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Obama’s Debate Memes Highlight His Own Failures

Just how desperate is the Obama campaign after the last two debates? One only has to look at the themes they’ve pulled from Romney’s statements to show just how low the Obama campaign’s messaging has sunk. After the first debate, the Obama campaign played up Mitt Romney’s comments on Big Bird, encouraging memes, emphasizing scare tactics on the death of a beloved children’s character at the hands of his Republican opponent. After the most recent debate, Obama is campaigning on Mitt Romney’s comments on “binders full of women,” which I defended earlier today. Today in New Hampshire, the president inserted language on the binders into his stump speech, telling the crowd: 

See, we don’t have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now.  (Applause.)  And when these young women graduate, I want them to receive equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)

The first bill President Obama signed after he took office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 — a bill that was supposed to guarantee women a chance to challenge pay discrimination based on gender. As with most problems (real or imagined), a liberal’s first response is to legislate and regulate. According to liberals’ own standards, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Obama’s first crowning achievement, has failed. If liberals insist on continuing to perpetuate misleading statistics on equal pay for women, they also have to admit that this aspect of Obama’s record is a failure.

Even within Obama’s own White House, a wide pay disparity exists between male and female employees. The Washington Free Beacon reported on their findings in April of this year:

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

The Free Beacon also pointed out the myriad ways the White House has been a difficult place for women to get ahead:

The president has demonstrated a strong preference for all-male foursomes in his frequent golf outings, a bias that extends well beyond the putting green and into the Oval Office.

“Women are Obama’s base, and they don’t seem to have enough people who look like the base inside of their own inner circle,” former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers told the New York Times.

In a 2011 article titled “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has a Woman Problem,” TIME magazine’s Amy Sullivan detailed the president’s fondness for male-dominated environments.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama was criticized for paying the women on his campaign staff less than the men, and far less than GOP opponent John McCain paid his female staffers.

Last year, women in the White House were in the news with the release of a book by Ron Suskind that had some fairly unflattering comments from Obama’s own staff on the Obama White House. Anita Dunn, who now serves as an Obama debate coach, said the following: “this place would be in court for a hostile workplace. . . . Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

According to any measurable standard, the Obama White House has failed women–both women who work in it and American women on the whole. The number of American women living in poverty has reached a record high during Obama’s tenure and the recession, which has only worsened on Obama’s watch, has affected women as well as men.

The first theme Obama’s team pounced on after the first debate was keeping Big Bird’s paycheck signed by the U.S. Treasury. Another version of Barack Obama was the candidate who in 2008 ran on restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington. He promised to reduce the deficit by half. Instead, we’ve seen it doubled in three short years. Mitt Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has called this Obama’s “worst broken promise.” Four years later, President Obama is running on giving away money we don’t have to a business (Sesame Workshop) that doesn’t need it.

While Big Bird and binders may make for great Tumblr posts for already committed supporters, they do little to sway undecided voters who want to hear more substantial messaging from the president of the United States. If the Romney campaign really wanted to turn the tables on Obama, they could use Big Bird and binders to highlight how these memes are actually representative of failings of the Obama White House’s record on the deficit and gender equality, respectively.


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