A sea of signs proclaiming “We Built It” revealed the battle cry of last week’s Republican National Convention. We don’t need to wait for Los Angeles mayor and convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa to bring his gavel down in Charlotte on Tuesday to know the Democratic theme. It’s been clear for months: Republicans are waging a “war on women” and only Democrats can end it.
Three days after Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin elaborated on his bizarre belief that women’s bodies block conception from “legitimate rape,” Democrats sent out a press release listing 10 additional convention speakers—all of them women, a number of them focusing solely on contraception and abortion. The list included NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards, and “Georgetown University Student” Sandra Fluke. Added to names already announced, pundits guess it will mark a record number of women speaking at a national convention.
Democrats have taken one Republican’s (unanimously repudiated) remark and run with it. They quickly organized robocalls to tie other Republicans, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, to Akin. The day after Akin’s interview, the Associated Press quoted NARAL’s Keenan: “Make no mistake about it: Ryan is 100 percent behind the war on women agenda.” Media allies helped spread the message. On the eve of the Tampa convention, Jay Leno took a break from being funny and talked about the Republicans’ “war on women” and their lack of “compassion.” Fluke, the law student who became famous complaining she couldn’t afford her birth control co-payments, hinted at the theme of her speech in an email to supporters, writing, “There is a clear choice for women in this election.”
In other words, if you’re a woman, you must vote Democrat. Just as liberals have long portrayed conservative blacks as Uncle Toms, they now push the ludicrous notion that female Republicans are traitors to their sex.
Writing in the Nation, Katha Pollitt asked in print what many liberals have wondered in conversation: Why do so many females plan to vote Republican? “What’s the matter with them? Do they have Stockholm syndrome?” She warned: “The Republican Party is not your friend! It does not respect you or even like you.”
Democrats claim Republicans see women only as vessels of reproduction. But which party acts as though half the population votes based on its reproductive organs?
Liberals used to attempt to shut down serious debate with the question, “But what about the children?” Now their rejoinder to the case that Democratic rule has laid waste to the economy is, “But what about the women?”
It’s really not that much of a shift, since the new rhetoric amounts to treating women like children. “We are not going back to the days when women could not have full access to birth control,” Senator Bernie Sanders intones. In other words, if the government doesn’t mandate free contraception, women will be at a loss to figure out how to obtain it.
Women aren’t stupid. They can see through cynical and desperate ploys to secure their votes. One of the convention speakers announced during the Akin controversy was Eva Longoria. Her qualification seems to be her work as a Hollywood bundler for the Obama campaign. Perhaps Democrats think women will heed Longoria because she is the star of a female-oriented television series, Desperate Housewives. This summer, the Obama campaign produced fundraising videos featuring Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. They had nothing of substance to say; they simply represented products whose fans are mostly women.
The numbers show that females aren’t fooled by the phony “war on women.” In 2008, 57 percent of women voted for Barack Obama; 43 percent voted for McCain. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows a substantial shift: Fewer than half of female registered voters now support Obama—he’s at 49 against Romney’s 43 percent. Polls of registered voters, rather than likely voters, tend to skew Democratic.
In his acceptance speech, Romney urged, “Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, ‘I’m an American. I make my destiny.’ ” Women can say the same. Wasn’t it Democrats who used to argue that biology isn’t destiny?