Republicans target female constituency without success
By Napua Kalani
According to The Huffington Post, as of Sept. 3, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied at 45 percent in the polls. However, it is no secret President Obama leads in the polls among women and trails behind Romney among men.
At the Republican National Convention (RNC) this past week, the Republican strategy was clearly to target women, which isn’t a bad idea, considering Republicans have historically neglected to target a large and important portion of the American constituency. Americans know Romney is not a favorable candidate among women, and the RNC was the perfect time to garner female votes for November.
During the RNC, Republicans tried their best to ward off claims they are forging a “War Against Women.” Romney’s wife took the stage to appeal to average American women, without success.
Ann Romney tried as best she could to humanize her husband. She, much like Michelle Obama did for her husband four years ago, explained how she fell in love with Mitt Romney, and how America should, too. Although she convinced the audience she is a likeable woman, she did not convey how her husband could be a successful president.
When addressing women’s rights, she came off defeated and unsympathetic.
“I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better,” Ann Romney said, without offering resolution for the economic and reproductive rights problems facing women brought on by the Republican Party. Her speech would have worked wonders on women if we were still in the 1950s.
Former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce Jane Edmonds spoke about her time working with Mitt Romney during his governorship. She touched on his humanity, grace and kindheartedness, stating, “He is the real thing!” She goes on to explain how Mitt Romney is in office: not for himself, but for the people. But what people? The wealthy, Republican men of America? Despite her attempts to humanize Mitt Romney, Edmonds did not articulate to the audience how the average American woman could benefit from Mitt Romney’s possible future presidency.
As the first female African-American Secretary of State and revered political scientist, Condoleezza Rice’s speech was clearly the most memorable of the night. On the importance of helping others in the world such as those in Haiti, Uganda and southeast Asia, Rice said, “My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead, and one cannot lead from behind.” Her speech was well-written, energetic and truly patriotic, evoking feelings of love and trust in Americans for their country. Rice delivered a heartfelt and genuine feeling in her time on stage, surpassing other RNC speakers significantly. Yet when done, Rice’s speech seemed more like a political campaign for her own benefit and possible future presidential run. Rice offered the idea she could one day in the near future become president, saying, “And on a personal note: A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham . . . her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be President of the United States. And she becomes the Secretary of State.” Although she left the stage to roaring applause, Rice’s speech appeared mostly to be a political vehicle to secure a presidential nomination for 2016 or 2020.
Mitt Romney was very careful not to mention abortion or his stance on reproductive rights, but to adamantly say just how much he supports women. Yet in what way? The only strategy Romney had was to address the number of women he has been able to employ.
“As governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman lieutenant governor, a woman chief of staff [and] half of my cabinet and senior officials were women. In business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies,” Mitt Romney boasted.
The question still stands: How has Mitt Romney helped the average woman in America? Not the potential governor candidate, not the officials in his potential cabinet but the struggling college students like us. It is not enough to employ select women; he needs to be able to change the economic and personal rights of women everywhere.
The RNC was a ploy to attract women voters, but not to better their rights. It is not enough to appeal to women with guest speakers and spirited speeches. He needs to be able to create a policy that will be advantageous to women, which, in the end, is what really matters to female voters in this political campaign.
The entire convention can be looked at as one simple thing: a manipulation strategy. American women should never be easily fooled into thinking Romney supports their welfare.
Editor’s note: Opinion and Editorial writer Napua Kalani wrote this piece on the behalf of the staff.