You have probably heard about the dust-up over a comment Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen made about Ann Romney a few days ago. What Rosen actually said was that “you have Mitt Romney running around, saying, ‘Well you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing.”
Of course the words Rosen chose were not good, but that does not mean the point she was trying to make wasn’t true. The fact is that Ann Romney had the luxury to choose to stay home to raise the family’s children, and she actually has no idea what it is like to struggle to make ends meet in a tough economy. That isn’t an insult; it is just a fact.
Of course it is no surprise that the right-wing media has been doing their best to paint the left (Obama) as hostile to traditional values (They hate motherhood, for goodness sakes!) A regular Fox contributor, Dr. Keith Ablow, provided an illustrative example of the discourse coming from the Right on the subject when he said: “Women who are happy raising families don’t have much ‘cred’ with Rosen or, for that matter, President Obama, because Rosen and Obama resonate only with those who carry the flag of the disenfranchised and abused. Anyone who thrives in an American company or American home, while proud and happy with any element of traditional American values, must be a hopeless automaton or relic of the oppressive past.” Yup, that is exactly what Rosen was saying, I’m sure.
Far from being concerned with women, of course the Right is concerned that Mitt Romney trails Obama by nearly 20 percentage points among likely women voters. And why does Obama have such a big lead among women voters? Well, as a man I don’t know that I am qualified to say, but I have a hunch it may have something to do with how Republicans have behaved with regards to issues that impact women particularly.
I found two (admittedly biased) sources detailing some of the Republican low-lights from the recent past with regards to women’s issues: Media Matters and MoveOn.org. Taking them for what they are worth, they are helpful in giving a broader picture of what types of measures Republican legislators across the country have been pushing for, (and all their sources are linked, so you can check them out for yourself). Here are just a few:
1) More than 150 Republicans signed on to a bill that would have redefined under what circumstances an institution receiving government funds could provide an abortion, replacing “rape” with “forcible rape”. With this language change, statutory rape, say a 13-year old impregnated by a 30-year-old for instance, would not qualify.
2) The Republican spending plan proposed to eliminated entirely Title X, which provides family planning for low-income Americans. And no, “family planning” is not just a code word for “abortions”, as birth control, pre-natal care, teen pregnancy prevention programs and other crucial health services are part of Title X.
3) The House GOP plan would also cut more than $750 million from food programs for low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies and children.
4) Republican lawmakers in Maryland cut Head Start funding, saying that it was not needed since mothers could just choose to stay home with their children instead. And at the federal level, Republicans cut $1 billion from the program, which could kick 200,000 low-income kids off the roles, and see some 55,000 instructors and teachers loose their jobs.
5) The Republican’s 2011 budget proposal cut $2 billion from job training programs, which are designed to help workers in low-wage, low-skill, and low-security jobs – disproportionately women – prepare for employment in growth areas.
6) Because women comprise more than two-thirds of the poor over age 65, Republican-proposed cuts in food, housing and job programs for senior citizens would disproportionately hurt elderly women.
7) The Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, signed a bill (passed along party lines) repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court. "Economic security is a women's health issue," said Sara Finger, executive director of WAWH. "The salary women are paid directly affects the type and frequency of health care services they are able to access. At a time when women's health services are becoming more expensive and harder to obtain, financial stability is essential to maintain steady access."
As I said before, these are just a few examples of what types of actions Republican legislatures are taking all around the country with regards to issues that impact women the most (and I didn’t even mention the proposed laws that would force women seeking an abortion to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound first). So while we can all agree that a mother who has the ability to make a choice to stay home with her children is a good thing, I think the Republicans are going to need a lot more than a poor choice of words from a Democratic strategist to convince women they are actually on their side.
Rob posted this on the Mormons for Obama Facebook page -- in the past four years, things have changed: he upgraded his automobile to an Intrepid. This new model has a sleek design and a functional interior with an eye to the future and the real challenges ahead. That other car (a Sebring?) had too much give in the steering wheel (it could change lanes at any moment without warning!) However, it did have a nice rack on top for a dog carrier.
Post by Joseph M-
Santorum made a special announcement, Romney congratulated him on his failed attempt at the nomination, and we (almost officially) got a Mormon running against Obama in the 2012 election. Utah cheered, the South groaned, and people everywhere googled the words, "Romney mom jeans." (Is anyone else sad that David Horsey left for Los Angeles when the Seattle PI shut down?)
So here we go. Orrin (Orwellian) Hatch predicts the destruction of the Mormon church by Obama and the Democrats, but seeing that I am a Democrat and support Obama, I tend to yawn and disagree. Here is a link to a short article discussing Hatch's comments and their absurdity.
