Monday, October 22, 2012

The feminists’ road to self-marginalization

Reprinted by license.

Back in February, I wrote a post arguing that the “war on women” angle had more potential to damage Barack Obama’s re-election bid than it did to hurt the eventual Republican candidate.  What I didn’t explicitly say — what I should have said in just so many words — is that pushing the “war on women” meme would put radical feminists on the road to self-marginalization.

Why?  Because, inevitably, anyone who tries to argue the “war on women” seriously can’t help but present him/herself as a tinfoil-hat-wearing loon, a wild-eyed nutjob completely out of contact with reality.  Moreover, the people who would come to that conclusion would be not just men but women in the center.

For instance, at the DNC, Sandra Fluke, a liar almost as accomplished and egregious as Bill Clinton, found it well within her fertile — er, creative imagination to conjure up a dystopian female future worthy of a Richard Donner film should women be denied free contraception.  But where are the battalions of men waiting to shove shoeless women back into the kitchen?  Too many of them need their wives’ income too much to do that.  (Or perhaps I should say “their roommates’” or “their girlfriends’”; so far as there is a dystopian future for women — particularly black and Latino women — it’s coming as one result of the destruction of the traditional nuclear family.)  The idea that “the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills” is what led Peggy Noonan to characterize Fluke in the WSJ as “a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.” 

The Code Pink vulvas dancing outside in protest didn’t help, either.

Then we have Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women”.  Now, you really have to work hard to misconstrue what Romney meant by that phrase, and by gar, so many feminists and liberal pundits have stepped up to the challenge.  Jason Stanford sneered, “Instead of taking a position on whether women should be paid as much as men — and really, is that so difficult?—Romney accidentally revealed two things: 1) He had no women in his inner circle, and 2) the men in his inner circle imagined a world in which no women in Massachusetts were qualified to serve in his cabinet. Since when did politics in Massachusetts become a sexist backwater? Even George W. Bush had Karen Hughes in his inner circle as Texas Governor a decade earlier.”

But the fact is that the “equal pay” issue is about two decades too late; Romney just couldn't say so.

Women are already receiving equal pay for equal positions and equal work; the general disparity between women’s pay and men’s pay is mostly a function of the difference between the number of fathers and mothers who are single parents, and causes for their single parenthood.  In fact, with more women graduating college than men, women are becoming more and more the major breadwinners in the family and are poised to overtake men in overall pay within the next ten or so years.  By harping on “equal pay for equal work”, feminists and their allies show not that they’re in touch with women’s concerns but that the movement is trapped in amber — the world has moved on but they have not.

In fact, the DNC has shown itself so out of touch with women that, as Suzanne Fields points out in, the long-running “woman gap” between Obama and Romney has been practically erased in the key swing states.  “‘In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney,’ Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told USA Today after the first debate.  These polls find women increasingly concerned with the deficit and debt, just like men.  The social issues continue to be more important to women than to men, but these issues no longer dominate the discussion.”

When you want to hire an employee but the uncertainties about tax planning and the market and your obligations under Obamacare mean you can’t, soft appeals to minor extraneous issues fall on deaf ears.  When you cannot afford to fill the tank of your car to get to work, pay for your health insurance, or feed your family, while Obama is tossing away more billions on green energy fantasies, ethanol subsidies, or Fluke’s birth-control pills, just turn up the heat on your ire.  When your savings evaporate, your property is worth less and bonds in Delphi are made worthless to benefit UAW members, your tax bill rises to pay for illegal aliens’ social costs, diversity training for doctors, lunchroom monitors checking to see if you packed a healthy enough lunch for your kids, or TSA bullies to pat down the underwear of enfeebled oldsters and crying kids at airports, Obama’s offers to provide more government regulation are unpersuasive.
Then there’s the insult of an appeal that assumes that over half the population is so focused on their reproductive parts that nothing else matters much to them.  I mean that does seem terribly regressive when you consider it.  And it is an equally poor judgment that assumes free contraceptives and no limits on abortion are the choice all women want to make.

In my life, only one campaign fell apart faster at the end than has Pres. Obama’s: Jimmy Carter’s re-election bid back in 1980, when Ronald Reagan came from behind to win by a landslide.  Obama has one more debate with which to turn shaky centrists back to him, and to woo back the women who have left him for Mitt.

If he continues to push abortion and contraception as his flowers and chocolates, Obama will doom himself to leaving office next January.  Only the tinfoil-hat brigade still see them as winning answers.  As long as feminists and their allies respond to the problems of 2012 with the answers of 1968, they will march angrily down the road to political irrelevance.

And good riddance, the lot of you.