With Paul Ryan VP Pick, Romney Finally Gives Up On Women Voters
1:25 pm, August 13th | by Amy Tennery
From Rush Limbaugh and Slut-gate to the Affordable Care Act and its contraceptive coverage goodness, this election cycle has focused intensely on women. And, so far at least, the numbers show women favor Obama. In fact, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Obama leads Romney among women voters by a staggering 14-point margin.
Yes, Mitt Romney has a problem with women. We all know that. And with Romney’s running mate selection, one can only assume the presumptive GOP candidate has given up any pretense that he gives a crap about the woman vote.
To be clear, I’m not saying Paul Ryan lacks any running mate chops at all, objectively speaking. In an election that (also) focuses heavily on U.S. spending, he’s the Republican budget architect nonpareil. He’s youthful but not inexperienced. He’s conservative but independent enough to buck the party line when he sees fit (he is, dare I say, a Maverick?). He’s anything but boring — and he has name recognition.
He is also completely, unapologetically at odds with many initiatives that help women.
Where do we start? He’s among the most vehement anti-reproductive rights politicians in the country. He believes women should be denied access to abortions, even in cases of rape and incest (despite credible statistics that show roughly 40 percent of American women have had abortions). He wants to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which provides preventive healthcare to 45 million previously uninsured women. He’s backed legislation to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, a move that would deny U.S. women roughly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually. He also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Ryan often cites his Catholic faith as a motivating factor in his social politics. And yet the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops distanced itself from Ryan this past spring, citing what it believed were unfair cuts to family aid in his budget plan. The famous Nuns on a Bus also denounced Ryan’s budget agenda. He’s borderline Libertarian — except when he doesn’t really feel like it, which is usually in instances where social politics come into play.
I’m not saying that all women support abortion access, birth control coverage, mammograms for women who can’t afford them, access to all forms of in vitro fertilization, laws that would help women advocate for equal pay, being able to get an abortion after someone rapes you and not having your doctor face criminal charges for it, federal aid for poor families and things of that nature. But when you pick a running mate that’s against all those things you’re boxing out a lot of women.
Am I a little salty that Romney didn’t pick a female running mate? Sure. After all, there are plenty of competent, recognizable women (who have not had reality T.V. shows) who would have been great picks. But Romney’s inability to install someone at all moderate on women’s issues — someone whose pro-women claim to fame extends beyond his choice to vote in favor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act — is disturbing. Has Romney thrown in the towel on women voters? It certainly seems that way.