Obama claims to support women’srights, and he has done stuff to show that he’s not totally indifferent tofeminism. The first bill he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, whichensures that women can sue if they don’t receive equal pay for equal work. He alsoappointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, and Justices Sotomayor andKagan to the Supreme Court. He wouldn’t expand an unconstitutional refusalclause that would deny contraceptive coverage to women who have insurancethrough a religiously-affiliated institution. (This is clearly not acomprehensive list.)
However, Obama has also disillusionedfeminists, too. His Cabinet member Kathleen Sebelius nixed over-the-counter PlanB for girls under 16, despite the FDA’s approval. Despite the fact that he sayshe’s pro-choice, there have been dozens of cuts to women’s health care andabortion centers on the state level. And let’s not forget the brouhaha over theHyde and Stupak-Pitts Amendments. (This, too, is obviously not an all-inclusivelist.)
In addition to his subparperformance with women’s rights, his decisions regarding Israel havebeen downright outrageous. I don’t know the solution to the Middle East Crisis,but I can tell you that reverting to the 1967 borders is not it. Jews havefought and died to ensure that the West Bankis part of Israeli territory. The idea of giving it up is offensive, an affrontto the memories of the thousands of Israelis who have been killed while protectingtheir homeland. Suggesting such a thing is just as stupid as saying that Americashould go back to its 1812 borders.
The Republican candidates don’treally seem to be such great friends of feminism. Newt Gingrich has proudlystated that he’s anti-abortion and wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. Mitt Romneyactually claimed to be pro-choice in the past, but he now calls himself“unapologetically pro-life.” So while they’re not really on Team Woman, let’sall bear in mind that President Bush was an anti-choice Republican in the WhiteHouse for eight years, and abortion is still thank God 100% legal. (I’m nottrying to downplay any damage done during the Bush era, but it’s important tokeep everything in perspective here.)
While the Republicans areanti-choice, they are definitely pro-Israel. Gingrich wants to bolsterAmerican-Israeli ties, realizing that Israelis America’s only true allyin the Middle East. He even went so far as tosay, “I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in factArabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had achance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we havesustained this war against Israelnow since the 1940s, and it’s tragic.” Romney feels pretty much the same way asGingrich, adding that the reason there isn’t peace in the Middle East is because groups like Hamas have an agenda to destroy, notmake peace.
So this leaves me, as apro-Israel Jewish feminist, in a bit of a pickle. This is how I see it, inchart form, being measured in terms of bad, eh, or good:
Issue Obama Republicans
Women’s Rights Eh Bad
Israel Bad Good
It’s a sticky question with adifficult answer. But at the end of the day, what makes more sense - supportingbad + good or bad + eh? Obviously my mind may change by the time elections rollaround, but I really think I’m gonna endorse whoever’s running on theRepublican ticket.
Personally, I’m dying for DebbieWasserman Schultz to run for president, but that’s not gonna happen anytimesoon. Until then, I think a write-in vote campaign for Harry Potter will be ourbest bet.