Missing The VAWA Tap-In

I realize that the Republican candidates for US Senate are just beginning to ramp up operations, and I don't expect them to be ready with policy declarations on every issue under the sun. But yesterday offered up what I consider a tap-in putt for them, and it's a little disappointing that the top two contenders chose not to swing.

The US Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) yesterday, on a 78-22 vote. The nay votes were all Republicans, all men, and almost all from solidly red states.

In case you were hiding under a rock last autumn -- and I don't blame you if you did -- Scott Brown spent the last two months of his re-election campaign on the defensive over so-called women's issues. He was unable to sufficiently inoculate himself from the worst tendencies of the national GOP conservatives, and for that the Commonwealth's women pummeled him at the ballot box.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination will face the same struggle. So I would think that the candidates would be eager for this VAWA vote opportunity, which from a purely political-perception standpoint offers a clear choice between standing with women, or standing with the most conservative Neanderthals in Washington. And, it's not as if there's a conservative in the primary who might hit them from the right on the issue.

Yesterday afternoon, I asked the campaigns of all three declared GOP candidates how they would have voted on yesterday's VAWA reauthorization.

The only one to give a straight answer was the little-known longshot, Jon Fetherston of Ashland: " I would have voted yes on the Violence Against Women Act."

Dan Winslow's campaign gave me the following non-commital statement:

"I will be issuing detailed policy position statements during the course of the campaign, shortly after the signature requirement is completed.  In the state Legislature, I have a record of supporting women's rights, including reproductive freedom and economic empowerment for women.  I co-sponsored, for example, legislation for equal pay for equal work for women. If I were elected to the United Senate Senate I will continue to support women's rights as I have done in the Massachusetts House." 

Gabriel Gomez's campaign has not yet responded to my inquiries; I'll let you know if I get an answer.

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