PEOPLE

Sabrina Schaeffer Hopes to Raise Voice of Conservative Women Through IWF

Sabrina Schaeffer
National Journal
Sept. 4, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

Wo­men’s groups are of­ten con­sidered to be as­so­ci­ated with third-wave fem­in­ism and, by ex­ten­sion, the pro­gress­ive move­ment. But the In­de­pend­ent Wo­men’s For­um of­ten de­fies that im­pres­sion by chal­len­ging the Demo­crat­ic es­tab­lish­ment.

Meet Sab­rina Schaef­fer, an emer­ging voice on wo­men’s is­sues and an avowed foe of Obama­care. The Cali­for­nia nat­ive is the ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the In­de­pend­ent Wo­men’s For­um, which was foun­ded 21 years ago in the wake of the Clar­ence Thomas hear­ings, when the Su­preme Court nom­in­ee was con­fron­ted with ac­cus­a­tions of sexu­al har­ass­ment that sparked a na­tion­al con­ver­sa­tion.

“There was a sen­ti­ment among a num­ber of wo­men in town that tra­di­tion­al wo­men’s groups “¦ did not ad­equately rep­res­ent wo­men’s voices,” Schaef­fer said on the phone Monday. “There was a harsh voice as­so­ci­ated with wo­men’s-rights act­iv­ists that didn’t ne­ces­sar­ily rep­res­ent every­one.”

Today, the IWF is a voice for wo­men at­tuned to gender-spe­cif­ic is­sues but op­posed to the pro­gress­ive polit­ics es­poused by groups such as the Na­tion­al Or­gan­iz­a­tion for Wo­men and the Amer­ic­an As­so­ci­ation of Uni­versity Wo­men. One of the most con­ten­tious is­sues of the day, the Af­ford­able Care Act, il­lus­trates the schism between IWF and its bet­ter-known coun­ter­parts.

“Wo­men’s groups on the left are very con­cerned with ne­go­ti­at­ing spe­cif­ic ad­vant­ages for wo­men, like free birth con­trol, free an­nu­al ex­ams, elim­in­a­tion of gender-based pri­cing, and so forth,” Schaef­fer said. “But they’ve lost sight of the big­ger pic­ture, which is that wo­men and men both lose when we have a one-size-fits-all sys­tem. We try to high­light that there are two sides to the Obama­care equa­tion — not just the be­ne­fits, but also the costs.”

A nat­ive of Pa­los Verdes, near Los Angeles, Schaef­fer at­ten­ded Middle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont, in­tern­ing at the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee between her ju­ni­or and seni­or years. As soon as she left home, her fath­er moun­ted an un­suc­cess­ful bid for the House seat va­cated by then-Rep. Jane Har­man, D-Cal­if. “I al­ways joke that, when I went to col­lege, I was re­placed by a polit­ic­al cam­paign,” Schaef­fer said.

Her first job in Wash­ing­ton was as an as­sist­ant to former United Na­tions Am­bas­sad­or Jeane Kirk­patrick at the Amer­ic­an En­ter­prise In­sti­tute. Schaef­fer has de­scribed the im­plac­able an­ti­com­mun­ist dip­lo­mat, who re­nounced the Demo­crat­ic Party in the early 1980s, as a mod­el for con­ser­vat­ive wo­men.

After a stint at the White House Writers Group, Schaef­fer pur­sued a Ph.D. in Amer­ic­an his­tory at the Uni­versity of Vir­gin­ia but mi­grated to the polit­ic­al-sci­ence de­part­ment after two years. “I real­ized I did not want to be a his­tory pro­fess­or,” she said. “I knew that was not go­ing to get me where I wanted to be in Wash­ing­ton.”

She left the uni­versity with two mas­ter’s de­grees and re­turned to Wash­ing­ton as dir­ect­or of me­dia re­la­tions and pub­lic af­fairs at the Re­pub­lic­an Jew­ish Co­ali­tion and later as a speech­writer for then-Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio. Be­fore ar­riv­ing at IWF, Schaef­fer set up a con­ser­vat­ive polit­ic­al con­sultancy with her hus­band that em­phas­ized em­pir­ic­al re­search and con­trolled ex­per­i­ments.

When it comes to wo­men voters, Schaef­fer does not pre­tend that Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats are on equal foot­ing. In last year’s pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, the in­cum­bent won among wo­men by 12 per­cent­age points. (By con­trast, Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee Mitt Rom­ney won among men by 8 per­cent­age points.) “It’s no secret Re­pub­lic­ans have a wo­men prob­lem,” Schaef­fer con­ceded in an April op-ed for For­bes.

But, in her view, this has more to do with the clout and where­with­al of pro­gress­ive wo­men’s groups than with the philo­soph­ic­al un­der­pin­nings of the pro­gress­ive move­ment. “The real­ity is when it comes to se­cur­ing wo­men voters, con­ser­vat­ives are out­numbered, out­re­searched, and out­spent,” she wrote.

What We're Following See More »
TO DEMAND VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT MADURO STEP DOWN
Pence Traveling to Colombia
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Vice President Mike Pence will go to Colombia on Monday to speak with the Colombian president and regional leaders about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela and rally the international community behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó." Pence "will deliver remarks to the 14 nations that are part of the 'Lima Group' in Bogota," and will meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Source:
LIKELY TO FACE COMPETITION IN REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
Rep. Bradley Byrne Announces Bid Against Sen. Doug Jones
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne became the first official Republican entrant into the 2020 U.S. Senate race announcing his intention to run in a race that could become one of the most expensive political contests in Alabama history. Byrne, a three-term congressman from Fairhope, said he anticipates the fundraising during the lengthy 2020 campaign to eclipse the 2017 special Senate election, in which an estimated $50 million was spent during the contest. Democratic U.S. Senator Doug Jones, who narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in that election, raised more than $24 million."

Source:
TARGETS INCLUDED NANCY PELOSI
Coast Guard Lt. Planned Large-scale Terrorist Attack
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists...Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”

Source:
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

Source:
REDIRECTS $8 BILLION
Trump Declares National Emergency
6 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency on the southern border and immediately direct $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier. The move — which is sure to invite vigorous legal challenges from activists and government officials — comes after Trump failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from lawmakers. Instead, Trump agreed to sign a deal that included just $1.375 for border security."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login