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What if the White House held an Easter Egg Roll without any Easter eggs? There would be a lot of unhappy children and the adults would be left wondering what the White House was thinking. Well, the White House just held a forum on women and the economy and guess what was missing? Any substantive discussion of the economy, that’s what. What were they thinking?
A recent Gallup poll lists Americans’ greatest concerns in this order:
Contraception comes in dead last in priorities, but many in the media would have you think it’s the only issue of importance to women. Not even close. As they go about their everyday lives, American women are faced with rising gas prices, which have doubled since Obama took office; rising grocery prices, which are necessarily rising due to high gas prices; and unemployment, which, for women, has risen from 7.0 percent to 8.1 percent under Obama.
Knowing that women are suffering in today’s economy, you would think President Obama would welcome the opportunity to address the issues that so profoundly affect them. And you’d think a White House forum on women and the economy would be the ideal scenario in which to do this. You’d be wrong.
In what sounded curiously like a campaign speech, President Obama’s address to the attendees, made up largely of women representing progressive causes, was merely an opportunity to pander to his base. Early in his remarks, the president told the audience, “Women are not an interest group. You shouldn’t be treated that way.” If that is true, why does BarackObama.com, Obama’s campaign website, have “Women” listed under “Groups”? And why did he squander the chance to prove he believes his own words by engaging the women present in a substantive discussion of issues instead of giving a speech filled with self-congratulatory rhetoric?
There’s a reason only liberal women were invited to attend the forum, while moderate and conservative women were left out. There’s a reason, when discussing healthcare, Obama emphasized the fact that adult women can remain on their parents’ policies while ignoring the fact that the reason they need to do so is because they can’t find jobs. And that reason is because President Obama needs the women vote to win re-election and he needs women to think he’s helping them, even though his policies do not bear this out.
The women in attendance should have been outraged that the president avoided solutions-based talk of gas prices, grocery prices, unemployment remaining above 8 percent for a record-breaking 38 straight months, the national debt closing in on $16 trillion, and the fact that more women than ever are living in poverty. Instead, they rewarded Obama’s avoidance of these issues by chanting “four more years,” thus confirming that the White House never intended the “women and the economy” forum to be a serious discussion of issues. The audience let themselves be played and, in so doing, let down their so-called “sisters” who are suffering because of the woeful economy.
Unfortunately for President Obama, there are plenty of women in this country who are wondering if they can take “four more years” of his policies and his failure to take women’s concerns seriously. Plenty of them think, when it comes to his handling of the economy, President Obama has laid an egg.
Teri Christoph is the co-founder of Smart Girl Politics, a non-profit organization for conservative women, and co-chair of She-PAC, a hybrid PAC supporting conservative women candidates. Follow her on Twitter: @TeriChristoph.