Saturday, March 17, 2012

I’m not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters

A week and a half ago, Obama held a press conference. I wrote up a post, decided it was sub-par, and deleted it. But there was one answer of his that I don’t want to let go. Asked about the “war on women,” he politely declined the opportunity to declare himself and the Democratic Party to be on the side of the women: “Women are going to make up their own mind in this election about who is advancing the issues that they care most deeply about.”

He went on:
there are millions of strong women around the country who are going to make their own determination about a whole range of issues. It’s not going to be narrowly focused just on contraception. It’s not going to be driven by one statement by one radio announcer. It is going to be driven by their view of what’s most likely to make sure they can help support their families, make their mortgage payments; who’s got a plan to ensure that middle-class families are secure over the long term; what’s most likely to result in their kids being able to get the education they need to compete. ... So I’m not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters.
Notice how quickly he moved to non-gender-specific issues like mortgages and education. He’s just not comfortable with the notion that women might vote based on their interests as women. He’d rather talk to them about mortgages and “a whole range of issues” than reassure them about their reproductive autonomy.

Of course women are interested in a whole range of non-vagina-related issues (unlike Rick Santorum), but it doesn’t make them (gasp) single-issue voters if they draw a line in the sand and say that, other issues aside, they will not vote for someone who attacks their right to control their own body. To suggest that such voters are “narrowly focused” is an insult to them and to the principle itself.

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