by Clarice Feldman
One of the intriguing aspects of this election is how the Democrats' shameless and clueless appeal to women is ending with the vaporization of the historic "gender gap" among voters.
The Lady Parts Convention
From the prancing Code Pink vulvas outside the convention venue to the choice of speakers, there was no doubt that the Democrat Convention was aimed at securing the women's vote. Indeed, Balkanizing women and minority voters was then as significant a part of the Obama strategy as securing the electoral votes of Ohio is now to them.
The thinking here apparently was that by highlighting a thirty-year-old law student whining that others should pay her contraceptive costs, emphasizing an unfettered right to abortion, and equal pay for equal work (a convenient code for further feathering trial lawyers nests with dubious claims for parity) and highlighting fluffy issues beloved of the ill-informed, Obama would lock up the women's votes. The Republican "War on Women" was the theme of a convention designed around obscuring the fact that the Democratic standard-bearer had no record to run on, no plan for a second term, and shared the ticket with a crazy person afflicted with logorrhea.
This week, as Susan Fields observes, it is clear that strategy failed so badly that the long running gap between male and female voters has been practically erased.
The Gallup Poll now shows Mitt Romney trailing the president by only a point among women who are likely to vote in 12 swing states. This follows a Pew Research Center poll taken after the first presidential debate showing that President Obama's 18-point lead among women had shrunk to a tie, 47 percent to 47 percent.
"In every poll, we've seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney," Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told USA Today after the first debate. These polls find women increasingly concerned with the deficit and debt, just like men. The social issues continue to be more important to women than to men, but these issues no longer dominate the discussion. [snip] In the second debate, Romney looked deeper into the dark side of Obama accounting, finding that 3.5 million more women are living in poverty than before he took charge of the economy. Women understand that an economy with 7.8 percent unemployment, when half of college graduates can't find good jobs, is not good for anyone.
I don't disagree with Fields' assessment that the terrible Obama economy and its effect on women have a lot to do with the shift, but I suggest that there's a great deal more to it.
Bad times tend to focus the mind and wise up all voters, including women. Maybe we really aren't voting for the head of a national PTA, Johnny Appleseed, or for our choice of "American Idol." Perhaps it would be a good idea to elect someone who does understand economics and business.
There may be even more to the shift than that.
More Worldly Jobs Make for More Worldly Voters
Just as the greater use of contraceptives and availability of abortion have trimmed the left's upcoming generations but not those of more traditional voters, the increased employment of women and not just in those jobs we call "the caring professions," but in jobs where daily they can see at first hand the effects of bad policy on their economic opportunities, seems to me to factor into this.
When you want to hire an employee but the uncertainties about tax planning and the market and your obligations under Obamacare mean you can't, soft appeals to minor extraneous issues fall on deaf ears. When you cannot afford to fill the tank of your car to get to work, pay for your health insurance, or feed your family, while Obama is tossing away more billions on green energy fantasies, ethanol subsidies, or Fluke's birth-control pills, just turn up the heat on your ire. When your savings evaporate, your property is worth less and bonds in Delphi are made worthless to benefit UAW members, your tax bill rises to pay for illegal aliens' social costs, diversity training for doctors, lunchroom monitors checking to see if you packed a healthy enough lunch for your kids. or TSA bullies to pat down the underwear of enfeebled oldsters and crying kids at airports, Obama's offers to provide more government regulation are unpersuasive.
Ladies are More Than Their Lady Parts
Then there's the insult of an appeal that assumes that over half the population is so focused on their reproductive parts that nothing else matters much to them. I mean that does seem terribly regressive when you consider it. And it is an equally poor judgment that assumes free contraceptives and no limits on abortion are the choice all women want to make.
Finally, there's the blatant hypocrisy of the charge coming from a White House which does not offer equal pay to its women employees and, aside from Valerie Jarrett, has no high-level women staffers. White House megaphones like MSNBC, which pays its women employees half what they pay the males are no better.
(Of course, honesty compels me to say that anything paid to MSNBC personalities seems akin to a charitable contribution designed to keep these nutters off the streets with begging bowls.)
Decades ago (I think during the short-term run of Ted Kennedy for president) NPR interviewed me on the role of women in politics. It was no secret that Kennedy had no high-level female staffers and treated women horribly, and yet women were flocking to volunteer for him. I said they were nuts to do so.
As long as campaigns could count on the support and free labor of women, they would not see why they had to pay for it or treat them as necessary hires. They would always be "the girls." I still feel that way. While I appreciate that campaigns cannot run without countless volunteers, it might not be a bad idea for women to work only for candidates respectful of women and their abilities. I suggest it's in our interest to send in a contribution if we can afford to. If it's a big enough check, the candidate might actually listen to what you have to say. But if you want to do volunteer work, for heaven's sake don't do it for a candidate who's made clear he doesn't think much of women.
In any event, ignore the claim Obama makes to be more concerned for your welfare than Republicans are. Supporting him on that false basis is just thinking with your lady parts.
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