Obama's War on Women Backfires
Women are a central, indispensible part of the Democratic base -- single women, that is, and particularly those being churned out of women's studies programs at colleges and universities all across the country. Single women favored Obama by a 41-point margin in 2008. They are the reason why "reproductive rights" and the so-called "women's issues" were in our faces non-stop at the Democrats' Charlotte, N.C. convention. The "War on Women" narrative is the reason why B-level female celebrities -- Sandra Fluke, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, Nancy Keenan, Caroline Kennedy, Eva Longoria, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Cecile Richards, and Kamala Harris -- took center stage during prime time for television coverage of the DNC event.
For critical months during the campaign, it looked like the "war on women" meme was working -- President Obama held a strong lead over Governor Romney among women, and especially single women.
But slowly the "war on women" began to "pile on" -- or should I say "pile up" -- to the point that it became a caricature, and thinking women began to cringe. According to liberals, women cannot learn for themselves; we have to be told how to vote. Who can forget those pepto-pink vagina costumes in Charlotte? And if birth control fails, we want abortion-on-demand for a full nine months. Not getting pregnant, not having babies...that's all we care about. Really? We don't actually want to be independent; we prefer to rely on the government to take care of us? The new "knight in shining armor" is the taxpayer. Government is our sugar daddy, and we enjoy being objectified by men looking for no-strings-attached sex. Oh, good grief!
Groups like Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization, kept talking about how important the economy and jobs are for women. CWA's bus tour and "She Votes" campaigns focused on "lady smarts," not "lady parts." Women responded to straight talk and being treated with respect rather than condescension.
Obama's propaganda that pictured him as the champion of women worked for awhile -- then facts intervened. Voters learned that the Obama White House pays its female staff 18 percent less than men. Thoughtful Americans didn't like the idea of forcing taxpayers to pay for contraception and abortions -- regardless of their religious convictions. Even non-Catholics saw the infringement of religious freedom. Then came the infamous and disgustingly crude "first time voting/sex" ad that turned off even its target audience of college coeds.
The Obama campaign seriously underestimated women's intelligence and ability to think for themselves. In short, the "war on women" idea backfired. Truth has a way of breaking through even amidst campaign smoke and mirrors. Take a look at the truth women understand on just a few of the so-called "women's issues" in the 2012 campaign.
Abortion: The Obama administration put all its eggs in the wrong basket; even Gallup shows that support for abortion is at an all-time low. Perhaps more important, one in six registered voters (17%) say they will vote for only a pro-life candidate, and another 45 percent say that a candidate's views on abortion will be an "important factor" as they vote. Pro-lifers have made significant strides in getting information out to women about the harms of abortion. Elaine Hays, in "Why Abortion is the Real War on Women" in Policymic, summarizes many of the harms: "[c]omplications from an abortion may surface as much as 10-15 years later. Ectopic pregnancies increased 300% in the first ten years after abortion was legalized, 500% among women who aborted their first pregnancy. Infections that lead to scarring in the uterus can eventually result in sterility and cervical incompetence. Tearing or stretching of the cervix opening can result in miscarriages or premature births. Studies are varied as to whether or not there is an increased risk of breast cancer after having an abortion during the early stages of pregnancy."
Sex-Selection Abortion: As I pointed out in a Townhall column, abortion supporters face a dilemma. There is an inherent conflict between two deeply-held leftist beliefs: (1) abortion liberates women from unwanted pregnancies and is a matter of "women's rights"; (2) patriarchy is the source of women's oppression. When it comes to oppression, killing a "girl child" in the womb is "the most extreme form of violence against women." To hold both of these beliefs at the same time means to live with constant cognitive dissonance in the extreme. The two alternatives are mutually exclusive. Holding one point of view means that you cannot logically believe the other proposition. That puts the left in an untenable position.
Restrictions on Freedom: Carrie Lukas and Sabrina Schaeffer, co-authors of Liberty Is No War on Women, were interviewed recently by Kathryn Lopez, from National Review Online. Lopez asked Sabrina Schaeffer if our understanding of liberty in America has changed over time. Schaeffer replied: "Absolutely[.] ... Choosing to major in psychology rather than computer science is not an injustice. Choosing to leave work -- or work part time -- to raise children is not discrimination. And choosing to have a really big soda, to be vegan, to drink raw milk, or eat salty popcorn are all choices a free citizen should have. And history has demonstrated over and over again that when government tried to make choices for us, the outcomes are always worse --worse schools, worse health care, worse economic growth."
Myth of Wage Gap: While the "wage gap" is still bandied about as fact, most voters -- including women -- know that the "gap" is greatly exaggerated. Economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth's book, Women's Figures, and a report by the American Association of University Women indicate that the small difference between male and female salaries is because of choices that women freely make regarding choice of career and the balance between career and motherhood. Carrie Lukas, Independent Women's Forum, points out in a Wall Street Journal article that single, childless women earn 8 percent more than similarly qualified men. Sabrina Schaeffer explains, "When you control for any number of variables -- education, college major, time spent out of the workforce -- the pay disparity largely disappears. And in some areas of the country, single, urban women earn 8 percent more than their male counterparts because women are earning more college degrees. So choices -- not widespread discrimination -- explain the small pay disparity between men and women. But choices are a function of a woman's freedom, not an injustice imposed on her by society."
ObamaCare: Arguably, no other issue causes such sharp differences between the two political parties as ObamaCare -- a bill President Obama pushed through Congress without a single Republican vote. As Nancy Pelosi foreshadowed, Americans are learning what's in the bill now that it is passed, and they don't like what they are discovering. My report on the Independent Payment Advisory Board reveals that (as Sarah Palin famously noted) IPAB is eerily like rationing committees, or "death panels." Further, ObamaCare will push an additional 11 to 17 million people (more men than women) into Medicaid, forcing state governments to reduce resources for femaleenrollees, including the 80 percent of prescription drugs that go to women.
Female Entrepreneurs: When Obama famously stated: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," that statement didn't apply just to men. It included women. In the Fortune 500 survey of America's largest corporations, only 20 were headed by women as well. In 2007, the U.S. Census noted that women owned 28.7 percent of all businesses, and that number was expected to grow in subsequent years, but ObamaCare's employer mandate includes steep income tax increases and increased costs of health insurance. Both will hit female entrepreneurs hard.
Fortunately, as women are learning these facts, they are rejecting the false claims of the fictional "war on women." Recent polling indicates that Romney is closing the gender gap with women; women now prefer Romney 56 percent to 40 percent Obama. In addition, Obama's lead on "understanding people's problems" has narrowed from a 22-point lead to a 7-point lead.
Although the recent polling is good news for conservatives, women who hold traditional Judeo-Christian values will have to go to the polls and vote if they want to be more than the sum of their "lady parts." By relying on their "lady smarts" instead, women prove themselves capable of determining their own future and rejecting the mythical "Julia," who is dependent on big government. Real women didn't come this far to allow themselves to be treated as nothing more than a foolish bimbo à la Lena Dunham's "voting is like your first time."
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. is author of Children at Risk and Marriage Matters, both published by Transaction Publishers, "the publisher of record for international social science research." She is also a former presidential speechwriter for the first President Bush, and she is a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.