Thursday, October 18, 2012

War on Binders. Or Something.

As the beyond-ridiculous "bindergate" prepares to join the Big Bird flap on the dustheap of discarded campaign memes, this Tim Carney piece on contraceptive mandate and the so-called "war on women" is worth a read:
[W]ielding an Obamacare provision on "women's preventive care," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius imposed a new rule requiring almost all employers to cover every penny of contraception, sterilization and morning-after pills.

That means if you offer health insurance that doesn't cover sterilization, you're breaking the law. If you offer health insurance that covers all contraception, but requires a $5-a-month co-pay, you're breaking the law. If you offer two plans, and the one that covers all contraception and sterilization carries a higher premium, you're breaking the law. Or at least Sebelius' law.

Mitt Romney doesn't think those things should be illegal.

Wages, commuter benefits and vacation time are all matters of negotiation between bosses and the people they want to hire. But if you offer someone a job, and promise to pay them in cash instead of contraception, you're violating Obamacare.
He describes a mock "permission slip" on the Obama website, part of the Democrats' argument that Romney wants to let employers decide whether or not women can have birth control:
The mock permission slip on Obama's campaign website read:

"I have discussed the employee's contraceptive options with her, and I verify that her use of these methods (IS / IS NOT) in agreement with my personal beliefs. The employee (DOES / DOES NOT) have my permission to access birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or any other type of contraception."
It's so over-the-top tendentious that it seems guaranteed to raise the eyebrows of any woman with two brain cells to rub together.  "Wait. You're saying if it weren't for Obama, my boss could tell me I can't use birth control?  Something about that claim doesn't ring true, given that we're in America and it's the 21st century."

And indeed, it's heartening to see polls showing the gender gap tightening somewhat.  The defensive brigade in the "war on women," with its hands-off-my-ladyparts infographics and its dreary insistence that Girls Must Have Free Stuff, makes me faintly embarrassed for my sex.  The sassy sisterhood stuff seems so obviously a front for a one-sided agenda that, at best, is only interested in advancing the interests of certain women.

Speaking of the gender gap, our household was polled last night.  (Election-season life in a swing state:  I often serve my toddlers dinner with a phone on one ear.)  The pollster told me that they had met their quota for female respondents and asked me if there was a male in the house.  I handed the phone to my husband, who gave the exact responses I would have given.  

I vote like a guy.  Thank goodness.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Say It

Ross Douthat on Romney's immigration vacillation:
There’s nothing whatsoever to be gained . . .  by doing what Romney has done, which is to act evasive on a hot-button issue for months on end before finally, grudgingly, issuing a defensive quasi-endorsement of your opponent’s gambit. When the White House announced its policy change, Romney could have attacked the president for bending the rule of law to suit the demands of Democratic coalition politics, or alternatively he could have embraced the DREAM Act himself to pivot away from the hard line he took during the Republican primary campaign. Either move, if finessed effectively, might have helped him with a crucial bloc of voters. But by doing neither, and basically ducking the issue until this late-in-the-game concession, he enabled the White House to reap all of the benefits of its backdoor amnesty without paying any political price at all.
Yep.  Douthat also diagnoses what I think is the central problem with the campaign, which is that they assumed Romney would be the front-runner by September and made no plan for any other eventuality:
[O]n immigration, health care and indeed just about every topic worth mentioning, the Romney camp apparently decided that the weakness of the economy meant that they didn’t need a clear script at all, and that they could get by with evasions and improvisations instead. On the evidence of current polling, they were wrong.
It's worse than evasions and improvisations.  It's an apparent unwillingness or inability to actually say anything.  Yes, the media aren't playing fair (this Gawker piece makes some good observations in that regard), but they're not the problem.

I see Romney's ads on TV here in Virginia his message, unfiltered by the press and it's worse than muddled.  It's non-existent.  Each time I'm left wondering, "What are you saying?  What's wrong with America, and how will you fix it?"

Or, as Jan Crawford tweeted recently, "Why not embrace who you are/why your views are better for America? SAY IT."