WANDA: RALPH, how should politically astute men, or even Republicans, be talking to women these days?
RALPH: Easy. Whenever there’s a pause, just say "Yes, dear." Works for me.
WANDA: Outstandingly wide of the mark, curmudgeonly husband. You know what I mean. Republicans, the little dears, are having secret classes for their candidates, remedial gender education, I guess, on how to talk to women, particularly Democratic women running against them..
RALPH: Well, they can always use the famed Eliot Spitzer opening: "Hi, toots. How much?" Or maybe the Anthony Wiener variation, "Hi. Like most women, you must be eager to get a peek at my…"
WANDA: Not another word, Ralph. We’re talking about whether the rustic buffoons your party nominates can run against Democratic women without babbling about "legitimate rape" or declaring that God intends that pregnancies caused by rape should continue.
RALPH: Alas, there are boneheads in both parties, dearest. It’s just that ours are drilled into the public mind by all those repetitious tribunes of the people, the DWBs.
RALPH: Democrats With Bylines—the Washington press corps. Pronounce that DWEEBS, Wanda. Rush Limbaugh shouldn’t have called Sandra Fluke a slut, but Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman were called sluts—and much worse—over and over without the DWBs echo squads springing into action. Gloria Steinem called Kay Bailey Hutchinson a female impersonator—not a real woman—and nobody batted an eye. Imagine the commotion if someone said that about Nancy Pelosi. Dan Quayle became a national joke for spelling "potatoes" wrong, but Obama attracted almost no attention by saying there are 57 states in the union, apparently thinking of the Heinz 57 company slogan. Which is worse, misspelling the plural of a starchy tuber or confusing America with a ketchup manufacturer?
WANDA: Don’t try to blame bad Republican behavior on the press. Remember Rick Lazio in the New York Senate debate—he left his lectern, marched over to Hillary and got in her face, an obvious form of non-verbal bullying. Women tend to remember that stuff, Ralph, and you men don’t get it. Ever wonder why Obama carried the female vote by so much last year? Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says, "Republicans keep trying and failing to paper over their hostility toward women, but secret tutoring sessions can’t fix this problem."
RALPH: Obama carried the non-white women’s vote by a huge margin. But white women voted decisively for Romney, 56 to 42 percent, according to exit polls. So Emily has a problem here: if Republicans are a party of white males hostile to women, how come the females who know them best, white women, vote so heavily Republican? Hmm. Back to the drawing board, Emily.
WANDA: The Republicans wouldn’t be trying so hard to re-train their candidates if they didn’t agree they have a problem. It’s not the press, Ralph. It’s you guys. You have trouble with women in power.
RALPH: Maybe the Republicans could get Bill Clinton to talk on how to treat women, dearest. He’s famous for compassionate comments to women, like "You better put some ice on that." Or maybe they could hear from the groper mayor of San Diego, he’s one of yours, isn’t he? I’ll bet Chris "waitress sandwich" Dodd would help too, and Anthony Wiener is—
WANDA: That’s enough. Why don’t you just admit you lost this argument and make a notation in your binder full of women. Say goodnight, Ralph.
This piece originally appeared in The Fiscal Times