But the real big news of the day is this: due to all the requests for "I'm voting for Obama" bumper stickers, we have printed more, and they are on the way. I will get the link put back up, so if you'd like to pre-order that will be possible. A note of caution however: the design is a little different, but the bumper stickers do say the exact same thing. If you would like to wait - I will post the new design on the site as soon as the stickers arrive! And in case you aren't aware of the background behind the stickers- we thought they would be a fun way to express our support for Obama. We loosely based our slogan "I'm voting for Obama, and I'm a Mormon" on Phoenix Academy's new marketing campaign for new students:
So order some stickers for your friends and family to show your support for the president!
Firstly, Romney has furthered his position in the race for the nomination; according to NPR, after the Wisconsin primary, he is no longer being referred to as the "likely" nominee, but the "almost certain" Republican nominee. He is taking on Obama now, and Santorum appears to be an April Fool's joke after all.
And in other news, some guy named Brett Hatch read from the Book of Mormon at a Mitt Romney campaign rally yesterday, and he followed up his reading with a doctrinal question (about racism in the Church) that Romney refused to answer. I will let you read the link below in case you didn't already see it all over the web.
Nothing new here; more of people trying to understand and define Mormons in a way that gets America to vote for someone else - (Ron Paul in this case). But I would like to add this: Mr Hatch, if you want to question Romney about racism, you might want to first look at your own candidate, dear old Mr. Paul. He had a little racist newsletter problem a few years back that you might not have heard about. Besides, there are a lot more logical reasons for Romney to lose your vote than anything written in the Book of Mormon; feel free to search this site (or the whole world wide web) to discover what some of those might be. But alas, you support Ron Paul; logic may not be your strong suit.
One interesting thing did occur after Romney refused to get into the specifics of Hatch's question: he spoke about his time serving as a bishop or stake president, (he used the term "pastor" so I can't say for sure which calling he referenced.) He used his church service to explain that he has counseled with many who were struggling in his congregation, and that therefore he is in touch with real people and real Americans.
See this article from the Huffington Post about Romney's experience as bishop.
I appreciate that serving as bishop and stake president affords one the opportunity to rub shoulders with the common man, despite someone's wealth. However, given what he is saying now, I don't know that Romney really understands everyday Americans. I acknowledge that Romney-care showed a nice mix of sensitivity for those lacking insurance and business-sense in that an individual mandate was put in place to support it. But isn't that a thing of the past? Now we have Romney saying things like, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there." Maybe we have a whole new Romney like everyone is saying, and just as his days of health care reform are over, so are his days of being bishop. He is a shaken Etch-a-Sketch; he needs to do a little more than talk about being bishop to prove he understands everyday Americans.
In January 2009, Mitt Romney penned some advice to incoming President Barack Obama regarding health care reform in a USA Today op-ed piece. Romney suggested Obama look to “the lessons we learned in Massachusetts,” in contemplating federal-level reform, noting specifically:
First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98 percent of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy.
In a January 2008 GOP Presidential Primary debate, Romney underscored his belief that the insurance mandate should be applied at a national level. When the moderator noted, “Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis,” Romney interjected, “No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.” I previously posted a video clip, which showed Romney giving his support to the notion of applying ‘Romneycare’ at a national level.Read more
Did I even spell that right? The Supreme Court of the United States of America heard oral arguments about the Affordable Care Act today - specifically the individual insurance mandate. And the questions came hard and fast from the conservative justices on the Court. In fact, somebody even posed the age-old question: if we allow the federal government to require individuals to require people to purchase health insurance, "what else can it not do?" Can it not then require people to buy broccoli? (And of course this was Scalia with this inquiry - although some people might have guessed Clarence Thomas; but alas, he has a policy not to ask any questions during oral arguments. And I can sympathize. When I am around people talking and sounding real smart, sometimes I don't like to say anything either.) But Scalia's broccoli question puzzles me somewhat, considering that the same question has been asked for the past two years and was even posed on Fox News a few days back. What I mean is this: at the very least, couldn't Scalia have been original and used a different example, like carrots? Seriously, is broccoli the only healthy vegetable out there? Or does Scalia have stock in Green Giant? Maybe he was hoping for an Etch-a-Sketch-style surge on Wall Street.
What is also interesting is that the Obama administration's lawyer had to answer the question straightforwardly: "No, that's quite different. That's quite different," Donald Verrilli said. "The food market, while it shares that trait that everybody's in it, it is not a market in which your participation is often unpredictable and often involuntary. It is not a market in which you often don't know before you go in what you need, and it is not a market in which, if you go in and -- and seek to obtain a product or service, you will get it even if you can't pay for it."
But all joking aside, I am following this story more than what my health insurance plan allows. We have come too far and fought too hard for this victory to have it taken away by some conservative judges. Checks and balances haven't seemed this fair since the Supreme Court voted Bush into the oval office in 2000.
