According to news reports, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg told President Obama’s campaign that his polling numbers among women dropped so steeply after last week’s debate because he didn’t “speak to single women” and reassure them that he’s concerned about their issues. In post-debate polls, the president’s support among women has declined quite a bit. I’m skeptical that one debate caused such a cratering of support, but apparently the Obama campaign is doubling up on its efforts to speak to women and criticize Romney and the Republicans as being hostile to women in their stances.
However, their appeals are condescending, and in my opinion, more likely to backfire and turn off people of faith. Here’s an example: At George Mason University last Friday, Obama accused Romney of joining the far right in supporting a bill in Congress that allows employers to deny contraceptive insurance coverage to employees. The president said, “I mean, think about that — your boss telling you what’s best for your health and safety.”
If you listen to the Obama campaign, you’d think the bill was designed by Pat Robertson and supported by alumni from Bob Jones University. You’d also think the bill was a deliberate slap in the face to all women. Of course, all that is nonsense. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (here) has bipartisan support. It has 224 supporters in the House, a majority, including co-sponsor, Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski. The chief supporter is Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. (Read)
Another supporter of this “far right” legislation is liberal, pro-choice, Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut. In a recent column, Rep. Johnson eloquently states why she supports the same rights of conscience, referring to its U.S. Senate version:
“The Affordable Care Act for the first time in our history gives the federal government the right to mandate the benefits of a national insurance package. All plans on the exchanges and all employer plans, including those self-insured by an employer, will have to provide at least these benefits. Although the Affordable Care Act includes a narrow exception for places of worship, it does not include the full religious rights language of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act nor reflect the thinking on this subject of strong pro-choice senators such as Sens. Kennedy and Moynihan. If the administration mandated coverage of abortion in a bill without a conscience clause, the issue would have been joined clearly.” (Read)
Trying to trash religious freedom and paint it as anti-women is ham-handed and desperate. It will backfire if the Obama campaign keeps pushing it.