Well, I think we’re on the next and final phase of conservatives trying to find a narrative that allows them to conduct all-out war on women while denying that’s what they’re doing: I’m rubber and you’re glue. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t latch on to this strategy sooner, honestly, since the ways of the petulant 5-year-old have always had tremendous appeal for those who classify themselves as “real Americans”. That the strategy requires heavy use of the non sequitur is considered no bar to using it.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Monday pushed back against claims that Republicans were attacking women’s rights and insisted that the “real war on women” was being directed by President Barack Obama.
“The real war on women is being conducted by the regime, by the Obama administration,” he explained. “Since Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate for women has gone up from 7 to 8.1 percent. … The poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent last year, up from 13.9 percent when Obama was immaculated.”
Since this attack is being directed by someone who appears to believe that Obama was “immaculated” instead of what really happened—he won a national election with a stunningly high percentage of the vote for these polarizing times—I suppose it will have traction with those who are as delusional as he. But even then, this is all a garbled mess. Let’s not even deal with the factual error, which of course is blaming the economic problems of the Bush administration on Obama. Let’s deal with the fact that in order to rationalize a war on women that’s being conducted in large part to keep women from competing economically with men, conservatives have resorted to pretending they give a shit about women’s economic wellbeing. The two major planks of the war on women are ultimately about keeping women economically dependent on men, which in turn conservatives hope will keep the power balance at home in favor of men. First, there’s the attempts to take away a woman’s right to control when she gives birth, which is ultimately about economics. Women who lose that control fare poorly in the job market, unable to structure their career in a way that allows them to move up like a man can, which in turn can allow women to exercise more power in the home, with men losing the “but I make more money, so I’m owed more service and decision-making power” excuse. Additionally, women hobbled by unwanted child-bearing can’t compete economically with men, which means people who are uncomfortable with female power in the workplace are going to support forced child-bearing.
The second plank of the war on women is to directly attack women’s right to equal pay for equal work. That’s why the Supreme Court ruled against Lilly Ledbetter, and that’s why Gov. Scott Walker just repealed equal pay protections in his state. In order of the high unemployment gambit to work, two things have to happen: 1) The facts have to be shoved aside. (The fact is that the unemployment crisis is on President Bush, and Obama’s efforts blunted it.) 2) The listener has to simulataneously get angry that women are unemployed while eagerly supporting policies that hurt women economically on purpose, because they don’t want women to do well. Now, wingnuts are perfectly capable of that level of cognitive dissonance, but I don’t see how that attack crosses the barrier into the mainstream. Functionally, Limbaugh is saying, “Don’t look at those of us trying to destroy women economically because women aren’t doing well economically, though better than they would if we were in charge, so if you support women, support those of us who are actively out to destroy them.”
In contrast, the claim that the “real racists” are people who oppose racism because they notice racism seems like it nearly makes sense.
Because of the tortured logic of the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” strategy, Fox decided just to skip even trying to make an argument. This the headline of example #2:
But if you read the actual article—which is about as hysterical and pointless as the headline would suggest—there is literally not a single word about the supposed war on women that Obama is suddenly conducting. No mention of wage equality, reproductive rights, women’s wellbeing at all. In fact, there’s no mention in the text of the article of women. The word “women” doesn’t appear in the text. Nor “woman”, nor “female”. Not even “girl”. The comments suggest that super wingnuts are making connections—they believe Muslims hate women, and they believe Obama is a secret Muslim, and that therefore that’s all you need to know—but again, not enough there to jump the mainstream media line.
Ironically, there is something the Obama administration has done that conservatives could howl about if they wanted to score some “both sides” points that would be embraced by a mainstream media eager to embrace that narrative regardless of the facts. Conservatives could point to the preposterous Plan B decision. Of course, doing so would be a tacit embrace of the notion that women have reproductive rights, even after a man has “claimed” their body by ejaculating in it. However, that women lose their human rights once they have sex with a man is the fundamental belief they’re pushing here, so I’m guessing they’re going to sidestep that easy hit.