Mitt Romney's Heartless Advice to a Woman Whose Pregnancy Might Have Killed Her
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Romney—and Republicans in general—are experiencing a significant gender gap at the polls this election season, with the most recent poll conducted by the YWCA indicating that Obama is leading Romney by 49-31 percent with women voters. In respect to issues that most directly impact women, this should come as no surprise.
"Although Romney once supported Planned Parenthood and other services for women," says Linda Bergthold, Ph. D., a national health policy consultant based in California and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, "he is more recently on record saying he would shut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a program that serves millions of women in every state. He has also said he would support the overturn of Roe v. Wade and, if elected, would likely appoint a Supreme Court judge who shares that position. He has no record of support for equal pay for women or paid family leave, issues of major importance to women. He belongs to a political party whose base wants to cut Medicaid, a program that serves poor women, children and elderly in nursing homes, by a third over the next 10 years."
As Republicans gathered in Tampa to coronate Romney as their nominee, several Republican speakers mocked the Obama slogan of "Forward," calling instead, as noted by Rebecca Traister, Salon columnist and author of Big Girls Don't Cry, for a "moment back in time" when "only a select few—the white, the male, the straight, the Protestant—could reasonably expect to exert political or financial or social or sexual power."
In word and deed, Traister observed, Republicans "have been telegraphing their hope to return us to a moment not just before Roe, but before the birth-control pill, before the sexual revolution, before second-wave feminism hammered pesky terms like 'harassment' and 'equal pay' into our lexicon, to a moment when women's bodies and sexuality and identities were men's to define, patrol and violate at will." Romney, it would appear, is the perfect Republican candidate to bring us back to that patriarchal future.
Of course, one could argue that Romney's backward-looking view of the world is not limited exclusively to women's issues. In respect to economic policies, he would clearly like to revert to the days before workplace safety mandates, the progressive income tax, the right of workers to organize and regulatory controls of financial institutions.
His doubletalk at the first presidential debate last week in Denver about his various economic proposals—many of which directly contradict previous statements he has made—only help to underscore what Dushku has called his "capacity for duplicity" and "his lack of a moral center."
When Romney uttered his now-immortal comments at a Republican fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, about 47 percent of Americans being "victims" who think "that government has the responsibility to care for them," Dushku says that we were seeing the "real Romney."
"He sees other people in need as lazy and slackers," Dushku notes. "He doesn't acknowledge that the path he took was a privileged path, from his parents, that gave him distinct advantages."
Romney likes to say that his controversial role at Bain Capital was to "help out" other companies or "assist them" or "provide business expertise." It's a narrative that completely obfuscates the role that Romney and Bain were actually executing with their leveraged buyouts. Romney & Co. were corporate pirates—nothing more and nothing less—in the worst sense of the term.
In what has been the most important work of investigative journalism dealing with Romney's real record at Bain Capital (Rolling Stone, Aug. 29), Matt Taibbi described Bain's business practices as being driven by a "make-nothing, take-everything, screw-everyone ethos" and Romney himself as a "Gordon GekkoÉwithout the PR."