By Cheri Jacobus - 04/20/12 12:17 AM EDT
Earlier this year, without any special, targeted effort, Mitt Romney was leading President Obama with women in the polls — a group Obama handily won in the 2008 presidential election.
Apparently, treating women as respected partners in the economy, society and family life, rather than sequestering us off as a “special” demographic, was something we liked about Mitt Romney. The lack of condescending campaign rhetoric was rather nice.
It’s clear now that it’s the Democrats who are at war with women, hoping for my gender to become so downtrodden and helpless that we are willing to cling to the robes of anyone who will pay our rent, give us free birth control pills and tell us that, yes, we are losers, victims and second-class citizens, but it’s not our fault — it’s the GOP.
Democrats’ desperate claim that the GOP launched a “war on women” has turned around and bit them — hard. It should come as no surprise they are now in full retreat, to the degree of even now denying they ever made the charge in the first place.
Hilary Rosen, a longtime Democrat insider and CNN contributor who has been one of the highest-paid lobbyists in Washington, stated on the network that Ann Romney should not be put out front as Romney’s surrogate for women, since “Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life.” That callous statement about a woman who raised five boys while battling MS and breast cancer and served as first lady of Massachusetts was the second Democrat salvo against women in less than 24 hours. The Obama White House was already trying to slither out of a public report that the president is paying women 18 percent less than men for the same level jobs.
While Obama was never held accountable a couple of years ago for claims the White House was a “boys’ club” that largely excluded women from top-level meetings and decisionmaking, this latest round of anti-woman slams might actually stick. After all, how many times will women allow themselves to be lied to, taken advantage of and denigrated before they walk away?
President Obama’s aides deny Hilary Rosen is an adviser, even though she has logged more than 35 visits to the White House — far more than some top economic and military advisers for the stuff that really matters. Democrats also now deny they ever accused Republicans of a “war on women” even though for the past few months nearly every Democratic TV pundit, mouthpiece, columnist and politician has made the shrill charge — repeatedly, loudly and falsely.
While President Obama and his merry band of misogynists on the left have cynically determined that women are slackers, victims or losers who need to be “saved’ by being more dependent on Big Government, and not quite good enough to be paid what men are in the White House, Republicans have an opportunity to sharpen their message and conversation with women.
Over the course of our lives, do most women have a somewhat different flow and dynamic to our professional lives than men? You bet! Women take time off to raise a family, so they may start a home business, becoming self-employed. We might have hit the glass ceiling in our formal careers, and break out on our own, launching small businesses where we can advance ourselves and employees.
In fact, female-owned small businesses in the United States create more jobs than the Fortune 500 companies combined, and approximately 60 percent of small businesses are female-owned. It’s been estimated that by 2018 at least one-third of all new jobs will have been created by women, (though the dismal Obama economy might force a rewrite of that prediction.) But women are flexible, creative by necessity and far more nimble than big corporations that require massive federal bailouts.
Women are critical to the economic recovery of the country, and are far more likely to lead the nation out of economic despair, with the larger corporations lagging behind. Mitt Romney and Republican leaders would be wise to embrace this as a narrative, message and guide to policy initiatives.
Women now not only hold the cards to economic recovery, we might also hold the winning hand in the 2012 election.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.