A pair of female lawmakers provided two of the GOP’s four responses to the State of the Union address on Tuesday, something a former Republican governor dismissed as a cosmetic solution to the party’s problems with women.
Prior to Tuesday night, the last time Republicans tapped a woman to deliver the party’s official State of the Union response came in 1995, when former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman (R) followed former President Bill Clinton’s address.
But Whitman told the Los Angeles Times that the GOP has more work to do if it wants rectify what she described as a “condescending attitude toward women.”
“It’s hard for me to phrase this politely: Sometimes Republicans think that just putting a woman up front means somehow that women are going to feel good about the party,” Whitman said. “It is not about the messenger. It’s about the message. And until we figure that one out — while it’s nice that we have a woman as a spokesperson — if the message itself doesn’t get changed a bit, it’s not going to work.”
Whitman, who is pro-choice, told the Times that her party would never consider her for the post-State of the Union slot today.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) provided the GOP’s official response to President Obama on Tuesday, but she wasn’t the only Republican to speak. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) addressed Spanish-speaking audiences on behalf of the party’s leadership, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) gave the tea party response and, not to be left out, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered remarks of his own.