As many may know, President Obama spoke at Barnard University this Monday. President Obama had specifically requested to address this all-women’s college during their commencement exercises, replacing the New York Times Executive Director Jill Abramson, who had planned to speak months in advance. As the contraception debate appears to be winding down, this is an obvious attempt to perpetuate the straw man argument that Romney and all who support him hate women and think they should be treated as second class citizens.
“Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table,” declared President Obama. “What young generations have done before should give you hope, young folks who marched and mobilized and stood up and sat in… That’s how we achieve women’s rights.” This demonstration is an obvious attempt by the President to place his administration in a Trojan horse and calling it “women’s rights”. It is obvious that the women vote is crucial for his victory. As a matter of fact, if no woman ever voted in a Presidential Election, no democrat would have ever won the Presidency. President Obama currently leads Romney in popularity among women 50% to 42%.
This essential strategy of the Obama Administration would not have been possible without the contentious contraception mandate, which would have required every insurance provider to cover the cost of birth control. This mandate would have severely infringed upon the rights of the Catholic Church, had there not been a change in the mandate, which gave waivers to religious organizations. Several Catholic Institutions, including Franciscan University of Steubenville have pulled their health insurance coverage for students on the grounds of morality. While Governor Romney and other Republicans defend the Catholic Church and their Civil liberties, politicians including President Obama and Nancy Pelosi claim that the Republicans are waging a “war on women”. President Obama continued to frame the Republicans through his speech at Barnard University, stretching the Republican’s opposition on contraception to a full-fledged attack on “women’s rights”
Not only is President Obama falsely appealing to women, but he is also taking the public’s attention away from the economy, the weakest facet of the Obama Administration’s policy agenda. As the unemployment rate remains around 10%, it is possible that Americans will recognize the failed policies of the Obama Administration and elect a new administration. The economy has inarguably worsened since Obama took office, and it is clear that a new approach is necessary to actually save the American economy.
By no means am I saying that women don’t have specific issues that need to be addressed. The gap between women and men’s salaries in identical positions is well known, and issues such as this should be more aggressively addressed by lawmakers. We won’t see these and other legitimate women’s issues as the focus in the current election because they lack a level of contention to allow the framing of the opposing party as sexist. The President will continue to find groups of people and convince the public that they are being attacked by the Republican Party (take students and the current loan rates, for example). It is obvious that Romney’s biggest challenge this election season will be focusing the political rhetoric on the exigent issue- the economy. The American people deserve the opportunity to decide who they think will be the best person to fix the economy. As long as the media and the Obama campaign choose to focus on these secondary issues, democracy will not be achieved in its ideal form.