According to Jeremy Peters in The New York Times, Carly Fiorina really could appeal to women who are put off by extreme GOP policies:
With a debate performance that was steely and at times deeply personal, Carly Fiorina appears to have improved her standing in the race to be the Republican nominee. But even if she falls short, she took a big stride toward filling a role her party badly needs: a credible antidote to the gender gap and the Democrats’ claims of a Republican “war on women.”
Yes, and why exactly do some people perceive that there's a Republican war on women, according to Peters?
A series of events building on the horizon threatens to feed into efforts by the Democrats to paint the Republican Party as tone-deaf on women’s issues.
Republicans in Congress are threatening a government shutdown in a dispute over funding Planned Parenthood. The government’s spending authority expires in less than two weeks, and many conservatives have threatened to vote against a new budget if it includes any money for the organization.
In a separate move, Senate Republicans are moving quickly to schedule a vote on legislation that would impose a federal ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. It would be the most restrictive abortion bill to reach the Senate floor in a decade. Similar laws across the country are facing legal challenges from women’s groups that argue they are unconstitutional.
But Fiorina could be "a credible antidote" to all that, right?
Even though, as Peters notes, she has angrily attacked Planned Parenthood, most notably in Wednesday's debate, and backs a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding?
For her part, Mrs. Fiorina is siding with the hard-liners in her party who want to see a veto showdown with Mr. Obama, who has said he will reject any attempt to take away Planned Parenthood’s funding.
“This is about the character of our nation,” she said emphatically at the debate, receiving some of the most vigorous applause of the night. “And if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”↓ Story continues below ↓
... Democrats quickly exposed a flaw in Mrs. Fiorina’s debate comments about the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood that have led to the calls to eliminate its funding. She dared the president and Mrs. Clinton to watch the tapes, saying, “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
The video that Mrs. Fiorina seems to be referring to does show a still image of a fetus being held outside the womb. But it is not seen squirming as Mrs. Fiorina describes, nor is there any indication that it is about to have its brain removed.
And even though, as Fiorina has written at the blog of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, she advocates a 20-week abortion ban?
Science supports those of us that believe in the sanctity of life. At 20 weeks, or five months into a pregnancy, an unborn child feels pain. At 20 weeks of life, an unborn child can suck his thumb, yawn, stretch, and make faces. An unborn child at 20 weeks IS a human life. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S.1670) protects the unborn in limiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is legislation that is vital in protecting the dignity of life....
Since 2010, 13 states have enacted limits on abortion after 20 weeks. I applaud these states, and urge the passing of this compassionate bill to protect those lives that are most sacred and vulnerable.
I am proud to support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and urge both houses of Congress to hold swift votes on this life-saving legislation.
(Emphasis in original.)
Yup, that's what Peters is saying -- Republican policies alienate female voters, but the solution to that problem could be a vigorous advocate of those off-putting policies who happens to wear a dress.