We are a women’s issues page, so we invest a great deal of time in following attacks on women’s rights and making attempts through one means or another to hold those attackers accountable. We are following this election cycle closely because we are so acutely aware of what is at stake. We look at polling data over breakfast and talk campaign strategy with friends and peers while pretending to send email at work. But, we recognize that not every woman is as aware of these things as we are, not everyone can make the time, and that not every woman sees traditional “womens’ rights” issues as something that affect her directly; that’s why we are speaking right now, directly to the undecided female voter, who says she’s having a hard time deciding between Obama & Romney. It’s up to you who to vote for, but here’s why we think it should NOT be Romney/Ryan.
#1 Mitt Romney Cannot Be Trusted on Reproductive Rights
I know, I know. You’ve seen that TV ad with the nice women who look just like you, visiting Mitt’s website and finding out that it says he’s pro-life, but supports exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Too bad his running mate doesn’t. Paul Ryan sponsored a bill, HR358, that would allow hospitals to decline to perform an abortion even in an emergency situation, to save a woman’s life. (Think that doesn’t happen? Read about tubal pregnancies, here.) And now you say, “that’s his running mate, not him!” However, Mitt himself has a disturbing history from his time as a young Mormon bishop; in one truly sad story, he went down to the hospital to pressure a woman about to have such a life saving procedure to not have it, because the 8-week fetus’s life was apparently more important than hers.
We’ve seen Mitt’s position on this change more times than we can count, not just during this election cycle, but over the years. When he was governor, he was adamantly pro-choice. When he started running for president, he became militantly pro-life. In the last two weeks, we’ve seen him change his mind three times about what exceptions he supports. Bottom line: You can’t trust him.
#2 Mitt Romney Cannot Be Trusted on Equal Pay for Women
If you haven’t made up your mind, there’s a good chance you probably missed the moment earlier this year, when a reporter asked Romney’s campaign if he supported equal pay legislation for women, they responded, “We’ll have to get back to you.” This just isn’t a subjective thing. Both Obama and Romney have real records that you can hold up to the light and spin around and peer at. Obama’s first act as President was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for women to seek redress if they discover they are a victim of gender-based pay discrimination. Literally. You know that whole “On Day 1, I’m going to _______” thing? That was actually what he did on Day 1.
Now, Mitt likes to point to how he got “binders full of women” to balance out the gender gap in his gubernatorial cabinet. Aside from the fact that it was the women’s groups who sought HIM out and not the other way around, this is really just an anecdote about what a nice guy Mitt is, and how he really does like the ladies and think they’re equal. Now in all fairness, Mitt does deserve a little credit for what he did. Really. It was nice. For the women that he hired. What President Obama did was nice… for ALL women. That means you, too. Does it help you in any way that Mitt Romney had women in his cabinet? No. But it’ll be easier to pay off those student loans if you’re getting the same pay as your male colleagues for the same job.
#3 “But the Economy is a Women’s Issue Too!” Yes. And You Can’t Trust Him on That Either.
While Romney/Ryan primarily use this line as a dodge to avoid dealing with their terrible positions on “traditional” women’s issues, the economy IS a women’s issue, as women are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in about half of America’s households. Everyone has suffered under the economy left to us by policies of Obama’s predecessor, He Who Shall Not Be Named. (OK, George W. Bush). So clearly, returning to a lot of the Bush-era policies that got us here, including further de-regulating Wall Street, and abolishing the Consumer Protection Agency is the way to go. This is what Mitt Romney has said on more than one occasion. Sound like a great idea to you?
We know, it’s tempting to latch onto this notion of the businessman who can come in and fix the economy and make the government run efficiently. But government and corporations are two VERY different types of entities. Being good at one doesn’t make you good at the other. In fact, historically, we’ve had very bad luck with the Businessman President. Case in point: do you see a lot of people clamoring for a return of the Hoover or Harding administrations? Can I see a show of hands? (If you’re a bit rusty on your Presidential History, go ahead and Google “Hoovervilles“. We’ll wait.)
