What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The War FOR Women is on!!!!!

Cynthia Ruccia

Finally-------the war for the women's vote is out in the open. And it is starting off with a bang!! With Rick Santorum bowing out of the presidential race, the Romney campaign has wasted no time starting to stake its claim to winning women to his side. It has been hard to sit on the sidelines watching the Democrats take the entire battlefield of assuming what the female vote wants while the Republican message was a deafening silence. It felt too much like the past 30 or so years when the Republicans ceded the entirety of women's issues to the Democrats in exchange for the pro-life evangelical vote. Blech!!!  Many of us have been watching in dread while the Republicans have gotten pummeled for being anti-women, and the antics of Limbaugh, the inability of Santorum to stay on message and thus spill his guts every now and then about his views on contraception, and the Virginia legislature and their abortion/ultrasound bill haven't helped any.

But lo and behold, as soon as it looked like Romney had the nomination sewed up, the subject of women and what they want is everywhere!! And it's high time!!! I understand that the nomination needed to be won first, so I was hopeful that the Republicans weren't going to give up on winning women. So far, I haven't been disappointed. Female surrogates are everywhere you look taking on the notion that there is a "Republican War on Women." Talk of a female VP is rampant. Every other word out of Romney's mouth is about what he's going to do for women. And there is enormous pushback to the idea that feminism is only about reproductive issues.

So far the Republican appeal to women appears to be on economic issues. It is brilliant as far as I am concerned because it plays nicely into the idea that women not only care about their jobs and how much money they are making (DUH!!!), but also extends well into our idea that women need to have economic and power equality. And as soon as the Romney campaign started drilling that theme into the public consciousness, lo and behold, the Obama campaign started doing the same things. It is totally a win-win situation for us........

That is if the theme continues past election day. I am completely skeptical that it will be anything more than words of the moment for the Democrats however. Why? Because the past three years have shown that the Obama campaign and the Obama presidency have taken women for granted and have assumed that we will just fall in line with their scare tactics. And although it has worked for them to some degree, the days of taking women for granted with the abortion themes are over. OVAH as my friend K likes to put it.

I will admit that I am still seething after the sexist antics of the 2008 campaign. I am actually surprised that I still have the level of animus that I do, but I'm not alone. Far from it. 3.4 million Hillary voters left the Democratic party in 2008, and I'm guessing that there is at least an equal number that didn't leave the party, but are still pretty unhappy about how it all went down. Probably even more than that.

Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that although I'm still pissed off, the reality is that Obama hasn't done for women what needed to be done and what could and should have been done for someone who thinks he's a feminist. His White House pays women less than the men. His administration didn't make any huge effort to even up the numbers of women in charge of things such as cabinet chairs. He didn't have a woman VP. He did make a couple of advances such as appointing two women to the Supreme Court, and I won't take that achievement away from him. But from where he sits as President of the United States, he could have been much more proactive and creative and set up a REAL example of what a workplace would look like if women and men shared power and economic equality. He should have had a blueprint to demonstrate what a woman friendly administration would look like rather than pay lip service to the world he wants for his daughters. And he should return the dirty money of Bill Maher.

Well people, he didn't do anything more than what he did because he didn't have to. And he didn't have to because we didn't demand he do it!!! It is a democracy we live in and if you don't demand, you don't get. Period. If you wait for others to do what you should be doing for yourself, it's well, understandable. We women have been dependent on the munificence of men for time immemorial. It is a knee jerk reaction to wait for someone to do it for you. As much as I hate framing it this way, it is true-----it is a result of the patriarchy. We smarty pants women are still subjected to subliminal behavior patterns as a result of this patriarchy that is as old as time.

But we have a window of opportunity right now. My friend AnnaBelle pointed out in her excellent article recently that we women who left the Democratic Party not only left in sufficient numbers to matter, but our rhetoric over these past few years has been sufficient in aiding an entirely new view of feminism and women's rights to be born. The ripple effect of our protest has weakened old arguments and given birth to new ideas and new points of view of what feminism is, what women want, and where we go to break those glass ceilings and finish the job begun in the Second Wave. Great credit also goes to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin (and to John McCain) who created a focal point for this energy and the wake up call many of us heard. We have been busy over the past 4 years awakening America and now we find ourselves at a crucial moment indeed.

Our female votes matter more than ever before. We are being fought over, all of us, like the belles of the ball, the queens of the prom. It is an opportunity like none other to make it loud and clear what we want. So what it is we want?

My list is always the same:

1) a female VP
2) a White House that appoints an equal number of women to all of the important jobs

It's a simple list but a shopping list that if met will have an unbelievable ripple effect in our culture. We also want the politicians to fight for our votes not with old worn out siren calls to corral us. You know, the old reproductive issue scare tactics. Blech again!! We want new fresh ideas and we want our women candidates and surrogates to be treated respectfully and not have all of those sexist rotten eggs thrown at them. The only way we will get there is to keep speaking up and never never never quit until the job is done.

