The Romney campaign has recently gone on the offensive, claiming that he is the true defender of women’s interests. He says that since January 2008 (Obama’s inauguration), women have endured 92.3% of lost jobs. On another front, his wife Ann Romney defended herself vigorously when it was claimed that she had never worked, saying that being a stay-at-home mom was a job in itself. Is there, then, a Democratic war on women as Romney has charged?
Let’s start with that 92.3% figure. First of all, let’s hope Romney knows he’s being… creative… because the alternative is that a potential Leader of the Free World is a complete idiot. Unless Obama has a time machine and was secretly running the country before his inauguration, he of course had nothing to do with most of the job losses throughout most of January: he wasn’t inaugurated until the 20th. In addition, he had little control over the economy during his first few months (policy changes don’t happen in a day) so it is ridiculous to blame him for that time.
Then there are cyclical factors. In a recession, typically the male-dominated fields such as construction suffer the most early on but then bounce back quickly. By the time Obama was in office, the layoffs of men had mostly already occurred. For this reason, PolitiFact rated Romney’s 92.3% claim “mostly false”.
But here’s the kicker: a major driver of lost jobs for women has been layoffs of state government employees, especially teachers. So has Obama left women out in the cold by not helping teachers retain their jobs? Not exactly. He tried twice to pass bills that would do exactly that, only to be blocked by congressional Republicans.
So to recap, this the story of Obama’s economic war on women: he went back in time to run the country before his inauguration so that he could make women lose their jobs. Then, he pretended to support initiatives that would save jobs for women while actually mind-controlling GOP congresspeople to block his “efforts.” That way, the GOP would be blamed for women’s economic struggles. Fortunately, an enlightened few saw through his plan and exposed this vast conspiracy.
Now let’s consider Ann and Mitt Romney’s passionate defense of stay-at-home moms. Let’s take their claims at face value, and accept that the job is truly a difficult and work-intensive task. Well, then, what about single moms below the poverty line (a horrifyingly large number) rather than mothers whose husbands are multi-millionaires? They are already working the full-time job of raising their children, so naturally Romney would be in favor of financial support of these families. After all, a mom can hardly be expected to have a full-time job in addition to raising children.
Except that Romney has endorsed the Paul Ryan budget plan involving steep cuts in social welfare spending. This means that poor single moms who are, according to Romney, doing an incredibly difficult and important job do not, according to Romney, deserve financial support while doing so.
In conclusion, we have Republican obstructionism preventing Obama from helping teachers keep their jobs, and Republican budget plans proposing to drastically cut support for working-class single moms. In this case, then, it seems that the simple narrative is also the true one: the party that wants to prevent women from controlling their bodies is also the one waging an economic war on women.