In case you haven’t heard, fellow women, we are at war. Barack Obama’s new ad tells us that “it’s a scary time to be a woman.” According to President Obama, we should vote to give him a second term on the sole ground that under a President Mitt Romney, we may not get free birth control. The fact-free nature of these claims aside, it is my hope and confident belief that the American woman of 2012 will stop and think for a moment about how demeaning it is for the President to suggest that a substance available for $9 per month is somehow a stronger indicator of her vote than her economic welfare, her level of opportunity in the job market, and her ability to live out the American Dream.
Let’s take a look at some of the rhetoric from the left:
First off, haven’t we been hearing from the Left for years that Mitt Romney is a terrible, slippery flip-flopper when it comes to abortion? What happened to that? Even accepting the premise that a President Romney would be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade (something he would need the Supreme Court that upheld Obamacare to accomplish), I’m guessing the majority of American women – certainly the swing voters that will decide this election – find 8.2 percent unemployment and $4/gallon gasoline more ‘extreme’ than a potential president supporting a potential Supreme Court decision.
Now for my personal favorite:
No need to mourn the level of political discourse in this country, given the Lincoln-Douglas-worthy eloquence on display here. American Bridge is a liberal PAC supporting President Obama by…trying to help him lock up that coveted “lesbian mom” vote? No, what is really insidious about this ad is that it comes from the antiquated assumption that all you have to do to get a woman’s attention is mention another woman. Obama’s ad touting the Lilly Ledbetter Act uses the same tactic in its intro, “Son of a single mother. Proud father of two daughters.” It’s tantamount to waving his hands in the air and shouting, “I know women! My mother was a woman!”
In the above American Bridge ad, it’s as if a bunch of (male) copywriters sat in a room and picked the two most “woman-identified” words they could think of and figured it would thus appeal to all women. You know, sisterhood and all that jazz. Someone cue the Chaka Khan.
Okay, you may say, but hasn’t the Right has used ‘war on women’ rhetoric as well? Yes, the RNC released a video using Obama adviser David Axelrod’s own words defending big Obama donor Bill Maher’s reprehensible statements about women, and footage of mainstream journalists reporting on the Obama White House as a “hostile workplace for women.” Republican-aligned Super PAC American Crossroads pointed out that the number of unemployed women has grown by 780,000 and the number of women living below the poverty line by 800,000 since Obama took office. A bit more substance there.
The RNC spot brings us to what is perhaps most troubling about the beating of (male) breasts we are seeing from Obama and the Democrats, which is that for all their Gloria Steinem-esque rhetoric, they come up woefully short when its time to put their money where their collective mouth is. In the Obama White House, female employees earn an average of $10,000 per year less than their male colleagues. Democratic female Senators Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein – all of whom have been quick to declare their outrage about unequal pay for women – have similar compensation gaps that favor men in their Hill offices.
This rhetoric vs. reality gap begs the question: Does Obama and his ilk almost, in their heart of hearts, want women to be confined to some Gloria Steinem stereotype for the sake of keeping them as single issue voters?
At the very least, given this revelation its hardly surprising that the nearly all-male Obama campaign seems to be getting its information on what women care about from a 1970s Berkley College Women’s Studies textbook. It is patronizing and insulting for the President of the United State to try to stuff every American with two X chromosomes into the same narrow, tiny, virtually nonexistent box.
We’ve won that war. Women are CEOs, entrepreneurs, world leaders, power brokers, and, in 2008, viable and credible presidential and vice-presidential candidates. As a young, professional woman living in 2012 America, I don’t need to burn my bra. What I do need is an economy flourishing, one that lets me capitalize on the educational and professional opportunities available, or one that allows me to provide and care for my family if that is the path I choose. As Obama’s own ad says, “There’s so much to do, we need to attack our problems,” not hear another verse of “I am woman, hear me roar” sung by an all-male chorus.