Earlier this week I discussed how the Democrats’ accusation that the Republican Party was waging a “War on Women” was a disingenuous attempt to shore up support among a critical constituency that had abandoned them in droves in the 2010 election. As noted, the GOP erased a 10 point gender gap, no small feat considering the history of that gap.
Yesterday Hilary Rosen spoke on Anderson Cooper on this exact topic. The headlines about her comments all focus on her personal arrogance and denigration of Ann Romney, which I will get to in short order, but I wanted first to discuss what else she said. It was rather interesting. From the transcript:
HILARY ROSEN: Well, first, can we just get rid of this word, “war on women”? The Obama campaign does not use it, President Obama does not use it—this is something that the Republicans are accusing people of using, but they’re actually the ones spreading it.
My mouth dropped when I saw the video (which you can view here). We have been hearing from Democrats and their political operatives for over two months about the “GOP’s War on Women.” It’s been seeded into the narrative with carefully calculated uproars over Komen v Planned Parenthood, the contraception contrivance, and scary transvaginal ultrasound laws. MoveOn has a sub-domain dedicated to it, and EMILY’S List went all-in on a whole website. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Because now Team Obama is disowning it? What? Did the they take a look at those polls and find they weren’t nearly as clear cut–or enough–as they’d hoped? Something changed, because this is a major shift. And it’s cute how she tries to blame the GOP there at the end. Typical Bush-style projection politics.
Now, back to Ann Romney, because she’s the latest target in what I’m calling the real war on women. Let me be very specific here: Obama’s history is riddled with the political bones of women who got in the way. He always looks for the weakest link, and it’s usually a woman or, more rarely, another minority. He targets them and destroys them through well-timed leaks of sensitive information, or by stoking the inherent sexism of a male-dominated press, or the ginned-up ire of partisan women, and then he leaves their political carcass in his wake. If you want the truth, or specific names, you’ll have to go back through the archives because this has been well-documented by various bloggers and a few journalists, and I’m not about to rehash the whole thing, especially when I’ve got two prime examples of which most people are aware just sitting on the shelf: Hillary Clinton & Sarah Palin.
Palinization–the targeting of a conservative female politician and attacking her in every sexist way imaginable, always through a complicit proxy-press and a fearsome social media/blogging noise machine–is a tactic that was developed, perfected, and deployed from Democratic headquarters. If you were wondering when this was going to start up again now that the 2012 campaign has arrived at our doorstep, you’re late to the party. It already started. Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney are just the latest example of an orchestrated attack on Ann Romney’s character and femininity. Speaking of which, here are those comments:
What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, “Well, my wife tells me what women really care about are economic issues.” And, “When I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.” Guess what? His wife has never actually worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing—in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and how do—why we worry about their future.
As I said elsewhere in the blogosphere, that’s going to go over like moldy bread to French peasants. Notice how she said “we,” like a 6 (or more)-digit earning partner as a political communications firm (and board member of CAPAF) can in any way identify with my struggles raising my child out here with little opportunity in a world that doesn’t value my contributions because I’m female and working class. But I digress. Back to my point, this is just the latest in a string of recent attacks designed to tarnish Ann Romney before she ever gets a chance to charm the American public. There was the case of some fund she held in a blind-trust (meaning she didn’t know what was in the fund) that may have included a company that once owned a sex website. The website was Backpage.com. Then there was this subtle trashing by “health writer” Jeffrey Young, wrapped up as it is in a soft narrative about a poor sick woman who can’t afford health care, but damn it, that filthy rich bitch Ann Romney doesn’t have to worry about it. How absolutely heartless. Remember when they played the wealthy white bitch card on Sarah Palin?
That’s three attacks on Ann Romney in about a week. And they’ve got Obama’s fingerprints all over them. These are non-stories that seek to paint her as an out-of-touch, 1950s-style, money-grubbing lazy bitch, all traditional anti-feminist tropes. All used before, coincidentally, to drive rifts between subgroups of women. These tricks have been around and employed against women every time they have gotten too uppity and started thinking for themselves. You know what effect they have? They keep us down, and keep us disempowered. Yes, the real war on women has begun, and the target is GOP women, and by extension any woman who wants off the reservation of Democratic politics. But of course, Ann Romney is not the only target. Have you been paying attention to what’s been going on with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley recently?
Two weeks ago, some low-level Democratic operative from the 9th circle of blogging hell published a story that she was about to be indicted for tax fraud. Anyone who read the details of the case could see how preposterous it was, with allegations involving 2003 that were being investigated in a current IRS investigation of records going back to 2009. The math simply did not add up. Nevertheless, the male-dominated compliant press pimped the story and, as expected, it grew legs. The story was backtracked within days after Haley secured a letter from the IRS saying she was no under investigation for anything, an extraordinary end to a nefarious tale of media manipulation.
Governor Haley has also been in the news lately as a potential pick for Vice President for the Romney campaign, and true to form, the media has been discussing it in terms of why she wouldn’t work and why she can’t (because she recently lost her Lt. Governor, with whom she did not run and is not close with being the funniest in the sort of this-is-funnier-than-chewing-glass kind of way). Haley herself has said she would not accept if offered, and at any rate, I don’t think any half-term governors will be in the offing this year anyway. But that hasn’t stopped her being targeted and I expect that to continue, especially if she keeps putting herself out there and bravely suggesting that women may care more about the economy than they do about contraception. Even Hilary Rosen is suggesting it’s true at this point. Here’s a final quotable quote from her interview:
With respect to economic issues, I think actually that Mitt Romney’s right, that ultimately, women care more about the economic well-being of their families and the like.
I’ll take it. The narrative is shifting again. This is the real war on women–the war that keeps us divided and tied to our biology, and does it deliberately as a political tool for cynical advantage. I’m keeping a watchful eye on the whole thing.
UPDATED! H/T WMCB. Unbelievable! Less than six hours, and in the middle of the night as this was being scheduled, Rosen doubles down on her attack in a post to the HuffPo.