First off, you can go to the Women For Romney facebook page and start talking up the idea of a woman VP. There are so many spectacular women on the Republican side who could fill the bill. We keep hearing that Condi Rice, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Cathy McMorris Rodgers are at the top of the list. We all need to keep saying that that is what we want. Go to WomanVP2012 on facebook and read all about these women and the constant activity to get one of them nominated. Be sure to "like" WomanVP2012 and Women for Romney and convince 5 people to do the same. Convince them to get five each of their friends to "like" it. We need to show some strength in this regard.

There are 5 months until the Republican and Democratic Conventions. That is more than enough time to forcefully make our wishes known. Don't get discouraged by the Democratic spin and the sexist spin. And don't get depressed if it seems we are hitting up against brick walls. We have made alot of progress in these past 4 years. We have exposed the sexism of the Democrats (we always knew about the Republicans), we have changed the debate from reproductive rights to economic and power parity, and both parties are rewriting their game books to woo us. Let's play hard to get. Let's hang in there until we get what we want. What can happen in 2012 will make a female president more possible ASAP. We will keep the pressure on!!!!


  1. Great post. Agree totally.

    Went to a conference last week (on women's rights in many fields) with a number of women from Europe attending. They said that when you have quotas you do indeed fix the problem in terms of numbers. But quotas in government don't translate to more women in business, quotas on business boards don't translate to more women in academia. Incredibly, each battle has to be fought on its own. One or two speakers made fun of the US and its ranking at 70+ in the number of women in government. How embarrassing!!

  2. it is such a relief to see Romney finally breaking out and starting to fight back for the woman vote. He redid his facebook page two days ago and "women" is all over it.

  3. Hi Cynthia,
    I'm a bit of a rush this morning, but have to say that I respectfully disagree with you on some points. One of which is your 2 points; i.e. Woman VP and women in WH appointed to jobs as men. IMHO... even if these 2 things occured, it will not matter if these same women that are appointed are promoting regressive policies that ultimately do not serve women well. There are many reasons why Hillaryites have stayed with the Dems and that is because the Repubs POLICIES are regressive and bad for women. I live in Texas and Rick Perry is closing down Planned Parenthood. I have used PP services many times and know a great number of women--especially women living in poverty that I work with in my community-- THAT is going to be devastating to our communities. His policies were also supported by Kay Bailey Hutchinson and many other "women in power" that are Repubs. Not 1 Republican WOMAN lifted a finger to fall "out of line" with the policies promoted by the bigger machine--the Repub Party who ultimately supports them financially to get re-elected. Instead of promoting an agenda that was good for women & families, their first item on the agenda when the Tx Legislature convened was to take up absurd policies such as: Creationism, abortion, put an electric fence on the border, cut public education. The list goes on and on... and there was not ONE female, elected legislator to oppose the Repub machine and the absurdities put forth by Rick Perry & Co -- who by the way, was also part of an even bigger movement duplicated throughout the country by his Party.

  4. Those same regressive philosophies promulgated by the Repubs in TX are not to far from other policies that have been devastating for women throughout the country-- SEVERE cuts in education monies, cuts for the poor, social services--the list goes on and on, ALL promoted and pushed by the Texas legislature. Who were, are and going to be negatively affected? WOMEN. Especially poor & working women and children who many of which were not in poverty but are now, today.
    While I understand your anger over 2008, hanging your hopes on the Conservatives in 2012 seems to be a contradiction in terms, and I believe one that even Hillary would take exception to. Ultimately, it is about the Conserv policies that support an even bigger agenda and are carried out by both males & females. Brings to mind Margaret Atwood's book, "Handmaid's Tale." :) In the final analysis, right now we must be pragmatic in the short term & long term, and IMHO hanging hopes on Romney does not seem to be the best option for either choice. He has said in no uncertain terms that he does not support Planned Parenthood and would cut funding. He also does not support any progressive legislation for women's equal pay, such as Ledbetter's equal pay Act. And, policies that continue to tax only working & middle class while implementing regressive trickle-down economics will only put is further in the hole. Yes, the Dems were horrible in 2008. I agree. I was a Delegate. But, jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire does not compute for me.
    Also, as a Latina, I have to close with this... As a voting bloc, Latinas helped push HIllary over the top in the Southwest and that kept her campaign going well past the Pennsylvania primaries -- that can not be disputed. Our numbers are impressive. And, while many are still disenchanted over what happened, we fully recognize that the Repubs have been and will continue to promote policies that are devastating for our communities of women & children. And, that is why most of us have continued to work within the Dem party to take over leadership positions in order to ensure that change occurs and that 2008 is NOT revisited ever again. And, why despite what your friend has contended, the number of disenchanted Hillaryites will not translate into a significant amount to sway the election. Ultimately, our work ahead is a long road but jumping on the Repub road is even longer one.
    We must either form our own Party or work to change the broken one. I hope that you can give that some serious considertion. I have. Thanks for making your blogsite a welcome place for this much-needed discussion!

