Sensing that the Republicans are on the run, President Obama mounted a counterattack against the war on women by explaining why this war isn’t just a women’s issue.
Here’s the video from MSNBC:
The president said,
That’s what we mean when we say these issues are more than just a matter of policy. When we talk about these issues that primarily impact women, we’ve got to realize that they are not just women’s issues, they are family issues. They are economic issues. They are growth issues. They are issues about American competitiveness. They’re issues that impact all of us.
Now think about it, when women make less than men for the same work that hurts families who have to get by with less and businesses who have fewer customers with less to spend. When a job doesn’t offer family leave to care for a new baby, or sick leave to care for an ailing parent that burdens men as well. When an insurance plan denies women coverage because of preexisting conditions that puts a strain on emergency rooms, drives up costs and care for everybody. When any of our citizens can’t fulfill the potential that they have because of factors that have nothing to do with talent, or character, or work ethic that diminishes us all, it holds all of us back, and it says something about who we are as Americans.
Right now women are a growing number of breadwinners in the household, but they’re still earning just seventy seven cents for every dollar a man does, even less if you are an African-American or Latina woman. Overall, a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career. So closing this pay gap, ending pay discrimination is about far more than simple fairness. When more women are bringing home the beacon, but bringing home less of it than men who are doing the same work that weakens families, it weakens communities. It’s tough on our kids. It weakens the entire economy.
The president also talked about what the right is really getting at when they demand the repeal of healthcare reform and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, “When people talk about repealing health care reform, they’re not just saying we should stop protecting women with preexisting conditions. They’re also saying we should kick about a million young women off their parents’ health care plans. When people say we should get rid of Planned Parenthood, they’re not just talking about restricting a woman’s ability to make her own health decision. They’re talking about denying, as a practical matter, the preventive care like mammograms that millions of women rely on.”
This speech was really a call to arms for all Americans. President Obama was broadening the issue to mobilizing men and women to stop this assault of civil rights and freedom that is being advocated and perpetuated by the Republican Party. President Obama didn’t stop at joining the battle to stop the Republicans. He is leading it.
The president’s point that the war on women isn’t just about women is something that Republicans never thought the American people would catch on to. Instead of dividing America along gender lines by trying to turn birth control and Planned Parenthood into culture war issues, the right has unified much of this country around the common cause of protecting rights that directly impact women. The war on women is in reality a war on all Americans.
As the president stated, this isn’t just about fairness. It concerns families and households that have grown more dependent on the income generated by women for their survival. Republicans are out to fundamentally transform our society. By denying economic opportunity for women, they are limiting class mobility for a majority of Americans.
When they target women’s healthcare, the right is threatening your girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, or grandmother. The president’s point was that this matters to us all. The Republican war on women impacts every single American.
Politically, the contrast between Obama and the Republicans couldn’t be more stark. The president isn’t engaging in political pandering. He deeply and truly holds these beliefs. There is an authenticity in his comments, and a personal commitment to this issue that is easily visible. The reason why Obama leads Romney by nearly 20 points with women is that his defense of women is real, and he has the record to back it up.
The Republican war on women has already inflicted likely fatal damage to the GOP’s White House hopes, but this is about more than an election. It is about defending generations of hard fought progress. It is about building on that progress for future generations, and making the United States a stronger country.