Political Animal


April 11, 2012 3:59 PM Going With What They’ve Got

By Ed Kilgore

The whole “Obama’s War on Women” meme that the entire hep conservative world is now grinding away at like cicadas is pretty threadbare. The statistical illusion deployed in claiming that “92.3% of job losses under Obama were lost by women” is extremely easy to expose, as is the underlying reality that unemployment for women is about the same as it was when Obama took office. There’s also the peril in focusing on recent job losses by women that are heavily concentrated in the teaching profession, given the responsibiity of state-level Republicans for a vast number of teacher layoffs, and the congressional GOP’s responsibility for blocking Obama efforts to counteract them with federal funds.

On top of everything else, this hammerheaded effort to hold Obama responsible for every bad thing that’s occurred from the moment he took office cuts against the Romney campaign’s recent efforts to come up with a more nuanced and credible take on a slowly recovering economy.

But I can understand how they’ve wound up deploying this tactic. Polls are indeed showing a major expansion of the gender gap. Conservative efforts to pretend the nationwide GOP drive against reproductive rights, women’s health care options, and equal pay laws isn’t really happening have largely failed. Meanwhile, the most recent monthly jobs report, while disappointing to Democrats, isn’t an easy target, either (“Obama not creating new jobs as fast as economists predicted the day before” won’t fit on anybody’s bumper sticker). If nothing else, the “Obama’s war on women” jive is some chum they can throw into the political waters until Republicans figure out what they really want to say and do. Maybe enough right-wing and MSM news outlets will repeat the distorted numbers that they will stick somewhere in the swing-voter subconscience. But above all, Romney and Republicans are going with what they’ve got, and that ain’t much at the moment.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • T2 on April 11, 2012 4:04 PM:

    this is just Karl Rove politics, we'll see an avalanche of this type of misdirection politics for the next six months.

  • ET on April 11, 2012 4:12 PM:

    Why did they bother - it won't deflect attention away from them and it just looks dumb-a** and OBVIOUS. Really Republicans to feel most voters (particularly Republican ones in the middle they are trying to court or at least hold onto) are more stupid than they likely are.

  • Ron Byers on April 11, 2012 4:21 PM:

    Republicans keep repeating "no one ever lost betting against the intelligence of the American public" over and over. The problem with that line is that it operates only when the American public isn't paying much attention. As various state governors have discovered to their horror the vaginal probe bills have gained the attention of women across the nation.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on April 11, 2012 4:23 PM:

    Well this is news to me. I didn't know that the GOP gave a rat's about what women suffered under any president, Rupublican or Democratic...

  • Doug on April 11, 2012 7:18 PM:

    Sgt. Gym Bunny, the GOP DOESN'T care about what women suffer(ed), but they DO care about "appearances"...

  • war on women is waged by republicans on April 11, 2012 8:08 PM:

    Exactly. I retired early from state employment when a right wing Repub. governor came into power. Indeed-- jobs for women had subsequently plummeted, many statewide positions were not filled. Local communities and especially school districts where women typically worked were hit hard, and in some cases they were not even paying teachers. Parents in larger cities have to worry about local schools closing or consolidating. As a result of Republicans, women have lost jobs, programs and services and funding for education. Nurses at local hospitals are worrying about job security as hours of work are cut.
    Putting corporations, especially gas and oil industries before citizens, the governor's cruel budget cut health and safety programs that help women, children, seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities by many, many millions of dollars.
    I say the war on women is a war waged by Republicans.

  • war on women is waged by republicans on April 11, 2012 8:40 PM:

    Here are some recent comments from Republican women confirming the Republican war on women:
    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison offered this:
    "We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low income women to have health care services. We cannot. We keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget, which is already being cut in key areas like education. I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so we can have our share — our fair share not more — of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health care services. [...] I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the health care — the preventive health care and they’re doing that, we need to provide those services, absolutely."

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski as well said:
    "I think [these incidents] are just adding to this sense that women’s health rights are being attacked — that in 2012 we’re having a conversation about whether or not contraception should be allowed." And at the Chamber of Commerce meeting noted
    “It makes no sense to make this attack on women. If you don’t feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters.”

    And retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe observed:
    "You know, it really is surprising, because I feel like it's a retro-debate that took place in the 1950s," Snowe said. "It's sort of back to the future, isn't it? And it is surprising in the 21st century we would be revisiting this issue. And Sandra Fluke should have been commended, not condemned, for her courage in expressing her own views and beliefs before members of Congress."

  • Texas Aggie on April 11, 2012 9:48 PM:

    You know, there's nothing stopping the republicans from abandoning their attack on women and going back to their policies from several decades ago. If they really don't want to lose the female vote so badly, all they have to do is change a lot of their policies that are bad for women and don't appeal to anyone except old, white men. There aren't that many OWM and the ones there are will vote republican anyway.