The 'War on Women' Implodes
The so-called "War on Women" should have been a deadly hit, a fatal blow to the GOP's hopes to cut into the huge majority of the female vote that went for Obama in 2008. Or so Democrat strategists thought when the Democrats launched their campaign to persuade the public that the GOP was engaging in a "War on Women," they thought they had a sure thing. The planets were aligned just right for success. Their rallying cry was powerful; their victim was vulnerable; the media had their backs, and they are masters of deadly destruction in the art of political warfare.
With their troops armed to the hilt for battle, the Democrats and President Obama sent them forth to do battle in the imaginary GOP "War on Women." They assumed women all across the nation would fall into line behind them once they heard the battle cry.
The incumbent, as conventional wisdom goes, is virtually impossible to defeat; he can use the power of his office to control the terms of the debate to focus on his record of accomplishments. Except that this administration has such a dismal record -- from the economy to unemployment, from the housing crash to exorbitant gas prices -- from unsustainable debt to incomprehensible deficit -- their only hope depends upon diversionary tactics. Supposedly, a months-long campaign about a supposed Republican "War on Women" would pump up outrage among those vitally important, single-women voters and propel the president ahead in the 2012 polls. The Obama campaign thought they were whipping up a perfect storm to swamp the Republicans.
But their "perceptions" differ from the "realities" beyond their Washington, D.C.-New York-Los Angeles elite enclaves. Is the White House getting desperate and miscalculating?
This White House knows the facts -- women outnumber men, and they vote at higher rates than men. Election 2012 will be different from 2008 -- fewer women identify as Democrat in 2012 than in 2008. Plus, the president fares best among single women (54% of single women prefer Obama, as compared to only 35% of married women; 26% of single women prefer Romney, compared to 47% of married women). No wonder the Democrats want to push the idea of a "War on Women" that focuses on hot-button issues for single women.
After all, years of political strategy rests on the principle of divide and conquer. Democrats must fire up those single women who are necessary for victory in November. The public was bombarded with demagoguery and propaganda camouflaged as truth. It seemed like the perfect narrative: pro-life policies and shutting down Planned Parenthood's access to the federal trough would endanger women's health. Then there was the very emotional Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke skirmish. Single women in college -- even 30-something law school students -- who spend more than $3,000 a year on contraception should not be called bad names. Never mind that feminists have been staging demonstrations to appropriate, to own, the label "slut." Headlines about the faux-battle over contraception were followed by Hilary Rosen's faux-mommy war. She claimed that Ann Romney, who raised five sons, has "never worked a day in her life."
In the midst of all the distortions and lies, truth came to light.
The president and his cohorts did not reckon with truth when they built a campaign on a lie. But truth is a strangely persistent thing. Winston Churchill described truth as "incontrovertible" and said, "Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." Fog, for a time, may conceal realities, but the realities remain.
At the same time that Hilary Rosen was taking pot shots at Mrs. Romney for "never working," news broke that President Obama, the champion of working women, pays female White House employees 18% less than the male counterparts he employees. The median annual salary for women in Obama's White House is $60,000, compared to the $71,000 median salary for the men.
Our Beverly LaHaye Institute figures show that women account for 92 percent of the jobs lost since 2008 -- in the past three years, it is the steepest decline than at any point since records were kept. Ironically, this job loss is among demographics traditionally in the President's base: unemployment is up among Hispanic women and up among Black women more than three percentage points (1.3 million women).
Despite the hard realities of these facts, it looked for a little while like the left was winning the PR battle. In an April CBS News/New York Times poll, women supported President Obama 49%, with Mitt Romney pulling in 43%.
But as Churchill said, truth is incontrovertible.
Early on in the so-called "War," the Hill Poll showed that "Forty-nine percent of likely voters said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee (Mitt Romney) respects women who have independent careers, while 27 percent said he doesn't and 24 percent weren't sure." President Obama garnered only 35 percent of those who thought he respects women with independent careers. According to the women voters in the poll, 46 percent thought Mitt Romney understands their issues, while only 41 percent thought President Obama does.
Reams of social science research support the idea that, when it comes to choosing a president, voters pick the person they "trust." Evidence is piling up that the campaign distractions are not working for the Democrats, that even the "true believers" are disillusioned. As Churchill said about truth, "in the end, there it is."
For President Obama, the truth hurts.
A poll released May 14, 2012, shows that women support Mitt Romney over President Obama 46 percent to 44 percent.
It appears that President Obama and the Democrats have lost this battle and are at risk of losing the war.
Janice Shaw Crouse, a former speechwriter for Bush 41, is a political commentator for Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee.