As Republicans in all levels of government have been so busy waging their War on Women on a gazillion different fronts, Barack Obama's team has been equally busy trying to craft a message that appeals to all of the disenchanted women on the right and in the center but that also reminds women on the left that they have to get active (preferably by voting for him) if they want to protect the rights they've worked so hard to get. To that end, today the Obama campaign released a video from feminist icon Gloria Steinem that hits the nail so hard on the head it actually hurts your heart a little bit. Steinem launches right into talking about why Obama has such a good record of standing up for women:
He understands that women are absolutely full human beings. He has a good heart, a good mind, treats people with dignity, doesn't court conflict, and represents, I think, the best in this country.
Yikes. It seems like just a few years ago that you didn't have to state that women were full human beings; it was implied in most discussions. The fact that she has to say it outright is a sad sign of just how fast we've sped in reverse in the past year or two. But what's so compelling about this ad is that it's not a scare-mongering piece that tries to gin up frenzied concern about what will happen to our reproductive rights if Republicans are elected this year—really there's no need for her to do that because the Republicans are doing a fine job of scaring the shit out of us every time they open their mouths.
Instead, Steinem focuses on where we can go from here. This kind of positive looking-toward-the-horizon-where-greater-things-await-us is a signature Obama campaign move. (That's why he's famous for "Yes We Can" not "We're Fucked.") And it works to perfection here coming from Steinem. She argues that Obama understands how to make actual women's lives better, mentioning pay equality and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She discusses how Obama's health care reform bill saves women money by ending gender rating in health insurance, and then she finally touches on contentious issue of reproductive rights: