President Obama should “stop condescending to women,” said Campbell Brown in The New York Times. In his campaign to win over the hearts and minds of female voters, he comes across as pandering and paternalistic, offering “the kind of fake praise showered upon those one views as easy to impress.” Last week he told the young female graduates of Barnard College that they were “smarter than men” and would dominate the workforce. In his latest appearance on the daytime talk show The View, he exchanged cheek kisses with Whoopi, Barbara, Joy, and the girls, and delivered cringe-worthy lines such as, “I love hanging out with women.” All this follows the “war on women” controversies over contraception and abortion that the Obama campaign manufactured. For the struggling women I know, the economy is by far the major issue, while social issues are “maddeningly off point.” We “don’t want to be patted on the head.” We want jobs and economic opportunity.
The war on women isn’t manufactured, said Jamelle Bouie in The American Prospect, nor are contraception and abortion irrelevant to women’s economic standing. Without access to family planning, women can’t pursue an education or develop their careers. But Republicans at all levels of government are “preoccupied with efforts to restrict abortion rights and access to contraception.” Republican-controlled states are eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, and tried to force women seeking abortions to have physically invasive sonograms, said The New York Times in an editorial. Last week, congressional Republicans even tried to weaken the Violence Against Women Act. On the important issues of domestic violence, access to health care, and equal pay, Obama has stood up against the GOP’s “assault on women’s equality and well-being.”
Despite Obama’s strenuous efforts to woo us, said Mercedes V. Schlapp in FoxNews.com, the American woman “is seriously thinking about breaking up with him.” A CBS News/New York Times poll last week found that the gender gap has disappeared, and Mitt Romney now leads among women voters, 46 to 44 percent. That’s because the majority of women buy the groceries, fill up the car, and pay for health care, said Merrill Matthews in Forbes.com. They know that costs are up, incomes are stagnant, and family budgets tight. Given all that, Obama’s promise of “free contraception” doesn’t carry a lot of weight.