Going With What They’ve Got

The whole “Obama’s War on Women” meme that the entire hep conservative world is now grinding away at like cicadas is pretty threadbare. The statistical illusion deployed in claiming that “92.3% of job losses under Obama were lost by women” is extremely easy to expose, as is the underlying reality that unemployment for women is about the same as it was when Obama took office. There’s also the peril in focusing on recent job losses by women that are heavily concentrated in the teaching profession, given the responsibiity of state-level Republicans for a vast number of teacher layoffs, and the congressional GOP’s responsibility for blocking Obama efforts to counteract them with federal funds.

On top of everything else, this hammerheaded effort to hold Obama responsible for every bad thing that’s occurred from the moment he took office cuts against the Romney campaign’s recent efforts to come up with a more nuanced and credible take on a slowly recovering economy.

But I can understand how they’ve wound up deploying this tactic. Polls are indeed showing a major expansion of the gender gap. Conservative efforts to pretend the nationwide GOP drive against reproductive rights, women’s health care options, and equal pay laws isn’t really happening have largely failed. Meanwhile, the most recent monthly jobs report, while disappointing to Democrats, isn’t an easy target, either (“Obama not creating new jobs as fast as economists predicted the day before” won’t fit on anybody’s bumper sticker). If nothing else, the “Obama’s war on women” jive is some chum they can throw into the political waters until Republicans figure out what they really want to say and do. Maybe enough right-wing and MSM news outlets will repeat the distorted numbers that they will stick somewhere in the swing-voter subconscience. But above all, Romney and Republicans are going with what they’ve got, and that ain’t much at the moment.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.