Women are shaping up the 2012 Presidential Election. Both Democrats and Republicans are paying close attention to the female vote. They are crucial. But women are being used to score political points by the left and right.
Democratic Strategist Hillary Rosen is a prime example. She caught the media’s attention when she said, “[Romney’s] wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” This is one of the many attempts used by the left to paint the Romneys as being out of touch. They picked on Romney’s wife to damage Romney’s persona.
Democrats also capitalized on the contraception debate. At the end of Sandra Fluke’s congressional meeting with Democrats on reproductive rights, Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent emails to supporters asking for campaign contributions. Pelosi wrote, “The Republican War on Women must come to an end,’ Pelosi wrote, ‘help us raise $1 million by Wednesday’s deadline to send an overwhelming message that we will not stand for the Republicans’ anti-woman agenda,” (http://goo.gl/Q6ERj).
However, the right fired back on both of these issues. Ann Romney defended her job as a mom. She wrote, “Believe me, it was hard work,” (http://goo.gl/Ik7Ee). I couldn’t agree more. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be a mother of five boys. I know my mom went through tough times to raise my three brothers and I. That’s beside the point.
Both sides are using women to form political dialogue. These heated issues elevated women into our current political discussion. All of a sudden women became the buzzword of the week. The campaigns even shifted their focus.
Mitt Romney attacked Obama on women. He believes that the Obama Administration was terrible for women. In a recent campaign stop, Romney said, “Do you know how many women -what percent of the job losses were women? 92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama years have been women who’ve lost those jobs. The real war on women has been the job losses as a result of the Obama economy,” (http://goo.gl/Udw44).
Romney is factually correct. Under Obama’s term in office, 740,000 jobs were lost from January 2009 and March 2012. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 92.3 percent of those 740,000 were women (http://goo.gl/HoY29). Romney is using women to benefit his own campaign just like Democrats used women to attack Republicans on contraception.
And so the “War on Women” has begun. Who is right though? Are women concerned about their contraceptive rights? Are they concerned about jobs? What do they care about? Women don’t care about contraception as much as men do. According to recent polls, women were split even about Obama’s contraceptive mandate to faith-based institutions. They also ranked contraception issues below healthcare, unemployment, foreign affairs and gas prices (http://goo.gl/9AKNO).
Republicans are winning this debate by focusing on jobs. Democrats need to make the case that Obama was good for the economy and stay away from issues like contraception. They need to focus on what women care about if they really want to win the election.