People watch a video of President Barack Obama during a campaign rally Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Obama has begun a new effort to target women voters. | AP photo
Updated: June 11, 2012 9:18AM
Somebody needs to get on the phone and talk to Barack Obama’s campaign.
You’d think David Axelrod, who’s running the campaign from downtown Chicago, and his campaign cohorts already would’ve caught on and they’re just confident that America’s women voters won’t.
If that’s what they think, they’re mistaken. Astute women are figuring out Obama’s campaign message, and the more they understand it, the more insulted they are. Or should be.
Last week, the Obama campaign unveiled a new campaign slide show called “The Life of Julia,” advertising how important federal government programs are to American women’s lives.
The “Julia” campaign asserts that Republican candidate Mitt Romney and the GOP-controlled U.S. House are set on taking away all those publicly funded freebies that enable women to live contentedly — cared for from government-funded preschools all the way to tax-subsidized nursing homes.
But there’s a problem that the Democrats’ ploy fails to mention, and it’s become a big one in Illinois.
Obama’s Julia slide show says nothing about the states’ role in these programs. In most cases, the feds match state expenditures for entitlement programs such as day care, health care and emergency housing. And Obama has no control over state budgets.
And therein lies the problem with “The Life of Julia.”
Illinois is essentially broke. Illinois lawmakers have much less to spend, and because this financial mess has lasted longer than anticipated, all typical supplemental budget sources are tapped. Illinois is drowning in unpaid bills and can’t pay its share of what the federal government requires to fund Julia programs.
The lives of many Julias across Illinois are in distress, and the disappearance of these women-dependent programs has nothing to do with Romney or the budget-conscious Republican caucus in the U.S. House.
The threat of these necessary budget cuts is causing panic among many low-income women in Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn says it’s necessary to cut $2.7 billion in Medicaid funds, so some state-funded child care programs may be on the state’s chopping block.
“I will literally be out of a job if the program is cut,” one Franklin Park mother said. “I will end up on unemployment and in the welfare system. I will lose my apartment.”
Another major proposed change is to require retired state employees to pay a portion of their medical costs, something they’ve never had to do. For all those Julias who are retired and living on fixed incomes, that could be a substantial monthly burden.
The Legislature also is discussing whether it should dump pension funding for suburban and downstate teachers on local school districts, many of which, especially in property-poor areas, are running on very tight or deficit budgets.
Loading unpaid pension debt onto school districts could mean homeowners and business owners will be hit with substantial property tax hikes, making it tougher for struggling senior Julias to stay in their homes.
And women are supposed to be giddy about more “Julia living?” Despite Obama’s astounding appeal to women voters nationwide, his proposal is awful.
Liberated, educated women should be appalled that he believes we’re just fine with depending on government programs. Healthy, confident women want to, and are willing to, work for a way out of dependency on government assistance.
The answer is for government to help, but in the opposite way that Obama’s campaign suggests. The best way to help women is to enable more to start and build their own businesses, employ themselves and others and work their schedules with their families’ best interests in mind.
Such freedom and responsibility is truly liberating, and something Democrats, who say they love democracy and freedom, should be promoting.
During the 1960s, women asserted themselves by leaving their kids and husbands at home, marching in the streets, demanding equal rights and burning their bras. It was the “women’s liberation movement,” and it promised freedom from feminist-despised male control.
Fifty years later, those demonstrators’ political progeny are enticing American women back into dependency and subservience to the government and its insatiable demands.
“The Life of Julia” should have no appeal for modern women. And if Julia’s life is what Barack Obama envisions for us, we should want no part of it.
Fran Eaton is a Southland resident who co-founded and edits the conservative political blog illinoisreview.com.