, getting legislators out from between women and their doctors; paying women equal wages; not infringing on women's voting rights; supporting higher penalties for domestic violence somehow is divisive?

    June 6, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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