The Republican Party’s ‘Slap Hillary’ Problem

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

A woman in the audience stands as Sarah Palin speaks during the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., March 16, 2013.

If you want to understand the biggest challenge facing the Republican Party, there are worse places to start than a private mailbox located near an Applebee’s in a Nashua, N.H., shopping center. This is the official address of the Hillary Project, a new super PAC dedicated to blocking Hillary Clinton from becoming President. This obscure political startup, whose website catalogs the various sins of the former Senator and Secretary of State — “the name alone strikes dread in the hearts of freedom-loving Americans” — might have escaped notice had the proprietors not included a charming game in which Web visitors are encouraged to slap a pink-pantsuit-clad Clinton with a cartoon hand.

You could write this off as some loser’s sick, sexist joke. But there was also the popular evangelical blog that depicted Clinton in ghoulish Joker makeup and inveighed against the danger of electing a female President who “wouldn’t be taken seriously.” Or the conservatives who dubbed Democratic state senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” after Davis filibustered a Texas bill that curbed abortion rights, in an apparent dig at her appearance.

(MORE: The Party of Old White Guys Changes Its Look)

These isolated incidents don’t represent the values of the Republican Party, but taken together they may encapsulate an existential threat to it. Barack Obama was re-elected because he won women by 11 points. It was the fifth presidential election in a row in which Democrats won a majority of female voters, who make up 53% of the electorate. And while Republicans don’t need to eliminate the gender gap to recapture the White House, they will have a hard time doing so if the deficit increases. With the specter of a historic Clinton candidacy looming in 2016, Republicans are facing the daunting task of defeating the first woman with a shot at becoming President without alienating female voters.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see there was a problem with women in the last election cycle,” says Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee. “I’m not delusional — I understand we have a lot of work to do.”

The RNC has launched a wide-ranging effort to attract more female candidates. “Our biggest problem was a lack of women representing us,” Day says. The party aims to remedy that by providing training and tactical support to prospective female candidates at all levels of government, as well as ramping up its recruitment efforts. That includes a new video in which female Republicans in Congress urge more women to join them; the new RNC Rising Stars program designed to showcase diversity within the party’s ranks; and doubling down on efforts to highlight elements of the Republican platform, from fiscal conservatism to school choice, that may hold appeal.

Day acknowledged the “Slap Hillary” game was “inappropriate.” But while Republican officials recognize the problem, there is a segment of the party that seems bent on making it worse. From calling Davis “Retard Barbie” to Rush Limbaugh’s ugly diatribe against Sandra Fluke to the Fox panels in which a quartet of mostly conservative dudes bemoan the rising trend in female breadwinners, there is a market within the GOP for misogynistic rhetoric. Every time the Erick Ericksons of the conservative movement sound off about the male’s rightful “dominant role,” or an elected official bumbles, Todd Akin–style, into a statement about rape, it becomes harder for the GOP establishment to combat the cheap but effective messaging trope that the GOP is engaged in a “war on women.”

(MORE: How Politicians Scare Voters to Their Side)

Neither party, of course, has a monopoly on misogynists or boors. Opponents of Sarah Palin started their own website that challenged browsers to slap the former governor “back to Alaska”; porn producers put a Palin lookalike in X-rated films. The Anthony Weiner–Eliot Spitzer–Bob Filner triumvirate is not a winning advertisement for male enlightenment within the Democratic Party.

But embarrassing episodes can be especially damaging to Republicans, whose values on abortion can make it tough to court women who cherish their right to the practice. While the percentage of Americans who call themselves “pro-choice” has dwindled, a majority still believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. “Candidates have to be able to discuss this issue, and other so-called women’s issues, in a way that is modern and contemporary rather than sounding like the party wants to return to the 1950s,” says Liz Mair, a pro-choice Republican consultant who has been outspoken about the challenges the party faces in broadening its appeal.

