COLUMNISTS

Trickle-down creeponomics: Gaetz calls women protesting Roe draft opinion ‘over-educated’

I’m glad Matt Gaetz spoke his feeble mind because it shows what’s driving the push to overturn Roe v. Wade and, in many Republican-controlled states, end women’s reproductive rights: sexism.

Rex Huppke
USA TODAY

There are some of us here in the previously United States of America who read the leaked Supreme Court decision draft that could signal the end of abortion rights and thought, angrily: Why do so many powerful men feel entitled to decide what rights women have over their own bodies?

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a far-right marionette who dreams of one day becoming a real boy, posted one perfectly horrible tweet that answered that question: “How many of the women rallying against overturning Roe are over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no bumble matches?”

If you used artificial intelligence (something Gaetz has plenty of) to create the singularly worst, most sexist, misogynistic, dated, dumb and disgusting tweet imaginable, it wouldn’t come close to topping that. Overeducated women? Cats? Lonely for a man?

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'Toxic masculinity' comes to life

Gaetz’s tweet is a turducken of tired tropes served up by a beloved-in-MAGA-circles congressman who is what you get when the term “toxic masculinity” comes to life.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

Still, I’m glad he posted that tweet. I’m glad he spoke his feeble mind, because it shows us what’s driving the push to overturn Roe v. Wade and, in many Republican-controlled states, eviscerate women’s reproductive rights: sexism, plain and simple.

Gaetz sees women, at least those who disagree with his worldview, as having too much education for their own good. Reading between the lines of his tweet, these overeducated gals (I’m assuming he likes to use words like “gals,” maybe occasionally “broads”) are simply pining for a good man.

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Women, to people like Gaetz, are objects to be subjugated. (The congressman is being investigated by the Department of Justice over allegations he engaged in sex trafficking and had sex with an underage girl. Gaetz hasn’t been charged with a crime and denies any wrongdoing.)

Loutishness, for many in the Republican Party, has become a feature, not a bug.

Other right-wing oafs

On Tuesday, J.D. Vance won the GOP senate primary in Ohio. Gaetz campaigned for him. Just last year, Vance went on a sexist rant about Democratic women, name-checking Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and saying on Fox News: “We’re effectively run in this country, via the Democrats, via our corporate oligarchs, by a bunch of childless cat ladies who are miserable at their own lives and the choices that they’ve made.”

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Former President Donald Trump endorsed Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio.

What’s with oafish Republicans and cats?

On Wednesday, Fox News contributor and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee retweeted a video of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaking passionately about the possibility of Roe being overturned. He added this comment: “Unhinged. When leftists don't get their way, they howl at the moon, let go primal screams, threaten & arrogantly take umbrage at not getting their way. It's how petulant spoiled brats act who never learned to play well w/ others. #lizblowsgasket”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022.

Ah, yes. The “hysterical woman” groaner. When supporters of former one-term, twice-impeached President Donald Trump attack the U.S. Capitol building because their guy lost the election, it’s “legitimate political discourse.” When a powerful woman speaks out about women having a right to bodily autonomy, it’s “unhinged” and “petulant.”

'Grab 'em by the ...'

This all makes sense when you consider that Trump remains the head of the Republican Party. The guy who was caught on tape saying: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the …” You know how the rest goes.

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Trump’s ability to write those comments off as “locker room talk” paved the way for people like Gaetz to tweet about “over-educated” women using language like “under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no bumble matches.”

Demonstrators protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022.

It’s trickle-down creeponomics. It’s the kind of misogyny behind a potential decision to destroy the reproductive rights of American women, a decision that will come from a court tilted to the far right by three justices picked by the aforementioned “grab 'em by the” you-know guy and a coterie of stern-faced men in Congress who wouldn’t bristle at Gaetz’s tweet because, to them, it probably sounds about right.

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A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 57% of voters want the Supreme Court to uphold abortion rights and that only 28% hope it strikes Roe down. A 2021 Quinnipiac poll showed that even 39% of Republican voters say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

The attempt to end a constitutional right in place for decades, a law still supported by strong majorities of Americans – by men and women of both parties – will be cloaked in morality, some of it sincere. But if you want to know what’s really driving this bus off the cliff, look no further than the congressman from Florida’s derpy yet strikingly revelatory tweet.

It’s sexism, plain and simple.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk