Forget job growth or the deficit. A pair of TV ads released Tuesday suggests the 2014 elections will dive headfirst into a fierce debate over women’s issues.
The new on-air missives came from a pair of marquee Senate campaigns: Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado and Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land of Michigan, both of whom are in competitive races in battleground states. And because each is the first TV ad from either campaign, they will set the tone for the races’ next six months.
In Udall’s case, the incumbent took aim at Rep. Cory Gardner’s prior support of so-called personhood legislation. The hard-hitting ad accuses the GOP congressman of opposing abortion rights in cases of rape and incest and of “championing an eight-year crusade to outlaw common forms of birth control.”
“It comes down to respect,” a female narrator says in the ad. “For women, and our lives.”
The ad buy, according to the campaign, is worth $500,000 spread over two weeks.
It’s not surprising that Udall is taking aim at Gardner’s position on abortion rights and contraception access: His campaign telegraphed those attacks from the minute the Republican unexpectedly entered the race in February. Democrats successfully used a social-issue playbook in the last competitive Senate race in cosmopolitan Colorado, when Michael Bennet (now chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) won a narrow victory in 2010, and Gardner himself renounced his support of personhood legislation shortly after entering his race.
It might surprise, however, that the campaign is going negative in April, an indication of the danger Democrats believe the well-funded Gardner poses.
Negative ads like Udall’s are part of a Democratic political attack against Republicans known as the “War on Women,” a charge the party leveled with success in the 2012 elections. And they explain why Land’s campaign ran its own ad in Michigan, a spot designed to rebut charges that she’s insensitive to women’s issues.
“Congressman Gary Peters and his buddies want you to believe I’m waging a war on women,” Land says, speaking into the camera. “Really? Think about that for a moment.”
Land then stops talking as elevator music plays in the background, as she drinks from a coffee mug and checks her watch.
“I’m Terri Lynn Land and I approve this message because, as a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters,” she said.
The ad is one of the most visible pushbacks yet from Republicans, who believe they were hurt badly two years ago in part because the party mustered only a muted counterargument to Democratic attacks geared toward female voters. (They also had to deal with fallout from nominee Todd Akin’s controversial “legitimate rape” comments on abortion in the 2012 Missouri Senate race, and Indiana Senate nominee Richard Mourdock’s opposition to abortion for rape victims.) And it comes as Democrats promise to revive the attacks this year, in particular focusing on Republicans who have supported Personhood legislation in the past.
Democrats have said they need to dwell on such issues in part to drive up turnout among single women, a key constituency that votes in disproportionately fewer numbers during midterm elections.
Not all early TV ads from Senate candidates mention women’s issues: In many of the red states in play this year, most of the discussion has focused on more finically themed issues like Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. But at least in a pair of blue states, 2014 is picking up right where 2012 left off. Welcome to the War Over Women.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”