by 99 Seats
This also happened. The Obama campaign launched "The Life of Julia" to highlight what the administration has done (and has been trying to do) to improve life in this country. It is, fairly obviously, also a campaign targeted to women (though not as much as you would think...I'll come back around to that). The Right went, well, ballistic, which means that it's probably pretty effective. This piece, by Dana Loesch, in particular, is illustrative of a couple of interesting things about this moment, both in politics and in culture.
The first this is something that Steve Benen has been talking about a lot this week: transactional politics. Loesch's assault on the Life of Julia consists of a heady blend of high dudgeon, outright lies and a constant attack on the policies of the Obama administration. What I find fascinating is that it completely ignores the other side of the ledger: what would would Mitt Romney (or any Republican president) actually do. Obama's Life of Julia is helpfully pegged along with that counterpoint; for every policy stated or enacted by the administration, there is an accompanying note about how a stated policy of Mitt Romney would undo it. Loesch's piece is full of scare tactics about the administration's actions (or potential, somewhat made-up actions), but virtually nothing about what Mitt Romney would do. If I was an undecided voter and I read this, I would know nothing about what Mitt Romney is planning to do, except that it's the opposite of what Obama has done. And I'm not even talking about general ideas of policies. I can't find a single, affirmative Romney-centered point in the whole thing. In fact, the closest she comes is, well, a prevarication: she attacks the administration for referring to the "Romney/Ryan budget," making a snide comment about Mitt Romney not being a senator. But Mitt Romney has said he'd enact the budget. And he's the other candidate running. So...unless you expect that he's lying about his intentions, it's fair to link him to that budget. In fact, that's just about all we have to go on in terms of what he would do, if elected.
What is Mitt Romney offering women? Or, really anyone. We don't know. Or rather, we do know, he just doesn't want to own up to it.
The other thing that I find interesting here is that this campaign is largely seen as an open plea to women. Loesch certainly goes deep on that one with her high dudgeon, complaining that men are totally absent from the picture and that Obama is implying that women can't make their own decisions. Even about abortion, which, apparently, is strictly enforced on all people at all times. (Yeah, I don't get that either.) Take a second and swing on over to the official site. Go on. Go click around. Look at the various milestones and events of Julia's life. By my count, there is exactly one and a half that are female-centric: the reference to the Lily Ledbetter act and the way it talks about having a child. All the rest would be exactly the same if it was The Life of James, instead of the Life of Julia. Julia here is an everyperson. That seems to have gone completely unnoticed, but I think is significant. The graphic requires a bit of empathy. Which seems to be something else the conservatives don't like. Or can't really do.
It's going to be a long campaign.