by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Top Republican strategists said Tuesday that the Democrats’ caution in addressing internal sexual harassment scandals has exposed the party as brazenly hypocritical and compromised their image as champions of women.
Republicans have long bristled at Democratic claims that GOP policies, particularly opposition to unrestricted abortion, amounted to a “war on women.” They have fought, often fruitlessly, to change perceptions among women, who consistently deliver more of their votes to the Democrats.
But Republicans feel they might finally make headway after Democratic leaders didn’t immediately crack down on Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. The two influential Democrats accused of sexual misconduct have strong bases of support inside the party.
“The Democrats’ position as the party of women has always been a sham,” said Liesl Hickey, a GOP strategist who represents candidates running for office in 2018 and formerly ran the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Hickey said it was “no surprise” that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Conyers an “icon” and declined to take a tough stance against the 88-year-old lawmaker after he was accused of sexually harassing employees of his congressional office.