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Democrats are waging ‘war on the truth’

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Rep. Evan Wynn
April 17, 2012

The “war on women” you’ve been reading about lately is actually a “straw woman” argument. What are “straw woman” arguments? The concept has been around a while. It is making an argument using a flagrant misrepresentation of your opponent’s position to more easily defeat him or her.


The spokesman for the Wisconsin Democrats, Graeme Zielinski, recently said, “collective bargaining is not moving people.” In a new strategy memo, they announced a plan to change the conversation from collective bargaining or their failed economic record to a supposed Republican “war on women.”


This is seen in many statements on recently passed legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 202. Many claim this bill makes it harder for women to file employment discrimination claims, thus it advances the “war on women.” Unfortunately, their arguments forget many facts.


Missing facts and outlandish claims have been why PolitiFact, the nonpartisan fact-checking organization, has given out a “Mostly False,” two “False” ratings, and a “Pants on Fire” in recent weeks on this issue. Democrats have said Republicans want women “at home, cooking and cleaning” (False, Feb. 21), that the GOP said it wants women to be paid less than men (Pants on Fire, March 8, Mostly False, Feb. 23), and that SB 202 prevents women from “doing something about wage discrimination” (False, March 24).


Let’s look at the facts. First, most employment discrimination claims are based on disabilities, followed by race, then age, then gender. You won’t see Democrats calling out a “war on people with disabilities,” a “war on minorities,” or a “war on the elderly” anytime soon because it doesn’t fit with their national political strategy. They’ve decided that the supposed GOP-led “war on women” is much more lucrative than standing on their failed economic policies that led to massive job losses, and they’ll twist any Republican idea to fit their strategy.


Second, PolitiFact points out in each article that SB 202 was not about “equal pay” but allowed workers who have been discriminated against to seek actual damage through the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division. SB 202 streamlined the process of employment discrimination claims, making the process faster and more efficient, and cutting out expensive trial lawyers.


The actual Equal Pay Act is a federal law enacted in 1963. Being a federal law, it would require an act of Congress and the president’s signature before it could be repealed. I’d never support repeal, even if Wisconsin did have the power, but, as you can read in the referenced PolitiFact articles, Democrats have falsely claimed that SB 202 repeals the Equal Pay Act.


Finally, women, veterans, those with disabilities, members of racial or ethnic minorities, and others have plenty of options to be made whole, including back pay, reinstatement and any other costs. In addition to the state process, there’s a similar federal process and the ability to file a hefty lawsuit in federal court.


The Republicans’ “war on women” is not only “Pants on Fire” false but is actually the Democrats’ “war on truth.”


Rep. Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater, represents the 43rd Assembly District. Readers may contact him with any comments on this article at Rep.Wynn@legis.wi.gov or call his office at (608) 266-9650.

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