The Republican War against Women: An Insider's Report from Behind the Lines

Overview

In 1980, Republicans used appeals to sexist and racist bigotry to win the Presidency. The party adopted an electoral strategy that included getting votes by playing on the fear and uncertainty engendered by the civil rights and women's political movements, and continued to use this strategy in the campaigns of 1984, 1988, and 1992. Under the Reagan and Bush administrations, this strategy became a crucial part of the party's governing policies. This book is not a political science treatise nor a description of ...
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The Republican War Against Women: An Insider's Report from Behind the Lines

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Overview

In 1980, Republicans used appeals to sexist and racist bigotry to win the Presidency. The party adopted an electoral strategy that included getting votes by playing on the fear and uncertainty engendered by the civil rights and women's political movements, and continued to use this strategy in the campaigns of 1984, 1988, and 1992. Under the Reagan and Bush administrations, this strategy became a crucial part of the party's governing policies. This book is not a political science treatise nor a description of political campaigns; it is a documented account of a grab for power that, as the years pass, continues to intensify antagonism between the sexes and to sow unnecessary division among the American people. As a longtime Republican activist and a delegate to the 1992 convention, Tanya Melich has observed these actions from within; and documents this takeover and the Party's ongoing practices (such as embracing the Christian right) in a devastating, factual, and often hair-raising report. A combination of history, exposÄ, reasoned polemic, and call to arms, this book has now been enriched by two completely new chapters that assesses the outcome of the 1996 election in terms of the book's thesis and realistically lays out the future: both in terms of what it will be if the right-wing elements of the Republican party continue to set the agenda, and how it can be changed if centrist women (and men) take charge of that agenda. The heart of such change lies with Independents, who now constitute a startling 39 percent of Americans (31 percent identify themselves as Democrats and 30 percent as Republicans). We are not a country of strong party loyalties, and the enormous growth of independents is the signal that change is not only possible but achievable. As a superb political pro, the author offers hardheaded strategies for such change.

Just in time for the 1996 Presidential campaign, here is a call to arms to concerned voters to reject the bigoted and divisive politics of the Republican Party leadership and bring back the humane, egalitarian principles of the party's founders.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Melich, who has spent most of her political life as a Republican feminist, recounts 23 years of party politics that, she postulates, has fought against the women's movement and issues important to equal opportunity. She takes us through her struggles as a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1968 and 1992, describing in painstaking detail every platform, rule, and committee meeting that resulted in documents rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment and calling for a constitutional ban on abortions. Clearly, from what Melich outlines, the Republican party was completely out of sync with her views, leaving one to ask why it took so long for her to leave the party as she finally did in 1992. Her reasoning after each defeat was that she thought it would get better and that it was better that the GOP feminists work with, rather than against, the party to see if some ground could be gained. Although the book's alarmist title may turn some potential readers off, the text is not hyperbole but a step-by-step account of how the religious right and conservatives have taken control of the Republican party. Recommended for general and academic political science collections [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/95.]-Patricia Hatch, Emmanuel Coll. Lib., Boston
Washington Post
"A powerful, provocative account of how social conservatives and Republican politicians have used the GOP to roll back the gains of the women's movement."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Compelling and hcilling, this book is the story of the Republican Party's evolution from its fair-minded origins to its current stance."
Los Angeles Times
"We could use many more books like this one, in which the nuts and bolts of how issues are again sacrificed on the the alter of partisan politics are played out for us, Roman-style, in that blood arena."
New York Times Book Review
"[Melich] successfully blends a historical account with a personal one in describing how the Republican Party raised the hopes of many women and then abandoned them."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553378160
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/5/1998
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,148,325
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Houston, August 19, 1992
Pt. I How It Happened 1
1 The Conflict of Principal and Expediency 3
2 Two Emerging Agendas 20
3 The Line Is Crossed 38
4 An Emboldened New Right 49
5 A Time of Accommodation 66
6 The Backlash Breaks Out 84
7 The Successful Trial Run 103
8 Winning the Brass Ring 117
Pt. II The Misogynist Era or Reagan-Bush, 1980-1992 137
9 Reagan's New Republican Beginning 139
10 The "Women's Problem" 165
11 "Teach Them a Lesson" 192
12 The Coalition Cracks 211
13 Valuable Weapons: Bush's Political Women 231
14 Victory Without Honor 248
15 Pro-Choicers Fight Back 270
16 Faithful Friend of the Right 290
17 The Collapse of Bush 303
Pt. III Rebirth or Extremism 325
18 Theocrats Get a Place at the Table 327
19 The Chaos of the GOP 342
20 The Future of the Republic 368
Notes 389
Bibliography 415
Acknowledgments 423
Index 427
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