Here are two links about today's proceedings:
What an exciting moment in the history of our country. Look at the reaction moment photo. Obama's face captures it all, with others cheering in the background. It looks like Teddy Roosevelt's horse is also excited.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="531"] Barack Obama reacts to the House agreeing to the Senate's ammendment to the ACA[/caption]
Today the NPR health blog posted a great article about where we are in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Has it met it's goals?
The article simply summarizes in table format each of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 cost and impact, what has been done, and whether or not it is "on track". The table really impressed me as an excellent, well-referenced resource that I wanted to refer our readers to. It divides the provisions into expanding coverage, senior benefits, and consumer protections. Below are some highlights.
EXPANDING COVERAGE - 7 provisions
3/7 - Met goal
3/7 - Has not met goal
1/7 - Too soon to tell
An estimated 54 million people received at least one free preventive health benefit in 2011 (goal was 41 million).
48,879 people covered through 2011; Cost: $618 million through 2011 (goal was 200,000-400,000 covered).
SENIOR BENEFITS - 3 provisions
3/3 - Met goal
Prescription drug benefit included 3.8 million beneficiaries who saved $2.3 billion in 2011. Old people should love Obama.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONS - 5 provisions
2/5 - Met goal
3/5 - Too soon to tell
Insurers can no longer impose lifetime limits.
I'm impressed, are you?
By Doctor LauraClubFancy, your health care correspondent.
The topic of gas prices has taken center stage recently in our political discourse. Gas prices, as we are all painfully aware of, are have been climbing steadily, effecting us not only at the pump, but everywhere else where higher fuel costs are passed down the line to consumers, like at the grocery store.
So why does Obama let this happen? Why does he refuse to lift a finger to bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon, as Newt Gingrich promises to do if he is elected? Well, if you read the comments on the FoxNews web site from readers weighing in on the topic, you would learn that it is because: “the only thing he cares about is implementing his socialist/Marxist agenda”; and that “The progressive left have completed their agenda to weaken America so they can now bring in the wolves to finish her off.” I am not making this stuff up. These people really exist.
The insanity isn’t just coming from the right-wing blogosphere, either. Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said a few weeks ago that Mr. Obama should be held “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.” Other politicians with close ties to the oil and gas industries (i.e., mostly Republicans), are also getting into the mix. This has become a huge political issue, but its implications go far beyond just politics.
If the Republicans can convince Americans that today’s high gas prices are a result of Obama’s overregulation and antipathy for the hydrocarbon industry, then they can successfully distract voters from the real issue of what dependence on fossil fuels means for our country and for the world, politically, economically and environmentally, and at the same time score political points in an important election year.
The facts are that under Obama domestic production is way up from what it was at any time under Bush II (see NY Times graph). Is this because of Obama’s supposed onerous regulation, I wonder? It is also a fact that any expansion of drilling permits, or approval of the Keystone XL pipeline (a project originally opposed by Nebraska’s republican governor) would not have an impact on oil prices for years, especially since most of that oil would go to foreign markets anyway.
Oil is a global commodity, and producers will sell to whoever will pay the most. With the continued growth of countries like China, India Brazil and South Africa, global demand is only increasing. This is reflected in the rising gas prices all around the world, not just in the US. The US now exports more oil than it imports, but oil drilled here doesn’t necessarily stay here.
The fact that OPEC controls huge international oil supplies, and has the power to drive up prices through reducing production whenever it wants needs to also be acknowledged by Obama-hating Republicans. Middle East instability, lack of refinery capacity, corporate profits and global commodity speculators (which even the hyper-conservative Lou Dobbs admits is a big reason for current gas prices) all play a role as well. None of this, of course, is immediately under Obama’s control, or acknowledged by Republicans engaged in their anti-Obama rhetoric.
But common sense and facts have never given Republicans pause before, so why start now? That is why their only response to the situation is to “drill baby drill”, and make sure that high-earning oil companies continue to get billions of dollars in tax subsidies each year, while at the same time decrying efforts to subsidize green-energy firms, a move which, apparently, is only appropriate for fossil fuel companies. (These subsidies, curiously enough, don’t seem to be an issue for GOP deficit hawks. I guess deficit concerns just apply to NPR or Health Care.)
And what about reducing demand for fossil fuels through less consumption, increased fuel efficiency and alternative fuels? Poppycock! That is just liberals trying to destroy America through their environmental scare tactics! Somehow Republicans missed that day in econ. class when their professors explained how there are two ways to bring down costs in a market, one being increasing supply and the other being to reduce demand.
At the end of the day oil is a non-renewable resource, and it will only get more expensive as the economies of highly populated countries around the word continue to grow, and as long as western nations continue in their oil addiction. The only way to deal with it is to start figuring out how to use less. Period. But until the Right pulls its head out of the sand (and pulls its hands out of big-oil’s pockets), I’m afraid the prospects for making progress on this front are not promising. And like gas prices, that is also not something Obama has personal control over.