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The message to men from the current administration is a not-so-subtle you-don’t-matter. ObamaCare supports numerous offices of women’s health despite the life expectancy of American males trailing the life expectancy of American females by more than five years. Where’s the Office of Men’s Health? Kathleen Sebelius’s Health and Human Services boasts a womenshealth.gov website. Search for the menshealth.gov site. It isn’t there. Instead, clicking on one of six tabs on the womenshealth.com site takes the browser to nineteen subtopics, one of which is “men’s health.” Earlier this month, the administration hosted a White House Forum on Women and the Economy. The male unemployment rate actually eclipses the female unemployment rate. The president created by executive order a White House Council on Women and Girls in his first months in office. What about the fellas?
From sex-based affirmative action to the birth-control mandate requiring insurance to provide a product that men pay for but can never use, Democrats advance policies to help women that sometimes come at the expense of men. This has electoral consequences.
Democrats imagine women as an interest group. But the notion of forging a male identity politics seems too preposterous to fathom. Yet, in a round-about way, Democrats have unintentionally fostered this disadvantageous situation. Of course, one can’t speak of the “men’s vote” in the same way that one speaks of a fairly homogenous “black vote” or “evangelical vote.” The interests of men, like those of women, are too diverse to fit into a genuine voting bloc. But men have proved far more loyal to Republican presidential candidates than women have to Democratic presidential candidates. In the last eight presidential elections, Republicans won a majority of women voters three times (whereas Democrats didn’t once win a majority of male voters). So why does all the talk about a gender gap revolve around Republican presidential candidates?
The narrative has less to do with documenting the past than it has to do with scripting the future. Barack Obama won with 56 percent of women’s ballots in 2008. His party got “shellacked” in 2010’s House races with the support of just 49 percent of American women. The president will no longer be president if women vote in 2012 as they did in 2010.
Contra Wasserman Schultz’s claims, it is Obama—not his enemies— “turning back the clock for women.” The president needs women to behave in the ballot box in 2012 as they did in 2008 if he is to win a second term. But there is no magic number of “war on women” incantations that can turn a ballot box into a time machine.
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