“Liberty, through the lens: Women” is the first installment of a Washington Post feature that will dispatch reporters to battleground states to interview the populace.
All the women interviewed for today’s installment live in Virginia, a state that traditionally leaned Republican but went for President Obama in 2008. The question: "Regardless of who you support, which candidate do you trust to do a better job addressing women's issues – Obama or Romney? Why?"
An encouraging number of the women interviewed didn't balkanize their sex and saw the important issue as one of which man would make the better president for the entire nation.
It seems to me that there was a nugget of bad news for President Obama: not a single woman quoted raised the phony issue of contraception. This may indicate that the Obama campaign’s desperate attempt to portray Republicans as scary contraception snatchers isn’t paying off and that economic issues will continue to matter most.
Since the feature consists of pictures, a brief description and a quote, there is a certain voyeuristic interest in perusing it. Some of it is unintentionally funny—one woman says that we should be concerned with having a president who represents all of us and then says she belongs to a union so, of course, she is supporting Obama.
A few highlights:
Karen Swallow Prior, 47,English and modern language department chair at Liberty University, seems to be an anti-dependence type:
I think Romney would contribute more in addressing reduced paternalism in government. Paternalism hinders all of us, women especially.
Leanna Colley, 20, Hollins College film and communications major, has an almost incomprehensible quote:
Obama all the way. Honestly I know this sounds cliché, but the respect he has for Michelle and the respect he shows her, he definitely treats her as an equal whereas Romney does not.
Come again? Romney doesn’t treat Michelle Obama or Ann Romney as an equal? Maybe Ms. Colley needs a course in communications.
Vanessa Matthews, 60, semi-retired from a family business, shows why a question about women’s issues misses the point:
I just think that Romney is going to be there for not just the women’s issues, but … to all of our issues, and let’s get back to where we were. I loved the Reagan era.
And my own personal favorite, Nancy Bell, 50, is a nonprofit fundraiser. Apparently, tact is not one of her virtues:
Obama. The blunt way to say it is I don’t think Mormons have a very good background or reputation for representing women’s interests.
Maybe a little too blunt, Ms. Bell?