April 4 2012
As last night’s sweep of two states and the District of Columbia makes it more likely that the GOP nominee will be Governor Romney, it is time to talk about us—women, whose votes could well be decisive in determining the outcome of the presidential race. Sisters, we are being courted.
In a way, the Obama campaign’s courting of women is déjà vu all over again: women are being told that they are defined by a narrow sliver of social issues. This year that narrow sliver is said—improbably—to include contraception. Contraception?
The Republican interest in contraception as an issue is limited solely to not forcing religiously affiliated employers who regard it as morally objectionable to pay for it. Out and out demagoguery is being used to persuade women that the GOP is waging a “war on women” that seeks to take away their contraception. So far, it seems to be working—polls show that the president is leading and that women are largely responsible for this.
A headline in the Huffington Post captures the line the White House is promoting: “War on Women: Republicans Think the Male Votes Outweigh the Damage.” Of course, Republicans think no such thing. But they were caught off guard by the contraception “issue,” and with the media working overtime to promote this truly bizarre line of attack, they are going to have to work hard to get the votes of women.
It may be time for Republicans to say flat out that there is no war on women. Maybe they should say what this "war on women" really is all about: the Democrats were terrified by the 2010 midterms when the gender gap (the propensity of women to support Democrats) vanished, and even the president's supporters they know they can’t lure women back into the fold by talking about President Obama’s record. Hence the "war on women."
What is the “war on women” that is being promoted so vociferously? As Mona Charen noted a month ago, it amounts to “a genius for changing the subject.” Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you are a woman, you should want this debate to be about things that truly matter, not about some phony issue such as contraception that is only of interest in the public arena to one candidate, who appears to be fading (and even he didn't want to make it illegal!).
We care about the economy, foreign affairs, and how, if we get a second shot at it, our health care system is reformed.
We must not let them ghettoize us!