  5. Ginger----While I probably could agree with some of what you say, I am looking at things from an entirely different lens than you. I believe that only when people see women in power in equal numbers ON ALL DIES will things ever change for women in this country. The pattern you are using to see things, imho, is an old cookie cutter approach to what is and isn't legislation that could be pro woman. That legislation has been passed by a congressional body of 17% women. We are NOT defining our own territory. And besides-----what is female friendly anyways? As I tirelessly say, we women are more than our nether parts, and the definition of female equality is 51% parity in power and economically. Worrying about that legislation isn't going to change any of that as far as I can see. We've given that model 50 years to work and it has miserably stalled us-----miserably. Women run virtually nothing in the United States. Until we change that, nothing changes. But I appreciate your POV Ginger. I can see you are a very very thoughtful person. I am hoping within your pov and mine common ground can be found so we can all work together to bring us to a truly common goal.

    1. Ginger----I've been thinking about what you said, and I think we need people working from within BOTH parties and also from outside the parties. Women need to have equal power EVERYWHERE....

  6. oops----that was "on all SIDES" LOL!!!

  7. I think Romney will make a good President, and think ALL women should fight hard for a woman for his VP. And make sure that woman is constitutionally qualified to become our first Madame President!
    Then, once Romney is elected, help him appoint women to the Cabinet and other important positions!

  8. I was an Independent who usually voted Democrat until the sexism of the 2008 elections. I will not vote for Obama under any circumstance. If the Republicans don't clarify that the status quo for reproductive rights will be maintained by them I won't vote for them either. Any party who would pander to the anti birth control fringe which is probably 1% of voters over 52% of the population which is women is too stupid to run the country effectively. I do plan to vote because my local issues are important to me, if I don't like my Presidential options I plan to write in Presidential Barbie.

    The women's issues I want to see discussed are. Equal pay and job opportunity for women. Parity in political representation/progress made towards having a female President. Media images of girls and women and parity of media ownership for women. Equal and relevant health care for women.

    I am sick of the Dems reproductive rights scare tactics and the Reps anti choice BS. So start talking boys and make it relevant, so far you are boring me.

    Oh, and I have been both a stay at home mom and a working woman. Stay at home moms take a lot of the burden of running society on at no pay through their volunteer work. I also Mothered many children who had two working parents but knew I was home and they could come to me. That is a valuable contribution to society.

    1. Bes-----I'm sick of both of them too----especially after today. Hillary Rosen-----give me a break!! It's the same story of blind lefty feminists taking down other women. It's disgusting. And calling themselves feminists is just self delusion and spin. This is going to be one sick disgusting campaign

  9. Just in case anyone was interested,this is my article that Cynthia referred to: http://peacocksandlilies.com/2012/04/06/of-contraception-caterpillars-country-clubs-how-women-leveraged-their-way-to-more-power/

    Now, I want to say from the start that every citizens owns their vote and they can make up their minds on any criteria they choose. That said, we really don't need rabidly pro-choice, single-issue voting women to win. They are not my target audience. I consider them lost to the noise machine for now. I'm targeting women who CAN hear me and who will give it a fair listen. There's a vast audience in the middle of women (and men) who want to hear that message, who don't buy the victim mantle, the constant call to biology issued by the left, but see there are problems facing women, and those problems are more serious than access to contraception or abortion, both of which are settled matters. Those are the folks who listened to us in 2008 all the way through 2010. Many of them are now part of the growing noise machine some of us are consciously building to promote these new ideas, and directly challenge the old strategies. 2010 is evidence of our progress. You are right, Cynthia, the war is on, and that's just what we want. Bring it. I'm ready.

    1. Thanks for the link AB----I couldn't find it for some reason....

  10. I think the democrats just gave the Romneys the spike they need after DNC advisor Hilary Rosen went after Ann Romney for never having "worked a day in her life" as a stay at home mom. Not cool - and this sort of thing has been my issue with some of the democrat women for years - that they attack other women in an inherently sexist manner. That's what I always loved about Hillary Clinton - she refused to tear down another woman to advance either herself or another democrat.

    Here's the story - Ann Romney fought back in quite a classy way:


    I may not be sold yet on her husband, but she handled that well.

    1. nothing like the Dems stepping in their own crap....

      at some point they may actually wake up to their sexism.

      I'm also sick and tired of women fighting the mommy wars and watching the lefty women attack all women who they don't think are in their little club. They look ridiculous. We women need to work together to break the glass ceilings. As long as we're at each other's throats, we don't advance. Divide and conquer, a tactic as old as the hills. You'd think the women on the left with all of their education would see through this part of the old playbook.

  11. Did anyone see the press conference this morning. Carney (sp?) actually tried to say that Pres. Obama passed the "fair pay act" via Lilly Ledbetter and now we have equal pay.

    I hope someone on Romney's campaign realizes that this could be a huge win for him with women and if he's not already paying his female staff equal to males, he should start now. We know Obama does not, has not and will not.


    1. Carney is a weasel..

    2. The Lilly Ledbetter Act has absolutely nothing to do with equal pay. All it did was to extend the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination.

      Lorie Aselin
      (I can't figure out how to sign in with my WordPress account)

    3. Lorie---thanks for your comments!! Try this:

      when you go to make a comment, click on the "Reply as" and then click "name/URL" then just fill out the "name" part. You can leave the "URL" blank and it will still post. See if that works for you!!