The president's acolytes have been working overtime to convince the American people there's a "war on women." They're right—but it's not being waged by the Republicans.
The real "war on women" is tied to the state of the U.S. economy, which is currently engaged in its most anemic recovery in the post-war period. President Obama's policies of tax, spend, and regulate have prevented business expansion, produced layoffs, and led to nearly 3 million people dropping out of the workforce. Of those, women are the hardest hit.
Since Obama took office the nation has lost a net 740,000 jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, and unemployment had gone from 7.8 percent to as high as 10.1 percent in October 2009 before coming down to it's current rate of 8.2 percent. And that's only counting people still looking for work. Without them, it's closer to 9 or 10 percent according to various estimates.
For women the picture is even bleaker. The bureau reports that the unemployment rate for women has increased from 7 percent to 8.1 percent and the number of female employees in the workforce has declined by 683,000. The female labor force participation rate fell in March from 57.9 percent to 57.7 percent.
The president's failure to get a handle on the economy constitutes the real "war on women," depriving them of opportunities to enter or remain in the workforce. In order to divert attention from these cold, hard facts, Obama and his allies—like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz—have tried to focus attention on the nonsensical idea that the Republicans want somehow to ban women's access to birth control.
It must be something in polling data that is driving them to this. Going back as far as the New Hampshire GOP presidential debate in which ABC's George Stephanopoulos, a former senior Clinton White House aide, asked Governor Romney abut the subject, the Democrats have been trying to maneuver the Republicans into saying something stupid, and therefore politically useful, about stopping access to birth control.
This reduces women to sexual objects, as though it is somehow the only issue of any importance to them. It's nonsense, of course, not that many if any of the prominent so-called independent political analysts would ever bother to say so.
The latest provocation comes from longtime Washington lobbyist and television commentator Hilary Rosen—who has been variously described as an adviser to President Obama and to the Democratic National Committee—who Wednesday attacked former Massachusetts first lady Ann Romney for having "never worked a day in her life."
Romney, who with her husband raised five children, responded to the attack in a dignified fashion, saying on Fox News that her career choice "was to be a mother" and suggesting Rosen "should have come to my house when those five boys were causing so much trouble. It wasn't so easy."
There have been some prominent Democrats, like senior campaign aide David Axelrod, who have tried to wall Rosen's comments back but the barn door is already open. Nevertheless this too is a fight the president's supporters want to have. It's not just about the traditional lack of respect so-called "feminists" exhibit for women who chose to remain in the home as caregivers to their children. They think they can use it to separate Ann Romney from other women who do not have the ability to stay at home and raise their children and instead have to go out and work. The problem with this meme, which was not developed by accident, is that many of those women can't find jobs because, under Obama, the economy is not creating them.
Most women, like most men, are concerned primarily about jobs, the economy, taxes, and the general direction of the country. The narrow, special interest appeals the Democrats are making based on one-sided sexual politics will not, in the long run, hold water. American women are smarter than most of these Democrats apparently give them credit for being.