First, it was cookies. Now, it’s knitting. Republicans are stuck with mid-20th century stereotypes about women.

Pat McCrory infamously offered a plate of cookies as an olive branch to women protesting his signing of the abortion bill he promised not to sign. Then, this week, House Majority Leader “Skip” Stam said that Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson should “stick to her own knitting” after she offered a stinging critique of the education budget. And Republicans wonder why they have such a large gender gap.

But, really, the analogy is just about right–for Republicans. The GOP is yearning for the times of Father Knows Best. You know, the good ol’ days.

Back in the days when we didn’t need voter ID laws because we had Jim Crow. When we kept our taxes low and schools well funded by shortchanging a quarter of the state’s population by providing them with inferior services and facilities. Back when gay meant happy because there weren’t any homosexuals. Back when we didn’t have to worry about equal pay because everybody knows women aren’t supposed to work. And only uppity women worried their pretty little heads about complicated business like laws and policies.

Republicans already suffer from a stereotype themselves: the party of old white men. They don’t do much to change that perception with condescending statements and actions. Instead, they perpetuate the view that the GOP has little empathy for people different from them and they live in a black-and-white world that is, in reality, full of gray areas. If they don’t learn a bit of cultural sensitivity, they’ll eventually be put out to pasture by the very people they’ve offended.

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