I guess the ladies will have to rescue Obama after all. Today’s NYTimes editorial is all about those meanie Republicans who want to reinstate the Mexico City Rule and take away all our reproductive rights.
First, it should be noted that if you don’t want to lose your reproductive rights, don’t vote for downticket Republicans. Oh, sure, there are pain in the ass anti-choice Democrats who should NEVER get another term but there are far, far more Republicans who are adamantly anti-choice. And anti-labor. And anti-consumer protections. And pro-neo-feudalism. And pro-war and authoritarianism. And anti-Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. By the way, did you know that Medicare only got passed in the 60s when the number of Republicans in Congress was decreased to such an extent that they didn’t have the critical mass to obstruct it? Yep, you can look it up. Here’s a BBC-4 Witness segment on the birth of medicare and what it took to get it passed.
In short, just about everything Americans like had to be passed when Republicans were down for the count. Otherwise, their method is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. It’s what they do. So, if you vote for a downticket Republican or a Tea Party Republican, that’s what you’re going to get. They’re into austerity and redistributing wealth –upwards.
Does that mean you should vote always for the Democrat? Well, until there are more third party downticket candidates, yeah, probably. I don’t like it either. But for sure, voting for a downticket Republican is going to mean more austerity for YOU and not for their rich friends. You can choose to ignore the evidence and history if you want but them’s the facts.
Second, who is in the White House makes absolutely no difference this year. I know Democrats say that it does but there’s no evidence of that. We’ve had 4 years of Obama and he unmasked himself during the first debate. He doesn’t fight for Americans. He capitulates to Republicans. He doesn’t exercise his veto pen enough and he was quite happy to leave the Bush Conscience Rule on the books. Oh, sure, he tweaked it but he didn’t remove it. And in my opinion, removing it is significant. As long as the Bush Conscience Rule is around, women will never be sure that their reproductive decisions can’t be overridden by someone else.
Now, I understand why the NYTimes would be carrying Obama’s water. It’s not that the Times is particularly liberal. But the paper of record does tend to put a socially forward face on it’s wealth protection policies. It doesn’t like to think of itself as backwards like the Republican bible-thumpers and who could blame it? It’s gauche and stupid and deliberately ignorant to be a Republican supporter these days. Sorry, Republicans, but that’s the truth. Of course, none of that matters if you win, right? Then you can shove your ignorance on everyone else and make them eat it and that will make you feel better. But it means that you WILL impose austerity on everyone, including yourselves, if you vote for downticket Republicans.
But at the top of the ticket? Makes not a damn bit of difference. And the reason it particularly makes no difference to women is because no one has to take women seriously. They can scream about reproductive rights until their blue in the face. Without someone taking you seriously, you get nowhere. And in the past four years, no one has been taking women seriously. And a lot of the blame for that can be attributed to the Democratic leadership. They allowed a pattern of sexism to develop since 2008 that has been unprecedented.
Let’s just put aside the 2008 primaries where Obama routinely attempted to diminish his opponent by saying things like,” periodically when she’s feeling blue“* Hillary goes negative, it was Obama’s intention when he took office to make sure the jobs programs were tailored for men because he was concerned that they would feel bad if they were encouraged to go into pink professions like nursing (It’s in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men). And he also made the White House a “hostile working environment for women” (Anita Dunn said this in Suskind’s book) He also ignored the advice of Christine Romer, Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren, each one of whom had to go through Tim Geithner to get anything done. Tim Geithner, if I recall correctly, was one of the guys who piled on Brooksley Born, the head of the CFTC back at the end of the Clinton years who wanted to regulate derivatives.
Obama was the guy who hired Larry Summers who once famously said that women didn’t have the same intellectual capacity in math and science as men. (guys, don’t try to sugar coat this. I’ve read the transcript and he sure as hell said that and meant exactly what he said.)
The whole atmosphere in the past four years has changed towards women. Tell me, ladies, am I just imagining that? Are men more likely to act like you don’t have a brain, treat you dismissively and cut you off in conversations? I’m talking about just conversations on the phone not in person where they can’t see whether you are too old to pay attention to. It’s gotten to the point where I’m already prepared to battle when I place a phone call. I’ve seen it happen to women at work and just casually. We have lost whatever mojo we fought so hard to get over the past 50 years. No wonder the Republicans think they can run over our reproductive rights. We don’t count anymore and there are very few champions in the Democratic party who are powerful or interested enough to stick up for us. It would be nice if we had more women running for Congress this year as Democrats but even that is hard to find. The Democratic leadership in Maine decided it would put their money behind a guy who wasn’t even in their party rather than run a woman from their side for the Senate seat that Olympia Snowe is vacating.
We can’t even get above 17% representation in Congress, which is one of the lowest female government representations in the developed world. It shouldn’t be any wonder why nothing that is important to us gets passed. We can’t get economic reforms we like, the jobs programs we like, the wars we hate to stop or protection of our social insurance programs. No one takes anything we want seriously because we don’t have the critical mass in Congress to change anything.
Voting for Obama isn’t going to change that. In fact, the only thing that will change that is running more women for office and in order to do that, we need to get more authority. And in order to do that we need to have a greater voice in the opinion pages of the countries papers and online news sources.
And if that’s going to happen, maybe it should start with the New York Times, which has a male to female ratio of op/ed writers of 10:2. That means that men are 5 times more likely to have their concerns represented on the New York Times editorial page every week than women. And one of those women is Maureen Dowd whose schtick has been to pile on the women that the guys hate. That seems to be a survival strategy. (And how did that work out, Maureen?) I can’t think of one unambiguously feminist voice on the pages of the Washington Post or New York Times on a regular basis nor do I see any parity at all when it comes to representation.
So, if the New York Times feels so strongly about the fate of women’s reproductive rights, now would be a good time to add more women to its editorial lineup. May I suggest dumping Douthat or Brooks? Or both? Then, hire someone like Digby. I’m a little tired of the Ezra Kleins, Kevin Drums and Matt Yglesias types getting all the peach positions. It’s time for the New York Times to practice what it preaches and hire some women.
Otherwise, I can’t take it seriously.
*You know the level of sexism is bad when Andrea Mitchell notices.
Filed under: General | Tagged: Anita Dunn, Borrksley Born, Chrisine Romer, Elizabeth Warren, Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Obama, periodically, reproductive rights, Ron Suskind, Sheila Bair, Tim Geithner | 34 Comments »