The War on Women is About More than Lady Parts

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning is showing the President widening the gender gap, as women flee the Republican party like the plague they are.
A wide gender gap underlies the current state of the race. Romney is up eight percentage points among male voters but trails by 19 among women. [...]

In addition to his big lead among women — Obama won that demographic by 13 points in 2008 — the president is moving to secure other key elements of his winning coalition. As he did four years ago, he has overwhelming support from African Americans — 90 percent back his reelection effort — and he has a big lead among those ages 18 to 29. [...]

Obama continues to trail Romney by a big margin among white voters without college degrees, and he loses white men with college degrees by double digits, 57 to 39 percent. He counters with a big lead over Romney among white women who have a college degree or more education.
Translation: the only people voting Republican as a block are white males. Women are gone, people of color are gone, and gone by big margins.

Let me say for the record that I don't think women are running as fast as they can from the GOP just because of the Republican party's obsession with legislating lady-parts. That's a huge part of it, but that's not all of it. The Republican party has waged a war on women on economic and social issues. Let's get a few examples, shall we?

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: a total of 7 Republicans in the House and the Senate voted for it. 209 Republicans voted against equal pay for women. In 2009.
Unemployment benefits extension: Women tend to be more vulnerable to layoffs in a recession, and the Republicans fought tooth and nail against extending unemployment insurance benefits in the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.

Payroll tax cut: Women tend to earn lower wages (hence we needed the Lilly Ledbetter legislation), working women - especially working women with children - tend to be under poverty more often than men and thus pay a greater share of their taxes in the form of payroll taxes, and the only tax cuts Republicans ever demanded be paid for are the president's payroll tax cuts, the first tax reduction for the working poor in memory.

Pell grants and student assistance: Women outnumber men among college students. Through all the GOP calls for austerity, President Obama has zealously protected and strengthened the Pell grant program, along with the federal investment in higher education. President Obama overhauled the student loan system, cutting the subsidy for banks out of the process and using that money to expand opportunity for students. Do you know how many Republicans voted for this? None.

Medicaid, food assistance, and other programs for the poor: President Obama's budget restores previous cuts to the nutrition assistance program and protects the most vulnerable in our society. Paul Ryan's budget all but eliminates assistance programs for the needy - disproportionately women and children. Ryan's budget would also end Medicaid's expansion under the Affordable Care Act and turn the program into an block grant program for states and limit spending regardless of cost, forcing more people out of Medicaid. As you know, Mitt Romney loves Paul Ryan.

Social Security and Medicare: Women live longer and earn less than men, necessitating their greater participation and reliance on these New Deal programs. Women represent 57% of all social security beneficiaries, and 68% of beneficiaries above 85. The Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare is to end it as we know it.

The bottom line is women have a far more vested interest in a fairer, more equitable society and a stronger social safety net. The Republicans are not simply offending women's sensibilities by meddling in women's health care and family planning; they are messing with women by attacking the social safety net, programs for the poor and the elderly, as well as students. Republican talking heads are right that women are not a monolithic voting group. But they are real people with real interest in seeing a fairer society with more opportunity and a stronger safety net. And the Republican party has completely divorced itself from both.