The recovery has been slow, but let’s be honest, here. In Arizona, the housing market is moving briskly again. Employment is up in Colorado and Ohio. What we’re doing… it’s working. The last jobs report was promising. The American auto industry, a rescue operation that was somewhat unpopular at the time, is now reviving America’s manufacturing sector. For a bit of historical perspective, the Great Depression lasted the entire decade before WW2. In just four years, we’ve already come a long way from where we were in January of 2009. Remember, instead of just letting investment bankers create yet another bubble that will rain ruin on everyone when it pops, Obama is trying to rebuild from the ground up. That takes time. It would be wise of you to give it to him. Even Mitt “I’m a Turnaround Guy” Romney says it would take him eight to ten years to fix this and get things back to pre-crash levels. And it’s worth remembering that the main reason he was able to “turn around” the Salt Lake Olympics was the unprecedented $400MM-plus in federal funds he procured from Washington.
#4 Hey Girl, I Know It Turns You On When I Piss People Off
Let’s just get this out of the way: Mitt Romney is a foreign policy lightweight. Negotiating deals with foreign companies is foreign policy experience in the same way that being able to see Russia from your house is foreign policy experience. Again, it’s that whole “business and government are NOT the same” thing. We’re going to forego the cheap shots about him thinking Syria is Iran’s route to the sea, and about him managing to piss off our closest ally during a trip to the London Olympics where all he had to do, (to quote conservative pundit and Dr. Zachary Smith lookalike Charles Krauthammer), was “show up, and shut up.” We’re just going to look at the fact that he spent half the foreign policy debate agreeing with President Obama, and the other half bloviating vaguely about “projecting American strength” and Obama’s fictional “apology tours”. On the stump, he’s mainly done a bunch of saber-rattling about Iran and Syria. Who cares about foreign policy and why is it a women’s issue? Well, do you want another decade of war? If you care about the deficit and the effect it can have on an economy, wars generally do run up bit of a tab (mainly paid into the pockets of the defense contractors, who coincidentally staff most of Mr. Romney’s “Military Advisory Council”. We’re just sayin’.) Want your kids shipping off to Syria and Iran? Then by all means, Romney/Ryan is your ticket.
#5 The Affordable Care Act
Maybe the ACA doesn’t affect you directly. Maybe you have insurance through your job or your husband’s and you won’t need to purchase any through exchanges. But really, friends, do you really want a President who is proud that he wants to take healthcare away from 45 million people? Do you really want to make it legal again for insurance companies to discriminate against people (and children!) with pre-existing conditions, or kick very sick people off of their rolls for manufactured reasons? Or maybe you want to make it OK for them to kick your hardworking grad-student son or daughter off of your insurance again? Do you really want to go back to paying far more for your insurance coverage based on the fact that you’re a woman? Do you really want to get rid of the contraception mandate? That’s right: insurers under Obamacare have to cover your pill, with no co-pay, because it just makes good financial sense for them, and it’s good public policy for everyone else. In Ohio alone, there are now 1.5 million uninsured who would lose access to the ACA’s subsidies that will make it possible to purchase an affordable plan through the health insurance exchange that is being created, right now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Do you really want to get rid of all that? Especially if you are one of the people who will be able to get insurance for the first time because of it? Mitt Romney has been pretty clear that he is going to try to repeal the law, which closely resembles his own law in Massachusetts, and replace it with…? Oh, you don’t know? Yeah. We don’t either.
Bottom line, it’s one more thing you can’t trust him on.
We are more than aware that the Obama presidency has had its flaws and its disappointments, as any other president’s first term might. Maybe the drone strikes break your heart. Maybe you’re disappointed that he didn’t close Gitmo. Maybe you wished for more bi-partisanship. It’s not as if he didn’t try, but there was no goodwill on the other side of that aisle, not even for a minute. The only way he could have gotten the opposition party to play nice is if he had laced their water with Ecstacy. Remember, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said their number one priority was … jobs? No. It was making Obama a one-term president. Doing everything they could to see to it that he failed. And look at what he managed to do in spite of that.
There are clear differences between President Obama and Governor Romney, and what you choose matters, here. Who you trust… it matters. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know what Mitt Romney said about the 47%… He can try to walk that back and claim that he cares about 100% of America, but if you’ve not heard those tapes, it’s clear he’s only interested in people like himself. If you’re one of those lucky, rarified few, good for you. Congratulations! You’re set for life! But if you’re not… Female voter, your own interests and those of your family are at stake. Read deeply. Choose wisely. Vote well.