“I think after last year’s election, party leaders have a pretty good grasp of exactly how big a problem the Akin comments, Santorum-style rhetoric” and the like can be, Mair says. But “there is only so much party leaders can do at the end of the day — just ask the Democrats in reference to the Filner fiasco, Anthony Weiner running for NYC mayor, or Alvin Greene’s nomination.”

For its part, the RNC says it is committed to winning back women, largely by recruiting a new crop of candidates who can be effective messengers. “We want our party to look like America,” Day says. “We need women to step up and lead.” But when asked about the timetable to close the gender gap, she doesn’t mince words: “It’s going to be a while.”

MORE: Field of Drama: Why Iowa Could Decide the Future of the GOP

252 comments
msaint2326
msaint2326

once again free speech is only for liberals, not for conservatives! Consider the test successful, TIME reacted just as predicted. 

And I see no mention, other than the comments, of any games that attack Sarah Palin or other conservatives.

And why are democrats so concerned about the image of Republicans? I guess we should all be so thankful for their concern!

Instead of reaching for an easy story, perhaps TIME should STOP BASHING FREE SPEECH, and step away from the computer, look out into the real world, and write a REAL story!

JoyZocco
JoyZocco

This must be the republican version of beginner's S&M/

MrfSchtich
MrfSchtich

I take it that you are all unaware that the announced purpose of the slap Hillary game was to prove that the political left would become outraged and the story would appear on the main stream news. You may not be aware of it since no outrage at all was expressed by the left and no media coverage occured but a Slap Sarah Palin back to Alaska game has existed for quite some time. No meda outrage, no denouncing of the democratic party, no mention of it at all by the main stream media.

This is what is known as selective outrage. A quick look at the Limbaugh/Fluke controversy, while ignoring the Schultz/Ingraham story or the Maher/Palin outrage, or the time Barack Obama said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman and he received no coverage and no outrage was expressed. When Carrie Prejean said exactly the same thing she was excoriated by the MSM. These are clear examples of blatant hypocrisy.

The left is so obsessed with trying to destroy their political opponents that they can't even see that the slap Hillary site was designed exclusively to prove their selective outrage and hypocrisy. It did so in spades. Unfortunately for the right, the mainstream media never bothered to report the truth about their announced purpose. How in hell the right ever thought they would makes me question their intellects.

So, left or right, keep right on trying to destroy each other. As the division and hatred grow, the country will continue to disintigrate, the debt will continue to skyrocket and when the inevitable collapse happens you can point fingers at each other and say, "they did it!"

While the rest of the world suffers because of the idiocy promoted by your two party system, you can be secure in the knowledge that destroying those who oppose your political beliefs was much more important than things like ethics, integrity or fiscal responsibility.

A toast to party politics! When our idiocy destroys our prosperity we can feel secure in the knowledge that we'll have someone else to blame!

Mark my words gentlemen, the rival (two party) system that you so eloquently champion, will one day lead to the downfall of this great nation. - George Washington

united_we_stand
united_we_stand

As a well informed American who reads sources like Time I understand there are two political parties, an evil one for old white guys and the other one which actually cares about everyone else. According to the msm our political views are determined by race and sex.  If this is true why do we bother voting every time when could just register what sex and race we are and let the system automatically 'represent' us? Why should we let woman hate themselves and vote republican? This is obviously a problem preventing us from moving to a one party system sooner. How do we better convince woman and minorities that republicans truly hate them? How do we better convince Americans that they need to cast their vote based on race and sex (to be progressive) and not vote based on their individual political views(which is regressive and against their own interests)? 

DarwinAkbar
DarwinAkbar

"These isolated incidents don’t represent the values of the Republican Party"

And there is your first problem, because actually, these incidents are NOT isolated, and they certainly represent the values of the Republican party.

reallife
reallife

no news from sandra fluke yet?

lol 

JamesJohnson1
JamesJohnson1

There are misogynists in both parties— there always will be despicable people as long as they are run by people— but that is not the problem. The problem is that the Republican party is using misogynistic and antiquated ideas about gender to determine their platform (and to justify it).

