By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2015, 12:40pm PT  

This weekend, Washington Monthly blogger (and too-occasional BRAD BLOG guest blogger) D.R. Tucker cited the "Intellectually Honest Conservative" award The BRAD BLOG graciously offered recently to Texas Republican Rep. Sarah Davis.

He notes that while he kinda sorta mostly agrees with us, he has a complaint.

We granted the rarely-bestowed award to Davis last week for her courageous stand in favor of women's rights in Texas, where every other GOP lawmaker in her state Legislature is actively trying to remove them. She offers a (truly) conservative basis for her stance, arguing that Government has no business inserting itself into health decisions between a women and her doctor.

Where Tucker takes issue is that he believes if Davis really cared about women's rights she'd have no choice but to "leave her misogynist party and [tell] her right-wing colleagues to kiss her Tex-ass."

In making the case, he offers up an interesting anecdote worth sharing about Mary Crisp, for those of us who didn't know about it. She was the first female co-chair of the Republican National Committee. She had worked her way up from a party volunteer to eventually become one of its top officials before, essentially, being pushed out of the role by Ronald Reagan in 1980, thanks to her stance on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment --- the latter of which the GOP had long supported...until they didn't anymore...

Tucker notes that moment in history thirty-five years ago, as the tipping point when "The GOP's war on women began in earnest". He offers this interesting snippet from Crisp's 2007 WaPo obit in support:

Ms. Crisp, who worked her way up from grass-roots volunteer to co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee in 1977, was forced out three years later when she challenged the party's anti-abortion platform and condemned its abandonment of the Equal Rights Amendment, which Republicans had supported for four decades.

"Although our party has presented the outward appearance of vibrant health, I'm afraid we are suffering from serious internal sickness," she told a shocked platform committee. "Now we are … about to bury the rights of over 100 million American women under a heap of platitudes."

Her remarks put her in direct conflict with presidential nominee Ronald Reagan, who chastised his party's highest-ranking woman on national television, saying she "should look to herself and see how loyal she's been to the Republican Party for quite some time."

Ms. Crisp --- who by then had spent almost two decades working for the party, mostly in unpaid positions --- was reportedly stung by Reagan's rebuke. The next day she announced that she was leaving the convention.

It seems Crisp was prescient in describing the matter, at the time, as a "serious internal sickness". It seems it's a sickness that has spread malignantly throughout the party in the ensuing thirty-five years.

Tucker adds:

Ever since Reagan rammed his sharpened knife into Crisp's back, it's been downhill for women and women's rights in the GOP. Over the last three-and-a-half decades, the Republican Party has made it clear that it doesn't give a damn about women's health, women's reproductive rights, women's economic equity and advancement, women's concerns, women's thoughts, women's hopes. How can anyone, after a plain reading of the facts, not come away with the conclusion that the GOP is the ultimate men's-only club?

I'll let Tucker's case speak largely for itself, but I'll also note I'm happy to extend him every benefit of the doubt on such things. Tucker spent the majority of his own life as a stalwart, rock-ribbed Republican, until just a few years ago when, as he's documented, he bothered to actually read up on the actual science of global warming as detailed in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s 2007 Assessment Report. After that, he's written, he found himself "defeated by the facts" as he came to realize that his party had been lying to him for years about climate science and...as he then came to appreciate...so much more.

If we hadn't awarded Tucker our "Intellectually Honest Conservative" award at the time, it was only because it was unclear whether he still considered himself to even be a "conservative" at that point. In any event, his intellectual honesty on these matters is all-too-rare and certainly beyond question.