The Independent Women’s Forum has long sought to make the point that women benefit more from a thriving economy than from nanny state programs.
An article from the Huffington Post once again makes it clear how alien that view is to the Obama administration. The piece is about the battle for the women's vote in the crucial state of Ohio. Women, Huffpo says, could be the deciders for the state in 2012.
Polls have the president at a distinct advantage among Ohio women, according to the article, and the Romney campaign is playing catch-up. The wooing of women in Ohio is a microcosm of how the war for women’s votes will be waged across the country.
I'd say that the two campaigns have very different ideas about what it takes for women to succeed–except that I think the Obama campaign is focusing more on how to make women depend on government. Indeed, I must say I find this pitch to Ohio women of from First Lady Michelle Obama depressing:
"Barack is the son of a single mother — you know his story –- who struggled to put herself through school and pay the bills. He is the grandson of a woman who woke up before dawn every day to catch a bus for a job at a bank. And even though Barack's grandmother worked hard to support her family, and she was good at her job, like so many women she hit that glass ceiling, and men no more qualified than she was were promoted on up the ladder ahead of her," Michelle Obama said.
So does the Obama campaign regard the archetypal woman as the single mother? Does it view the woman who works hard and “before dawn every day” catches a bus to her job in a bank as somehow put upon? That is what men and women have been doing for generations to get ahead. As for the claims that President Obama’s grandmother, a bank vice president, hit a glass ceiling, we’d need to talk to the bank’s personnel department.
The report continues:
“So believe me, Barack Obama knows what it means when a family struggles. This is not a hypothetical for him," [the first lady] said, drawing an implicit comparison with Romney, who was raised in a wealthy family and made a fortune himself in private equity.
Obama implied that Romney, by contrast, is not looking out for those who are not wealthy. She said the president "believes that when you've worked hard and do well and walk through that doorway of opportunity, do you not slam it shut behind you."
This is a hard pitch for the incumbent administration to make when the country is suffering economically. Doorways of opportunity seem to be slamming right and left on America’s women and men. So it takes a certain amount of chutzpah for the Obama campaign to say this at all.
The Romney campaign in Ohio is focusing on jobs and the economy. The Huffpo article reported that a “Mitt for Women” even was not gender-specific but promoted the notion that we need a strong economy.
The pitch from a Romney speaker could not be more different from that of the first lady:
“I am also a mom, and I'm a wife, two responsibilities that I take very seriously. And when I think about my two sons, who are 21 and 18, and them looking into their future and what their opportunities might hold for them, I remember what my grandmother said to me," [Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary] Taylor said. "My grandmother used to say to me, 'Mary, you can achieve anything you want to achieve if you're willing to work hard in the United States of America.' That's the American dream."
This election could determine for a long time to come which view of women will prevail in this country.
There is one other factor the Huffpo takes into consideration: likeability. It is strange that the president, who seems condescending and angry of late, is winning. The article suggests that the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital are having an impact. This despite Avik Roy’s article in National Review saying that journalists looking for dirt about Bain are coming up empty handed.