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Julia’s America

From The Scrapbook

May 14, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 33 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Gullible voters are supposed to get all wound up about the GOP “war on women,” but it seems to us that the Democratic stance that women are helpless creatures who must be coddled by an all-consuming government is far more pernicious. If you think that’s an unfair characterization of Democrats, we kindly direct you to the Obama campaign website, where you can take a gander at an interactive slide show, “The Life of Julia.” 

Image of Julia

Ostensibly, it’s an examination of “How President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime—and how Mitt Romney would change her story.” For those of you who haven’t seen it, imagine Obama’s social policies explained in paper doll form for idiots. It’s almost literally a cradle-to-grave vision of how a woman’s life would be totally unmanageable without the aid of government. Starting with, well, Head Start, on through high school, college, work, childbirth, and retirement, Julia is sheltered from life’s slings and arrows by the intervention of allegedly omnicompetent and benevolent federal bureaucrats. 

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is portrayed as Snidely Whiplash, tying Julia to the railroad tracks. Did you know that Mitt Romney would repeal “health care reform so insurance companies could go back to charging women 50 percent more than men”? Neither did we.

As a matter of politics, this strikes The Scrapbook as both tone deaf to real problems and condescending to women. Not to mention being a caricature of liberalism: “After years of contributing to Social Security, [Julia] receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she’ll run out of savings. This allows her to volunteer at a community garden.”

Seriously? We’re supposed to delight in younger workers’ toiling and sweating to bankroll an actuarial blackhole so Julia can volunteer in a community garden? The reality is that without Social Security reform, which Obama has steadfastly avoided, Julia will see Social Security benefits that help her “retire comfortably” about the time hell becomes a skating rink for disadvantaged youth.

Then there’s the total obliviousness as to what this says about the Obama campaign’s conception of their hero and the federal government he presides over. Reason magazine’s Peter Suderman aptly compared the Obama ad to that treacly “Footprints” poem:

One night Julia dreamed she was walking along the beach with the POTUS.

Many scenes from her life flashed across the sky.

In each scene, she noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.

Other times she only saw one set of footprints.

This bothered Julia because she noticed that during the low points of her life,

when she was suffering

from underemployment, student loan debt, and excessively high insurance copays,

she could only see one set of footprints.


You know the rest—Obama was chivalrous enough to carry Julia through the tough times. But we think a sensible voter is aware that, unlike the original subject of that poem, Obama is not omnipotent, nor does he possess unlimited beneficence. As such, we’re inclined to think women might be aware of the risks that dependency on these policies pose for their welfare and that of their children. (In case you were wondering, no husband or any other sort of partner besides the federal government makes an appearance in the life of Julia.)

The Obama campaign, on the other hand, seems to think that women are easily snowed by brightly colored PowerPoint
presentations. If the Obama team wants to continue to patronize women like this, we’ll see how well that works out for them in November.

Al Qaeda ♥ Olbermann

The Scrapbook, in a channel-surfing mood, stumbled upon one of those Washington chat shows, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the other day. There was George, the ex-Clinton confidant, with his flawlessly tousled hair; and there was the other George, Will, wearing his wire-rimmed spectacles; and there was Keith Olbermann. Which, The Scrapbook confesses, shook us out of our morning torpor. 

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