Here's the Cathy McMorris Rodgers message that won't get played at the Spokane Women's March

click to enlarge The video you won't see at the Spokane Women's #Persistence March on Sunday.
The video you won't see at the Spokane Women's #Persistence March on Sunday.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers will not, it turns out, be delivering a video message to the assembled throng of the Spokane Women's #Persistence March this Sunday.

Yes, march organizer Cynthia Hamilton had reached out to Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office a few weeks ago, asking if they'd be willing to participate. She told the Spokesman-Review this morning that McMorris Rodgers would be speaking to the marchers by pre-recorded video.

A number of local progressives, already upset that McMorris Rodgers spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. rally, were flummoxed by the decision to feature a Republican House leader speaking at an event that had been created, in part, to protest the Republican president.

But this afternoon, McMorris Rodgers team explained the women's march wouldn't allow them to play the video after all.

"Since she can't be there in person, they won't be able to play the video," McMorris Rodgers spokesman Jared Powell says. "I think they had a prior guideline on that that we weren't made aware of."

McMorris Rodgers wasn't able to attend in person, Powell says, because of a prior obligation and because "the government funding situation is currently up in the air, obviously," Powell says.

We've uploaded the video here instead:

On the video, McMorris Rodgers' smiles broadly, her voice cheery and enthusiastic as she describes the gains that women have made recently.

"I appreciate you allowing me to be a part of this event," McMorris Rodgers said, back when she thought she was being allowed to be part of the event. Her video stresses her female bona fides, noting she was the 200th woman to be elected to the House of Representative.

She focuses on generalities, encouraging women "to be bold, strive and fulfill their dreams, to be positive disruptors" and listing positive stats about the economic gains generated by women creating businesses.

"My goal today is to encourage you to live courageously, follow your heart, take risks and be fearless and enthusiastic," she says.

And she ends it by quoting a glass-ceiling-breaking woman not particularly beloved by progressives: the first female prime minister of Britain.

"It was Margaret Thatcher who said, 'If you want something said, ask a man," McMorris Rodgers says. "'If you want something done, ask a woman.'"

McMorris Rodgers is eager to point to her experience as a woman and a mother when discussing everything from sexual harassment in Congress, to the Medicaid bureaucracy to marijuana.

"Throughout her career, McMorris Rodgers has been dismissed by critics as a token woman, not a serious force within her party, someone who was thrust into the limelight by calculating party bosses just trying to improve the GOP's image," explained a 2014 Atlantic profile titled "Is Cathy McMorris Rodgers More Than a Token?" "But McMorris Rodgers's record demonstrates that she has more to offer than that."

But a lot of progressives are quick to attack her for her positions, which rarely, if ever, differ from whatever the current Republican establishment orthodoxy is. Marcy Stech, press secretary for the Democratic abortion-rights group EMILY's List, referred to McMorris Rodgers as "window dressing" for the Republican Party.

"I think the bottom line is, being a woman does not make you a pro-woman candidate," Stech told us in 2014. Progressives have been highly critical of McMorris Rodgers' intense opposition to abortion, vote against the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and her opposition to including protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Violence Against Women Act.

Last year, McMorris Rodgers didn't exactly endorse the Women's March, but didn't condemn it either.

"I very much respect their right to march," McMorris Rodgers told the Spokesman-Review in 2017. "I will always protect a person's ability to speak freely."