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Susan CombsTexas comptroller Susan Combs, a Republican, publicly criticized the GOP’s obsession with women’s health and body issues on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Washington Times, the top elected woman in Texas pointed to Tuesday’s off-year elections as evidence that the Republican Party has a difficult time appealing to women.

According to Combs, women care about three issues above all others: their families, their jobs, and their futures. But she says that the GOP’s positions on women’s issues -– positions that frequently damage women’s health — ignore women’s main concerns and turn women away.

“Tell me that you give a flip about women’s interests,” Combs said. “If all you want to talk about is my biology, gee, what happened to my brain? That is my point.”

Though Combs does not actually encourage her party to change its stance on particular issues –- rather, she advocates Republicans change their focus — her argument is reflective of a growing number of women who reject the GOP because of its well-known positions on women’s rights. Just this week, Republican senator Lindsey Graham (SC) announced he would introduce a 20-week abortion ban; it will  probably never make it to the floor in the Democratic-controlled Senate, just like another 20-week measure that passed the GOP-controlled House this summer.

This fixation on women’s health and bodies is a large part of the Republican Party’s outreach problem. And Combs is certainly not the first person to realize this about her own party. After the 2012 presidential election — in which President Barack Obama beat Republican candidate Mitt Romney among women by 56 percent to 44 percent – the Republican National Committee admitted in its Growth and Opportunity Project that the party would need to better “connect” to the issues most pressing for women to earn their votes.

The committee, which called on the GOP to be “inclusive and welcoming,” also warned that not doing so would “limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women who agree with us on some but not all issues.”

For Combs, this means realizing that when it comes to women’s issues, “It is not all south of the waistline.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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