Sometimes in politics, the best defense is a good offense. As Democrats' invented and utterly mendacious "war on women" meme took hold, many Republicans dithered, scarcely able to clearly identify and refute the straight-up lies being spread about their positions. Having sustained substantial damage, the GOP is at last waking up and firing back. Mitt Romney is flipping the script on Democrats, pointing to empirical data showing that Barack Obama's failed economic policies have disproportionately impacted American women:
This is excellent. Here we have the presumptive Republican nominee, flanked by concerned-looking women, actually using the words "war on women" to describe the huge jobs deficit American women have suffered under Obama's economy. Here's the campaign fact sheet he consults in the clip, which relies on statistics that Washington Post fact-checkers have deemed to be -- I kid you not -- "true but false:"
We cannot fault the RNC’s math, as the numbers add up. But at this point this figure doesn’t mean very much. It may simply a function of a coincidence of timing — a brief blip that could have little to do with “Obama’s job market.” If trends hold up over the next few months, then the RNC might have a better case. But at this point we will give this statistic our rarely used label: True but false.
Translation: Yeah, Republicans' math is completely correct, but we don't like it, because of "blips," or something. Politifact has piled on with a "mostly false" rating of its own, despite acknowledging the accurate calculation. Journalism. I still bristle at the "war" rhetoric here, largely because I don't think it's true that Obama intentionally crafted his policies to hurt women, as that term implies. But this is a classic example of the political 'good for the goose' principle. Democrats fired the first idiotic salvos in this faux "war," so the blowback is on them. One risk here is that Romney's numbers that justify his narrow "92.3 percent" claim only deal with the net loss of roughly three-quarters of a million jobs since the president took office. The unemployment rate has been dropping at a glacial rate, but that still represents an improvement Obama can tout. What's critical, then, is to repeatedly address the shrinking labor force, which artificially inflates the employment benchmark. There are millions of so-called "missing workers" that simply aren't counted in the monthly U3 figures because they've dropped off the employment grid altogether. If today's labor force were equal to the participation rate Obama inherited, March's unemployment rate would have been just shy of 11 percent. The size of the American work force has plummeted to historic lows on this president's watch.
Another piece of ammunition Republicans are using to denounce Obama's "war on women" is the new Washington Free Beacon report that Kate touched on yesterday. After they went after Romney on equal pay for women issues, it's been revealed that Obama's White House pays its female employees $11,000 less per year, on average, than their male colleagues:
Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show. According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).
As Allahpundit notes, in all fairness, this gap likely exists due to a series of complex factors, especially the rigid salary structure tethered to seniority. So Obama may be getting a bit of a bum rap here -- but I'd still love to hear the party that started the "war on women" food fight explain why so many more men than women happen to hold senior positions in Barack Obama's White House. We're all ears, guys. Now is also probably a good time to remind everyone that this administration has been dubbed a "hostile workplace" and a "boys' club" by former female employees, and that the president doesn't much care for female company when taking part in his favorite recreational activities. Now that liberals are feeling some heat from the fire they set, they're lashing out and exhibiting signs of pathological denial. Not only is Democrat strategist and frequent White House guest Hilary Rosen demeaning cancer survivor and grandmother Ann Romney, she's also trying to claim that Republicans manufactured the "war on women" narrative. Quin Hillyer is floored by the chutzpah of this assertion:
Republicans are spreading it? Really, Ms. Rosen?? Well then, how does this disinformation specialist explain the following fundraising pitch sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, signed by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi? To quote it: "The national media and our opponents will use our grassroots fundraising totals to measure the strength of our opposition to the Republicans’ War on Women." Last I checked, the congressional committee of the president's party does just about nothing without the imprimatur of the White House or of the White House's minions at the Democratic National Committee. Perhaps something gets by once, but if it reappears again and again, it is clear the White House doesn't object. You see, this was not the first DCCC/Pelosi letter that used the same phrase. Several weeks earlier, there was this one, this time adding the word "unrelenting" to the charge. The DCCC even bragged about how much money the letter raised. Or how about when Pelosi called the GOP budget a "war on women"? As Erick Erickson of Red State noted this morning, DNC Chair and demagogic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is also fond of the expression.
Democrats are squirming and spinning. It's gotten so bad that Politico has felt compelled to gallop to its preferred political party's defense, explaining in a "news" story that Romney's counter-punch on women has been a "fumble." Their evidence? You guessed it: The "true but false" garbage from fact-checkers. Which reminds me, wasn't it just a few years ago that liberals were using "fake but accurate" information to smear President Bush? Funny how the actual truth seems to take a back seat to the Left's "larger" truthiness in contested presidential election cycles.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography