I see that there are number of bloggers who are falling all over themselves trying to make it sound like Obama’s comments on women were somehow better than Romney’s “binders full of women” memorable moment. Disclaimer: I don’t like Romney, not planning to vote for him, think Republicans in general are full of s^&* and think that if you vote for a Republican instead of a third party candidate because you are still pissed about 2008, you need to have your head examined. If you’re still angry and disappointed with the Democrats for giving us a non-Democrat for president, vote third party. It’s the only way to get through to the assholes. You’re doomed no matter whether you vote for Obama or Romney in 2012, let’s just be honest about that. Ok, disclaimer out of the way…
I knew it was coming. The minute the question came about how the candidates intended to rectify inequalities in the workplace for women, I could picture the robotic elf in Obama’s brain reaching for Lilly Ledbetter. That automaton was planted there by Plouffe or Axelrod as the thing that THEY think is the surefire solution to placating the ladies, like we can’t trust our lying eyes when we look at our (non-existent) paychecks. Yeah, mansplain Lilly Ledbetter to them again. Once again, we heard about how it was the *first* thing he signed when he was in office. He made it sound like he fought for it, gave passionate speeches in support of it, twisted Joe Lieberman’s arm, threatened, cajoled, pled, begged the recalcitrant House Democrats to vote for it for the sake of his old, uncomplaining granny.
But no, that is not what happened was it? The truth is that Lilly Ledbetter fell into his lap. It was the first thing he signed because it was almost the first thing on his desk after he took the oath of office. And THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where Obama stopped doing anything for women. Signing Lilly Ledbetter, that law that allows women to pursue a claim of pay discrimination without time limits was the first and last thing he did to correct inequity in the workplace.
Lilly Ledbetter was a consequence free vote for legislators. You may have the right to still file a lawsuit but to do it means you need to ask human resources for the salary information and what woman in her right mind is going to do that? Did Lilly Ledbetter make it mandatory for companies to post that information for everyone to see without identifying themselevs by asking and risking retribution or poor performance evaluations? So, Lilly Ledbetter does not put the law on womens’ side after all. It’s very limited and you’d have to be nuts to risk your job to put it to use. Employers have nothing to fear. Just ask the thousands of Walmart female employees who have been protesting gender inequality for years and lost another case as recently as yesterday. There was another more important bill on paycheck fairness that never passed and as far as I know, Obama’s attitude was “meh”. The bill failed to pass the Senate this past June. Please note that the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate and even though they no longer have a filibuster proof majority like they did in 2009-2010 when passing the Paycheck Fairness act would have been easier, they still have enough votes to make obstructing it very painful for the Republicans. The Democrats didn’t do it and I can’t remember Obama marching down to Capital Hill to make life difficult for anyone who didn’t get onboard. Wake me when Obama puts as much energy into that as preserving a banker’s bonus. By golly, if Congress threatened to take away a bonus, you can bet your ass Geithner and the bank lobby would snuff that initiative out toot sweet but fairness for more than half the country’s population? Nope. Not a problem. If he isn’t screaming bloody murder about the Paycheck Fairness act before the election, then I think we can just forget about Obama having any intention of addressing gender inequalities.
Integrity means putting your actions at the service of your words. Obama didn’t.
What Obama did say during Tuesday night’s debate was the same STUPID personal story about how his granny was stiffed by her own employer and didn’t complain. This seems to be a bit of a pattern with the Obamas. If you ask for justice and fairness, you’re a whiner. Michelle told us about how teachers worked for free in bankrupt school districts. They didn’t complain about not having the means to feed their own kids, they just did their patriotic duty. Isn’t that special? It reminded me of the patriotic sacrifice of thousands of banking vice presidents, analysts and associates who, at Obama’s request, gave up their bonuses to save the taxpayers money and as an apology for wrecking the economy. Oh, wait, that didn’t happen. But women will be expected to sacrifice without complaint in the workplace because I didn’t hear Obama once say that he intended to do anything about the persistent problem of gender inequality. He said nothing about the Paycheck Fairness bill, he didn’t say anything about the EEOC fanning out to workplaces where there have been complaints filed in order to conduct statistical studies and presenting the employers with a compliance order or a fine in order to get their asses straightened out. He didn’t have a policy at all like the one we might have heard from a female candidate from his own party.
It was a pathetic answer. It was a non-answer. It. Did. Not. Work. For. Me. And I doubt that many professional women were satisfied with it even if a lot of clueless male bloggers were. Neither candidate intended to use the law to make sure that women were paid as well as men for the same job. There was no suggestion that parental leave would be adjusted so that neither parent would be penalized for taking it. There was no concern over how many fewer women have jobs during this little Depression compared to men. It’s like they were completely unaware of these problems.
Then there is the accusation from many women in the Obama administration that the White House was a “hostile work environment” for women staffers and appointees. The man is a hypocrite if ever there was one when it comes to women and the workplace and as far as I can tell, he has no intention of using his power to enforce existing laws or push for new ones. Indeed, if he is elected, what incentive will there be for him to do anything for women at all?
This election is about giving voters a choice and choices have to do with deciding who is better. There are many reasons why we should reject Romney, the most significant one being that he is a Republican and Republicans have a recent history of being reactionary assholes when it comes to women. Ironically, Democrats *also* have a recent history of being reactionary assholes when it comes to women, Lilly Ledbetter notwithstanding. And by the way, how long did it take for Obama to rescind the Bush Conscience Rule? Trick question! As far as I know, it’s still on the books. It has simply been amended. (I take that back. He finally got around to rescinding it last year. No, I was right the first time. It was only “revised”, not rescinded. Jeez, you would have thought that rescinding it would have been the first thing he did for women after taking office since it didn’t require a Congressional vote. You would think it would be a no-brainer for him but you would be wrong.)
In this election, I have no reason to vote for either candidate and Obama didn’t give me one on Tuesday night to vote for him. Obama has not differentiated himself on women’s issues compared to Romney and it is too late to cram. All nighters will not help him now, well, at least not with me or many other women who got the shaft since 2008. So, don’t try so hard, left blogosphere. What do women have to gain from you cheering for Obama? You and I know that Obama offers nothing to women in terms of advocacy or enforcement. Why not just tell the truth? Your guy is pathetic on just about everything that’s important to you but you’re scared shitless of what will happen if the Republicans eek out victories in Congress and the White House. But you have been unable or unwilling to make him do anything for you. He and his backers think they have beaten you and you’re still carrying water for him. Doesn’t that imply that you’re working for your enemies?
Oh, and one final thing. Obama made a last desperate attempt to redeem himself with his constituency on the Libya disaster by taking responsibility, praising Hillary and then turning around in the next sentence and saying, “She works for me”. Stupid, stupid, stupid. There was the old cock on the walk, stomping all over Hillary, making her look like a weak subordinate woman who not only didn’t have the right to claim responsibility but who he did a great favor by offering her the consolation prize of Secretary of State. As far as womens’ issues are concerned, he is a dispassionate, unconcerned lightweight compared to her and it is painfully obvious to everyone by now, Naomi Wolf included, that he is not Christmas and New Years and Hannukah or a cape-crusading super feminist. All that machismo posturing is not a winning formula to me. But it’s still important to him make sure everyone knows that he beat that bitch. That move right there said all I needed to know about which gender he was reaching out, or reaching around, to keep at that moment and during this election season.
It wasn’t the ladies.