June 29 2012
Wanted: Economic security, not summits: Obama patronizes women voters
President Obama will kick off the summer season with a series of “Women Vote 2012 Summits” in key swing states, including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida and Nevada. Joined by campaign officials and Hollywood stars, Mr. Obama plans to intensify the “war on women” rhetoric and advance the idea that women are best served when government plays a leading role in their lives.
The president will celebrate all the ways government helps care for women, revealing a discomforting sense that he views women as victims constantly in need of special government protections. He also ignores the biggest problem that truly plagues women: chronic unemployment, rising living costs and an anemic economic recovery.
Rather than tackling the larger economic issues, the campaign has made clear that the president will focus on the issue of equal pay in the workplace and the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), which recently failed in the Senate. While Democrats frame the discussion in terms of “protecting” women, they ignore the fact that equal pay is already the law of the land. What’s more, because laws like the PFA would encourage employees to file more lawsuits, they would actually make the workplace far less flexible and discourage job creation, which is bad news for both women and men.
The president will also continue to push for a top-down, one-size-fits all health care system with special “freebies” for women. Women make the majority of decisions pertaining to their families’ health care needs, and they purchase about 75 percent of prescription drugs - significantly more than men. So it’s true that women are concerned about our health care system. But while the Obama administration and their liberal allies focus on delivering specific advantages for women, such as free birth control and annual exams, that’s not going to cure the real problems in our health care system. In fact, these giveaways will exacerbate the existing problems that plague our health care system, driving up costs and discouraging innovation and efficiency.
Mr. Obama and his campaign aides are apt to celebrate educational programs like Head Start. He will certainly leave out the fact that the Department of Health and Human Services recently revealed that Head Start hasn’t had the impact on academic performance many had hoped. In fact their report found that despite the nearly $100 billion Congress has spent on the early childhood education program since its inception in 1965, there is almost no significant impact on any of the measures by age 4, just one year after the program ends.
The Obama campaign certainly views these women summits - and his cradle-to-grave policies - as a win-win for the president. Campaigning is what Mr. Obama does best, and he sees the “war on women” as a way of distracting voters from the economic realities facing the country today. The truth is that all the “Life of Julia” policies Mr. Obama will tout actually fail women and their families, lead to fewer choices, less flexibility and less freedom in the lives of all of us.
And women know it. Despite what radical feminist groups would have the White House believe, playing gender politics is not a sure-fire way to secure women’s votes in November. Recent research conducted for the Independent Women’s Voice found that only a third of true independents believe there is really a “war on women,” and the debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act actually helps reduce support for Democrats’ economic policies.
If Mr. Obama wants to help women and their families, he needs to tackle the very serious economic realities these swing states face. Women today are not interested in pitting the sexes against one another. Instead, women and men want the same thing - economic growth and job creation. It’s just too bad President Obama doesn’t see that.
Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of Independent Women’s Forum.