There are surely women who prioritize gender-specific issues such as easy access to contraception and abortions when deciding whom to vote for in a presidential election. And these are women who can be counted on to vote Democrat every time.
But there is no such thing as a monolithic women's vote, argues Ramesh Ponnuru in his latest column at Bloomberg, and the Romney campaign is making a big mistake by acting as though such a voting bloc exists.
Take the graphic at the right, for instance. Over the past week, Romney has attempted to make the case that the real "war on women" is being waged by the Obama administration, which has presided over massive female job losses. The Romney campaign has gone so far as to claim that precisely 92.3% of jobs lost under Obama's watch belonged to women.
Trying to reframe the "war on women" meme in this way is an exercise in futility. Women certainly do care about their own employment prospects and the economy at large, but these aren't strictly "women's issues." Why use language that suggests that they are? "Making an issue of the statistics about job loss by gender will come back to haunt Republicans," warns Ponnuru. He continues,
Romney claims that 92 percent of those lost since Obama took office belonged to women. Does he have any plan, as president, to ensure that women get the right percentage of jobs? Does he realize that cuts in aid to state governments -- like the Medicaid cuts that are an important part of his agenda -- would inflict disproportionate job losses on women?
Romney should absolutely communicate his plan to spur economic growth and job creation, but he's not fooling anyone, nor helping his case, when he panders to women on the basis of their gender. The sort of woman who would ever even consider voting for Mitt Romney in the first place isn't the sort of woman who responds to a candidate's appeal to her sex.