Filner, Weiner, et. al have a horrible personal record with women, but none of them are advocating policy that reflects their personal flaws. Let them suffer the consequences, but don't mistake their personal problems with policy.

piper768
piper768

Most women wish our representatives would work harder to end employment discrimination against us.  I believe in the right to choose but I don't like that abortion gets all the attention and that we never talk about employment discrimination.  

A study by Yale found that University science departments rated applicants more highly and offered them more money when the same exact resume had a male name on it as opposed to a female name.  Why aren't the EEOC and Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights kicking down their doors right now?  Yale has done their job for them in proving discrimination, all they have to do is follow up, so do it.

Also, I could never vote for the current hysterical version of the republican party.  They actually condone discrimination against women in the workplace.


KristineAz
KristineAz

Just out of curiosity, did you write an article when http://www.slappalin.com/ was created?  I'd hate to think you all had bias or hypocrisy occurring.  I'd like to read the article you must have written about that game. 

jvkfai
jvkfai

Republicans could be great if they could only put they're religion, racism, greed, sexism and they're superior attitude in the closet where they belong and use math and science to find they're way forward. But if they did that, they would be democrats!

Cliffintex
Cliffintex

Same sort of noise we hear when we don't like Obama's policies - we must be racist. Nothing new here. The hypocrisy on the left is as usual. Legends in their own mind.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

And on the other side of the coin, what about the democrat party's male problem? 

Autumn
Autumn

This translates to me like recruitment of more puppet women who will defer to their more intelligent male leaders.

Pathetic during the campaigns... and still so. 

Real Women know the difference.

We voted to keep basic human rights for ourselves and all the women who will come after.

To keep God's gift of Free Will and our individual relationship with him.

MaGuil
MaGuil

“We want our party to look like America,” Day says. “We need women to step up and lead.” 

What exactly do you mean by that comment, Ms. Day? Do you mean, women quit being sheepish, grow a pair and step out of the kitchen?

And by the way, if you need to find qualified women to step up and lead, thumb through Mitt Romney's books full of women.

And, what century of America do you want the Republican party to look like?

The Republican Party is looking to hire token minorities.

I'll bet you $10,000 on it.

bobdame83
bobdame83

"Or the conservatives who dubbed Democratic state senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” after Davis filibustered a Texas bill that curbed abortion rights, in an apparent dig at her appearance."

Yet the feminists laughed at calling Sarah Palin "Caribou Barbie". Freaking hypocrite phony liberals...with their made up War on Women.


 

US1776
US1776

Proof, the GOP supports Violence Against Women.


.

sacredh
sacredh

President Hillary Clinton. It has such a nice ring to it. If Obama doesn't get to flip the Supreme Court, Hillary gets the honor.

citizenpartisan
citizenpartisan

Where was all the outrage when  the same slap game was released 13 years ago.  How about when it was slap Palin.  The real issue here is that Hillary cannot is doing everything she can to solidify the women's vote and have women forget about the Clinton and democrat party legacy with women.  Bill Clinton, Weiner, Spitzer, Finer and the host of others and the Dems want us to believe that the respect and appreciate women.

Hard to believe that Hillary supporters cannot or will not talk about Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Wiley or Genifer Flowers.

Maybe, Hillary and her liberal colleagues should be more concerned about Benghazi, the deficit or our economy than trying to divide this country -- maybe Monica's ex-boyfriend's wife should focus on real issues not games.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

"These isolated incidents don’t represent the values of the Republican Party, but taken together they may encapsulate an existential threat to it."

"ISOLATED"???  What the hell do you mean "isolated"?  They're SOP for the GOP.  They always have been.  They always will be.  That's because the GOP is full of Christians, which is an in inherently sexist religion.  As long as you have a majority of people who adhere to the "a woman sinned first and was punished for it" mentality as part of the dogma of a faith in any political party, you're not going to get any reasonable treatment toward women in general BY that political party.

