Analysis Politics

The Perfect SBA List Candidate? One Ignorant of Minimum Wage, Violence Against Women, and Other Key Issues

Robin Marty

What does it take to find a female candidate the SBA List will be willing to endorse?  It turns out it helps if she knows little about policies affecting women.

Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman has been running much longer than any of her other counterparts to be the GOP challenger to Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. In fact, it was almost exactly one year ago that she was already orchestrating a “do-over” to “reinvigorate her beleaguered campaign.”

Since then, the conservative candidate has seen numerous challengers enter the field, but despite the newcomers, Steelman has managed to snag many of the major party endorsements. The most recent?  She’s gotten the nod from the Susan B. Anthony List, a Republican political group that claims its mission is to support “pro-life women,” often by endorsing anti-choice men in order to try to unseat pro-choice Congresswomen.

“There could not be a more clear contrast between an authentic advocate for women like Sarah Steelman and EMILY’s List darling Senator Claire McCaskill,” said Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Having voted for everything from Obamacare to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, Senator McCaskill has failed miserably at representing the best interests of women.”

“Missouri women and families are hungry for a pro-life leader like Sarah Steelman,” continued Dannenfelser. “The SBA List Candidate Fund is proud to endorse her and we look forward to adding another pro-life woman to the U.S. Senate.”

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But it’s not a surprise that the SBA List endorsed Steelman. They were no doubt determined to get involved in what would likely be one of the hottest (and hence, most expensive) races in the country. Missouri was already picked as a target by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and then the Tea Party express and other social and fiscal conservative special interest groups. Steelman courted them all early and hard, winning them over to her side over GOP competitor Todd Akin.

Had they all chosen to go with Akin instead, you can be sure that SBA would have endorsed the same way. Luckily, that they chose a female candidate to back just made it that much easier for the group.

Steelman was leading McCaskill in polling back in March, and appears ready to use the standard slash and burn campaign tactics that earned her the reputation of being “a jerk,” even according to some of her own supporters. At a recent campaign rally with Tea Party activists, one supporter shouted out that it was time to “Kill the Claire Bear,” referring to Sen. McCaskill.  Steelman’s response? That it wasn’t a big deal, except to the “liberal media.”

Steelman has been called “Sarah Palin with an economics degree,” although whether that is a compliment or not remains to be seen. That “economics degree” didn’t help Steelman or her competition when it came to guessing what the state or federal minimum wage was at a recent debate, although it did allow her to say that she’s sure someone can live on it.

And the minimum wage isn’t the only thing she’s not so well-versed on. When asked her opinion on the Congressional debate over renewing the Violence Against Women Act, Steelman had to admit she was “not sure what that is.”

But it’s her stance on reproductive health that does put her in lockstep with the SBA List, regardless of her gender.  Steelman has come out in favor of a “fertilized egg-as-person” constitutional amendment, saying “I believe that live begins at conception,” although she did qualify her statement by saying she would have to see “how it is worded.” She also supports the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to refuse birth control coverage and other medical coverage he or she finds “morally objectionable” in the company insurance plan. 

Steelman has received previous endorsements from Missouri Right to Life when she was running for the Republican primary for Governor in 2008, and her current campaign site says she

believes that government’s main role is to protect those that cannot protect themselves.  This is no truer than in the case of the unborn.  Sarah is wholly and 100% pro-life and will vote 100% pro-life in the US Senate.  Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided Supreme Court case that undermined the Constitution in the name of a liberal policy agenda.  In the US Senate, Sarah will support the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-providing organizations, and will fight to end, once and for all, the practice of partial-birth abortion.  Sarah will also oppose the confirmation of judges who attempt to legislate from the bench in order to prevent decisions like Roe v. Wade from happening again.

And if there was any doubt where Steelman stands on women’s autonomy and reproductive health, those were pretty much dashed when she enthusiastically supported her campaign manager’s quest to get Rush Limbaugh’s bust mounted at the state capitol.

A female candidate who seems determined to seek ways to undermine any political policy that advances or provides equality for women? That sounds just like the perfect Susan B. Anthony List candidate.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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