The latest straw man to be set aflame by Democrats in the presidential election is Mitt Romney’s supposed lack of energy for womens’ issues. If anyone shows a lack of energy, showing up for only one of two debates, and frankly only about half the time generally, it’s President Obama. For Barack Obama to ask women rely on him to defend their interests in this election is laughable. So let’s clear the air right now: Mitt Romney stands strongly for equal pay for equal work and workplace opportunity.
Let’s hear first from the woman who knows him best, Ann Romney:
President Obama’s Grand Accomplishment Not That Impressive
In the debate the president’s great claim to advancing women’s’ issues was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which extends the time women can sue for discrimination well after they’ve left their job. While it has a marginal benefit to those women who find out much later they were discriminated against, it has some unintended side effects, such as increasing risk and insurance costs to businesses since they will be subject to suit, well-founded or frivolous, for a much longer period. It also reduces good businesses’ ability to fight frivolous lawsuits, since the relevant witnesses may also be long gone by the time an aggressive trial attorney decides to file suit. It can also result in punishing shareholders of companies who had nothing to do with past discrimination. It was, prior to the Lilly Ledbetter Act, and will remain, whether Mitt Romney or President Obama is elected, against the law to discriminate in pay and workplace advancement. The law President Obama claims as his grand achievement just made it easier to sue, in some ways benefiting the cause of trial lawyers as much as women. Let’s also note this act was signed by President Obama in 2009 and he’s done nothing else of note in the four years since.
Mitt’s Record vs. Democratic Rhetoric
Meanwhile Mitt Romney has a demonstrable record of fighting for women’s rights. When asked in the second debate about his stance on equal pay for equal work, Mitt pointed out he worked to make sure women were equally represented on his cabinet in Massachusetts. He was ranked number one in terms of having women represented in positions of authority. Still the Democrats seized, not upon the substance of his comment or performance, but on his chosen wording, and are trying their best to manufacture an issue out of it. He said he’d had his staff look for qualified women when the applicants came in predominantly male, and they came back, he said, with “binders full of women” qualified for the job. It’s easy enough to understand Mitt was referring to binders full of qualified women’s names and resumes, but that’s just not good enough for Democrats, who clearly aren’t looking out for women’s rights as much as to promote a stereotype of Mitt Romney unencumbered by facts. Kind of like the undeserved stereotypes women have been fighting for years. So I ask, who here is part of the problem versus part of the solution?
I admit my female radar is sometimes deficient, as my cells carry around just one X chromosome. So I realize there are some women’s issues I will not understand as well. I agreed when Ann Romney said in her convention speech that some things are harder on women in ways men do not understand, in particular Obama’s flailing economy that has disproportionately affected women. But I think that trying to turn Mitt’s words into an issue when his actions speak much, much more loudly, insults everyone’s intelligence, and this insult is aimed principally at women. Again my radar may be deficient, but even mine is on alert when hearing this Dem attack. I use as my backup my wife’s comment to me this morning that she couldn’t even stand to watch the news reports of people trying to attack Mitt in this way. Her radar was going off, but not for the reasons the Democrats thought. It’s because they’re trying to make something out of nothing.
But if you still find me hopelessly handicapped by my maleness, let’s also let Mitt’s former lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, respond:
If Democrats think this “issue” has legs, let them run with it. Kind of like Libya. The real story is the president’s failure, not Mitt Romney’s words. As Ms. Healey says, this is a distraction from the real issues. Mitt not only has a pro-women record enviable of any candidate, but he’s uniquely qualified to promote the real interest of women: having a chance to get an equally-paying job if they’d like, with equal opportunity. Meanwhile if there are no jobs, there’s no one to sue under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Are women really net better off under Obama? The clear answer is no.
The Economy’s Impact on Women
Obama has had four years to make this economy work, and has failed. He claims success in creating jobs, but job growth has actually slowed the last few years under his watch, resulting in much lower employment for everyone than four years ago, but especially among women. And he can’t blame President Bush for declining job growth on his watch. Putting Obama back in charge will only mean more dissatisfaction on all fronts for four more years, including on women’s rights, the economy, immigration reform, the deficit or any of the other things he promised to address in his first term but simply didn’t. For married women and mothers, Ann has said the question on their lips is whether their children, young women and young men, will have jobs upon graduation from high school or college. After four years of President Obama, it’s clear it’s Mitt Romney who gives them their best chance. I wasn’t surprised in the debate to hear President Obama say he doesn’t understand Mitt’s tax plan, which relies on new jobs to reduce the deficit. Based on his past performance, it’s clear President Obama just doesn’t understand how jobs are created and is assuming none will be. To Obama it’s “simple arithmetic.” To Mitt, it’s more than that. Obama’s doing addition and subtraction while Mitt’s using higher math.
Obama: A Man Who Shows Up Half the Time
Clint Eastwood’s empty chair and Obama’s first debate no-show are truly emblematic of Obama’s presidency. He shows up only about half the time, and the rest of the time his leadership is absent while he appears on late night television or The View. What we’ve seen over four years is that he blames others, is aloof, disinterested and frankly unproductive. In any other job, he’d be fired. My wife is a strong, independent woman, and I know that if I was a no-show in my responsibilities as often as President Obama has been, she’d “fire” me.
Obamacare’s Impact on Women
If Obama is re-elected, Obamacare will be fully-implemented, and not only will the economy suffer greatly with the related taxes, but access to healthcare will decrease for men, women and their families as it will be harder and harder to actually see doctors (think about it: if it’s free, the number of people seeing doctors will skyrocket while the number of doctors is actually expected to decrease). So what’s really the bigger women’s health issue? General loss of access to all healthcare or insisting users of contraception or abortion pay for these services themselves? The answer is obvious and Mitt’s on the right side.
On abortion, women are not a monolithic group. Despite Democrats’ insistence otherwise, no one can truthfully say that failure to be “pro-choice” is a “war on women.” Mitt is firmly pro-life. When Mitt is eventually confronted with an issue as president, he has said he will come down on the side of life. And he has said he will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will attempt to interpret the constitution in the way it was originally intended. Mitt has also made clear, however, it is not his agenda to go out of his way to change current laws. Mitt’s top priority is jobs, and unlike President Obama, it does not appear he’s planning on burning his political capital on one very divisive issue. Instead he plans on uniting the country in a bi-partisan way to pull us out of this funk and into a real recovery. While Mitt does favor reducing funding to Planned Parenthood, this is a result of Mitt’s test of “is it worth borrowing money from China to afford this.” With the wealth Planned Parenthood has from other sources, it’s spending that can safely be cut. And while it’s technically illegal to use taxpayer funding to pay for abortions, simply giving Planned Parenthood taxpayer funding at all can be viewed as indirectly funding abortions, as the taxpayer contributions free up money that does not need to be spent on other services. Even those that are pro-choice generally recognize that forcing someone else to pay for an abortion when it is against their conscience is not the right answer. If you’re pro-choice and this paragraph doesn’t convince you Mitt is your man on this issue, so be it, but you can still rest assured it can hardly be said Mitt is part of a war on women. On the contrary; he’s fighting for women in a way Obama simply has not.
While my feminine radar is admittedly deficient, I do believe it’s time to focus not on the choice of a candidate’s words but on his record. Let’s turn this country over to someone who will show up every time, as he did in both debates, as governor of Massachusetts, as he did at the Olympics and as he has so successfully in his personal, family and business life. Mitt will seek to improve the country for everyone, women and men.