"MAY encapsulate an existential threat to it"???  Okay, first of all, there's no "may".  There is only that it does.  Also, the threat is far from existential.  The GOP is trying to retool their image, but the fact remains they are inherently sexist (and for the most part racist because they demonize minorities for being on "welfare" while ignoring the fact that far and away more whites are on it - and mostly from Red states - than minorities).  It doesn't matter what the color or gender of the person making the speech actually is.  What matters is the color and gender of the audience supporting them.  What you see is a sea of white, and the most vocal are the men.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jvkfai you mean it is better to be a bleeding heart liberal and stupid to put a con man racist in the white house, who got what he needed from dummys like you your vote, not only once but twice. now he no longer needs the white vote his true color comes out. I about you dems use a little common sense, god for-bid that would make you intelligent and republican oh my god what a concept.

KristineAz
KristineAz

@jvkfai Clearly you have a problem with stereotypes and bigotry.  Have you ever even had a conversation with a Republican?  Your post is incredibly insulting and closed-minded.  Try expanding your circle and learning something.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MaGuil you can not count Mitt he is a moron I mean mormon one in the same right.

KristineAz
KristineAz

@MaGuil Check your history.  It was Republicans that hired women and minorities before the Democrats did.  A Republican president appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court.

It was a higher percentage of Congressional Republican who passed the Civil Rights Act.

Stop buying into the propaganda message fed to you by the DNC and media.  Learn something.  Being an ignorant parrot repeating trash doesn't make you cool.

jmac
jmac

@bobdame83  I'm pretty sure Palin thought that Caribou Barbie was a complement.  It sounds like a complement to me.  Calling someone Retard Barbie - not so much.  

KristineAz
KristineAz

@US1776 Proof!  Black people are murderers!!

Oh wait, I guess it would be wrong to categorize an entire group by the actions of the few.  Darn.  Nah, it's okay when it's Republicans we're stereotyping.  It's so fun being smug and insulting!

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sacredh I hope so that will give her a chance to give a bj in the oval office to get Billy back for getting one. what goes around comes around. hey maybe she can give it to a black intern.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@citizenpartisan Lets not leave out Monica, maybe if hillary gets the oval office she can return the favor to a male intern and get billy back for gettin his b j in the oval office . just think she can give one in the same office. how much fun would that be for american liberals. 

piper768
piper768

@citizenpartisan 

That's great logic, don't vote for Hillary because of the bad behavior of certain men.  Instead, vote for the male republican who supports workplace discrimination.

Autumn
Autumn

@citizenpartisan 

 Men will always be men... can't live with them, don't want to live without them'.. what women need are for men to honor our human rights or civil rights, our right to make as much as they do for equal work. Republicans cannot seem to get there. Always got that thumb ready.

Vanka
Vanka

@citizenpartisan 

I think you bring up some good points: Bill, Weiner, et al have demonstrated they see women as $ex objects to be manipulated and exploited.

But their personal beliefs are one thing; official, government policy that is anti-women's rights is another thing altogether. Yes, men will (and often are) jerks. But institutional, systematic bias against women cannot be ascribed to the (vile) men you list, can it? Please show where any of those men supported or sponsored legislation that denied women the choice over what to do with their pregnant bodies? or refused women the right to choose certain birth control options as part of the health care coverage for which they pay/is part of their compensation?

And isn't it just like a man to dismiss valid concerns women have, and instead autistically insist that women focus more on trumped up Republicon zinger crap because women's reproduction issues are not "real" issues!

Male chauvinist twit...

