I was just over at FiveThirtyEight, which I read compulsively, and I was bothered by the McCain ad that's been running at the top of the page.
Obama TALKS BIG on Equal Pay for Women
--as a disembodied Obama head, eyes askance with an ominous shadow darkening his brow to better convey the appearance of a scowl, actually floats across the screen--
But the Women in His Office Make $0.83 on the Dollar. Obama All Talk LEARN MORE
To click on the thing, of course, is to be directed to the McPailin campaign page. If the pseudo-Ebonics of the ad itself aren't enough to clue you in: you're going to lose brain-cells if you even attempt to follow the logic of this gambit.
So why does this ad feel like deja-vu?
It just hit me: because it completely rips off the theme of an anti-McCain ad that's been out for a couple weeks now-- a Wakeup Walmart ad highlighting McCain's slimy work against Equal Pay legislation in the Senate:
The equal pay for women issue was everywhere in Denver. As I wrote then, the Tuesday of the convention may have been the official "women's day" but considering how often the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act made it into speeches, whether in the California delegation breakfast, the EMILY's List gala or inside the Pepsi Center -- you'll recall that even Lily Ledbetter herself was there, it became crystal clear that the Obama campaign saw this issue as their ace in the hole with women voters. Back in April, Republicans killed the bill in The Senate where a cloture motion only received 56 of the required 60 votes to proceed to debate. John McCain didn't show up for that vote but later said that he would have opposed the bill if it had gotten an up or down vote.
The Obama campaign has turned his opposition to it into an ad now playing in Virginia (h/t Ben Smith.)
Notice how they turn McCain's opposition to this bill into more evidence that he is "out of touch with the economy." Also, I have to say, I know using black and white to depict ones opponent is pretty much political advertising 101, but I really like the sort of tinted B&W effect the McCain shots have here. It has the impact of reinforcing McCain as "olde fashioned" and, as Paris would say, from the "olden days;" it feels almost as though the footage is from news reel footage shown in movie theatres in the early 20th century or perhaps even from a silent film. They should use that more. It almost singlehandedly frames McCain's age not as a health issue but instead as a "from the past" issue and, hence, a step backward; by extension it casts Obama as the future, in a word, "change."
I thought the funniest moment of last night was PBS' Jim Lehrer clarifying that "not all veterans are Democrats." That's obviously true, but General McKinney, Beau Biden and the rest of the Veterans for Obama made such an impressive case, I can't hold it against someone for thinking it needed to be said. But how's the convention watching been treating you, any highlights or press lowlights on your mind?
Update [2008-8-28 6:33:22 by Natasha Chart]: And if the network you were watching didn't show Beau Biden's introduction of Sen. Biden, I recommend it. While he only alluded to the fact that he'll be deploying to Iraq this fall with his Army National Guard unit, he made a point of saying that his father had written the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
VAWA told thousands of victims of domestic violence that the federal government had their backs, that they didn't have to stay in abusive partnerships. It's legislation that not only bettered lives, but doubtless saved lives. And it's important that it be brought up not only for its own sake, but in illustration of the fact that feminist and women's issues also include safety in public and private, basic human dignity, access to education, fair pay and health care.
Conservatives would like to equate even women's right to vote with abortion, as if there was only that one issue. An issue that they use to show their contempt for women by saying that our lives are worth less than a single cell and that our moral agency is so poor that we need others to make our medical decisions. An issue spawned of their own racist condescension and lack of concern for everyone who's already been born. An issue that's been easy for them to demonize. 'Oh, those feminist harpies, they just hate babies.'
Why listen to a monster like that, even if she talks about equal pay, children's health care, or getting nutritious food to impoverished new moms? She's a monster, after all. It must be a trick.
When alleged liberals join the fun by reducing women's issues to one thing, albeit a very important one, abortion, they indicate to me that they haven't been paying attention. (Even the reproductive justice debate is broader than that, as we've seen with the Bush administration's opposition to contraception.) When they bring it down to one issue, they show that they have just as one-dimensional a view of feminism, and of women's needs, as conservatives. But the speakers at this year's DNC know better, the Obama campaign clearly knows better, and Joe Biden seems to have known better for a long time.
I have problems with stances that both Obama and Biden have taken on related topics, but their showcasing of several important gender equity issues leads me to believe that in these, they will try to act out of respect and good faith. It's a laudable improvement over the travesties supported by John McCain and the rest of the George Bush Republicans.
All over the country, pundits, politicians, and probably even Barack Obama himself are asking the same question:
What do Hillary Clinton supporters want?
Now is the time to contact the Obama campaign or surrogates directly and give them the answer to that question.
Of course the Clinton supporters will have to decide how to answer that question, and for many the only answer will have to do with giving Clinton the veep spot or another high level post. but i would respectfully suggest that it is time to move beyond support for a single candidate and ask Obama to address ALL feminist issues.
And there will NEVER be a better time to do it than right now.
A woman who spends years in medical school emerges to take her place alongside a panoply of male physicians--who, on average, make 38 percent more than she does. Female attorneys fare better--they make 30 percent less than their male counterparts. But it's not just a matter of higher pay for men in traditionally male occupations: Male registered nurses are paid 10 percent more than women--even though 90 percent of RNs are women.
This data, from a report by the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, touches on just one of the many "challenges," to utilize a euphemism, U.S. working women face today.