The Obama machine has been portrayed as a campaign juggernaut, essentially unstoppable, headed by the smartest president (In Obama's estimation, at least in the top four) ever anointed and run by the cleverest and most ruthless backroom in the history of U.S. politics. Obama, Axelrod, and Plouffe, we are told, really know their stuff. So much so, that many in the media wonder why Romney, presuming he wins the GOP nomination, would even show up in the fall contest.
Axelrod's strategy of targeting identifiable voter groups and then scaring these groups into the Obama camp by creating Republican bogeymen is celebrated on most Sunday talk shows as political genius. Poll after poll is trotted out to show Axelrod's efficacy when it comes to getting his guy back in the Oval Office. The latest carefully crafted tactic, so clever that it could have been hatched only in Axelrod's war room, the "Republican War on Women," was so well-thought out and executed that we are told it resulted in a twenty-point spread of "women" more likely to support Obama than to support Romney. Pure genius.
So well-crafted was the War on Women message that it only took a two-second sound bite by Obama surrogate Hilary Rosen, attacking Ann Romney, for the entire War on Women meme to come completely unraveled. Rosen's comments were spectacularly ignorant, but even if she had not torpedoed Axelrod's latest scheme on national TV, we can be sure that another Obama minion would have scuttled the War on Women at some point.
The contempt in which the Obama administration holds women, while unfortunate, is a trademark, and it comes as no surprise. Whether it's the intensely personal attacks on any conservative woman, from Palin to Haley and now Romney, or the misogynistic inner sanctum at the White House, complete with pay inequity based on gender, Democrats discount women as useful but expendable.
Underlying the Obama/Axelrod strategy to capture the "woman's vote" is the belief that women (and, for that matter, most individuals) are not capable of making informed choices in their own best interest. Only state-sponsored programs and mandated alternatives are acceptable "choices." Religious choice, reproductive choice, and even the choice to stay home and raise children rather than handing the kids over to state are to be mocked. The exception, of course, is the choice of taxpayer funded abortion.
Holding up women like Anne Romney as being less than worthy merely because their choices don't conform to the Democrat vision of the "woman's place" was seen as a winning strategy by the Obama camp. The drive-by of Ann Romney, and by association all women who have either chosen to stay home with the kids or (more critically from a political standpoint) those women who wish they could stay home, looks to be a wedge issue in the election, but not the wedge Axelrod was anticipating.
The "War on Women" myth was neither well-crafted nor clever -- it was improvised, ill-conceived, and so transparent that its predictable result was a backlash against Obama by the independent women he needs for re-election. The idea of a War on Women was a misguided attempt at damage control after the Obama camp alienated the Catholic Church over provision of contraception and abortion. Backpedaling from a Catholic voter blowback, Axelrod and Obama teased a war on woman from a rat's nest of comments and speeches attributed to the Santorum campaign and used that projection to wail that Republicans want to abolish contraception (and clean water, air, safe food, and elder care). Adding Sandra Fluke to the mix and mandating that insurers of religious organizations provide contraception to employees of those organizations, the Obama team thought they had a winner.
No battle plan this poorly crafted withstands contact with the enemy. This plan in particular couldn't withstand contact with an ally. In a matter of seconds, Hilary Rosen dismantled Obama's war on women, at the same time galvanizing mothers, daughters, and grandmothers, working, at home, or retired, behind the wife of the presumptive GOP nominee. Even liberal women in the media felt the maternal bond with Ms. Romney and struggled to sustain the attack on her.
Axelrod's Obama machine is in disrepair. The money that flowed so easily to the campaign in 2008 is not materializing as the team had hoped. We hear rarely these days of Obama's billion-dollar campaign. Nearly 52% of Americans disapprove of Obama's performance. Nearly 65% see America on the wrong track under Obama. Fifty-five percent think ObamaCare should be repealed. The real "gender" advantage for Obama is down to 8% and likely closer. Debt, deficit, and unemployment as a result of Obama's policies and Axelrod's spin amount to a real attack on women, men, and children, and most Americans understand this to be true.
Based on the events of the past weekend between Rosen's unwitting dismantling of the War on Woman and Axelrod's desperate and embarrassing interview on Fox News Sunday, the battle for women is over. The Dems lost. The bigger fight for the future of the U.S. is at hand, and the Obama juggernaut has been exposed as eminently stoppable.