Openminded1
Openminded1

@DeweySayenoff I see you still love the race card Baby Dewey. And what are the DEms atheist no I do not think so look at Obama he is a muslim and what are the Jewish democrats if not racist and the blacks the most racist of all. remember Obama's rev wright the guy who said in open church with senator Obama in the audience along with michele and kids that whites are crackers and honkeys as everyone of the black members laughed. then when obama ran for the white house he distanced himself from the racist Wright and has not had a open meeting with him since. get real dummy.

curt3rd
curt3rd

@DeweySayenoff they demonize minorities for being on "welfare"

Thats funny.  As I recall, it is always the Liberals doing all the racebaiting but here you go again playing the victim.  Its what you liberals do best.

JamesJohnson1
JamesJohnson1

@KristineAz@jvkfai 

Part of the official Republican platform in the state of Texas is to do away with critical thinking skills in public schools, and not to teach anything that challenges "the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

That is the very definition of close minded.

piper768
piper768

@KristineAz @jvkfai 

All the republican men in my family are openly sexist.  They vary in their particular views, but they will explicitly tell you that women shouldn't be allowed to work, women are too stupid and weak to do anything besides raise children, and that women must submit to their husbands.  I've heard numerous republican men outside my family make similar comments.  It is sickening.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ElaineMays @mary.waterton No they do not they like to fool around with other woman other then there spouses just like republicans dare we forget clinton getting a BJ in the Oval office or jack Kennedy and his expolits.

KristineAz
KristineAz

@ElaineMays@mary.watertonCertain people are whining about how this slapping game is sexist and promotes violence against women.  For example, these people have made a petition.  https://www.change.org/petitions/tell-the-gop-violence-is-not-a-game

Though I don't see a petition for kicking out male members of the DNC who sexually assault & harass women.  Cheat on spouses, blatantly lie to the public.  Nah, instead, the DNC pats them on the head, sends 'em off to a 2-week rehab where apparently that will cure a man of his need to grope women.

The other petition I don't see?  Against video games.  Grand Theft Auto?  Why not run over some hookers with cars!  Guess that "violence against women" is totally okay though to these people.

Anyway, I couldn't give a rat's butt about a silly game on the internet.  Why?  Because I have the ability to think for myself and NOT overreact to dumb things.  Ridiculous faux outrage, not to mention blaming the GOP and its "image" as if some PAC represents the ENTIRE Republican party.

I guess guys like Anthony Weiner represent the ENTIRE DNC.

Bunch of hypocritical BS.  I'd like to read the article defining the entire DNC when they made the slappalin.com game.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@KristineAz  Nor does it make you cool.  The GOTP in 2013 is the topic.  How about if you try to stay in this century?

KristineAz
KristineAz

@AutumnRight.  I see soooo many bills sponsored by Democrats regarding equal base pay with raises based on merit moving right through Congress.

I also loved how Obama signed that Executive Order regarding equal pay.

Oh, wait.

Man, it's incredible how brainwashed people posting here are.

KristineAz
KristineAz

@Vanka @citizenpartisan Birth control wasn't made illegal.  It's still available.  I don't need to be paying for someone else's condoms with my tax money.  Private funding is good.

Women have the right to choose abortion.  It is not illegal in any state.  Having a time limit is NOT about curbing a woman's right to have abortions.  It's about approaching viability and it's about compromise.

You must know that European countries have abortion limits at 14 weeks, right?  Are they trampling the rights of women?

Life is not a free for all.  There are consequences to every choice and action we make--good or bad.  I don't want to hear excuses about how Girl A couldn't afford this or that or Girl B didn't have bus fare to get to a clinic or Girl C didn't know she was pregnant until it was too late for an abortion, etc and so forth.

Too damn bad.  No one gets a free pass.

I had an abortion at 8 weeks.  I will never support making it completely illegal.  But that doesn't mean I will EVER support nonsensical BS that hides itself under "trampling on a woman's rights".

In conclusion, get over it.

NickCaine
NickCaine

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I hear this ridiculous argument to slam "liberals" I would have TRILLIONS by now. Yeah, damn us liberals, the people the GOP have been actively alienating for years who cost them elections and will for years to come. How dare we actually say what we have been dealing with for years now? Yes, if you think all we have is the race card and playing the victim, then keep plugging your ears and stand on your moral superiority a little while longer. It's not like almost every news story over the last few cycles and in between consist of GOP/TEA saying stupid race baiting comments, passing policy to directly piss off those voters, attacking women, reducing LGBT and every minority race to some kind of "problem" they need to take care of and win back "america's freedom and values". Yep, it's just the liberal victim card, and none of us ever have articulate points backed by actual facts and direct quotes from all the GOP pushing this crap - or you know, we could just copy and paste the GOP platform from the last few elections. How's your head feel when it's buried so far in the ground you can't hear or see anything in the real world? Must be nice.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@piper768 @KristineAz @jvkfai yes and clinton thought so much of woman he cheated on his wife and got a BJ from another in the Oval office . A man of great respect right? You dummy wake up men are ass holes weather they are liberals or not. You must get along well with you male family members or is it just a man thing for you? maybe you lean toward  the rosie Odonell type to each there own.

ElaineMays
ElaineMays

@KristineAz @ElaineMays @mary.waterton There have been plenty of Republicans doing the same thing, it isn't limited to Democrats. How about the guy in the toilet groping another guy, there have been Republican presidents messing around as well. The replys of  piper768 and Johnson1 say it all. So you can't say the Democrats have a male probelm. But they do have a female probelm; anti choice, anti equal pay and the list goes on.

JamesJohnson1
JamesJohnson1

@KristineAz@ElaineMays@mary.waterton 

There are misogynists in both parties— there always will be despicable people as long as they are run by people— but that is not the problem. The problem is that the Republican party is using misogynistic and antiquated ideas about gender to determine their platform (and to justify it).

Filner, Weiner, et. al have a horrible personal record with women, but none of them are advocating policy that reflects their personal flaws. Let them suffer the consequences, but don't mistake their personal problems with policy.

piper768
piper768


Are you kidding me?  A recall is currently underway to kick Filner out of office and his own party is demanding that he resign.  Weiner was pressured into resigning by other democrats and democrats are calling for him to drop out of the mayoral race.

For the record, I don't like Weiner's behavior, but I would put up with him and his sexting over some republican who opposes anti-discrimination laws any day.

Vanka
Vanka

@KristineAz @Vanka @citizenpartisan 

Look here! KristineAz is the poster girl for the GOP! All the same, lame, insipid arguments, flawed logic, and extreme Stoicism rolled into a Palin-esque, moose-hunting rhetoric!

You go, girl!

We will laugh.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sacredh @NickCaine Do not give Nick so much credit sacredh it took him 5 hours to write his BS and think about what to say and check his spelling.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@NickCaine Typical bleeding heart liberal BS. Real world are you kidding you guys are so dumb you voted for a racist not once but twice. Now he shows his true color black and his race card bull. Your avatar shows a thinker i guess that is bull too, because a thinker would have seen that Obama was a racist con man with a lot of charm and swag but still a racist. he got the last laugh over you liberals who put him in office. You do know he no longer needs your vote now.

KristineAz
KristineAz

@NickCaine Okay, so, Obama is in 2nd term and everything is STILL the Republicans' fault?  Damn.  

Talk about race baiting?  Liberals don't?  Was your head up your ass during the entire Trayvon Martin debacle?  Liberals tossed out so much race bait it was difficult to take two steps without tripping over it all.

One more thing... notice how you are blaming the GOP for the actions of a PAC.  You already made up your mind that the actions of a few define an ENTIRE group.  So no, you lose your "articulate points" cred.  You are a bigot.

sacredh
sacredh

@NickCaine, you're another liberal elitist that lords it over everybody else just because you can read and write. You probably don't even hide when the thunder shakes the house. Go ahead, think for yourself instead of relying on other people to do it for you.