By Matt Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON – While it may have lacked two-for-one drink specials, Tuesday night definitely was ladies night at the Democratic Party National Convention in Charlotte.
And the woman who is arguably Wisconsin’s most vocal U.S. Representative stood in the center of the DNC’s opening night feminine mystique.
To the pumping strains of Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman,” Congresswoman Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, took the stage with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and a group of fellow “Democratic Women of the House.”
Pelosi opened the pre-Primetime session declaring that the Democratic man of the hour – incumbent President Barack Obama – is “committed to reigniting the American Dream and the ideal that if you are willing to work hard and play by the rules and take responsibility, you will have the opportunity to climb the ladder to success.”
That climb is made all the harder for women, earning 77 cents lower per hour for every dollar men make, the Women of the House asserted. A Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan administration would only make life harder for grandmothers, mothers, daughters and granddaughters, the lawmakers said, hammering home one of the Democrats’ sharpest talking points, a Republican-led “War on Women.”
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, said the Obama-led American Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, made health care a “right not a privilege,” giving women the “services they deserve – including birth control.” The crowd erupted in applause.
“No longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition,” Maloney said. Asserting that Republican leadership left women out of important policy decisions, the New York Democrat shouted, “Where are the women? Where are the women?” Answering her question in rising voice to rising cheers, “We’re here!” The Women of America are here.”
Moore spent her allotted time mostly laying out her resume on legislation ostensibly aimed at strengthening laws to protect women against violence. She took aim at Republican male House leadership.
“They tried to change the definition of rape,” Moore said to a chorus of boos.
A Washington Post story published in the heat of the Todd Akin “legitimate rape” firestorm noted that earlier this year Republicans did launch an effort to establish “forcible rape” as one area where federal funds could be allocated for abortion.
“That got a lot of attention but, in terms of actually redefining rape, it had little impact,” according to the Aug. 21 story. “Republicans tossed out that language in the face of public outcry, and redrafted to cover all rape cases. Even then, the law has sat dormant since May 4, 2011 — passed by the House but untouched by the Senate.”
For the record, during her brief speech Tuesday, Moore did not sing – an act more than a few Republicans called unconscionable after the Milwaukee congresswoman performed her parody “Hit the Road, Scott” amid the recall campaign of Gov. Scott Walker.
Paul Knuth, Oneida County Democratic Party chairman, watched the opening night of the convention from the comfortable confines of his northern Wisconsin home. He said he loved what he heard on the national stage.
“It was especially appropriate for Wisconsin Democrats that it was Women’s Night in the country,” he said, noting that the majority of candidates running for office in the Badger State’s 7th Congressional District the election year are women.
Knuth, who was last a delegate at the turbulent 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, asserts Walker and a Republican-led Legislature in the last session produced a “war on women’s rights” in Wisconsin over the past couple of years.
Ben Sparks, spokesman for the Romney campaign in Wisconsin, said the “War on Women” rhetoric is another diversion from President Obama’s failed record.
“They’re resorting to the same shameful tactics to try to divide Americans with baseless and false attacks – and it’s clearly not working,” Sparks said.
“Women are not an interest group. They are Americans who are adversely affected by the negative effects of the Obama economy, just like everybody else. Which is why women have shown their staunch support for Gov. Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan: because they are the only candidates in this race who are bringing real solutions to the table,” the spokesman added.
Obama’s personal popularity has dropped 7 percentage points since April, according to an ABCNews/Washington Post poll released Tuesday night.
For the first time since taking office, more women rated the president unfavorable than favorable, according to the poll.
Obama also posted the lowest personal popularity rating overall of any incumbent presidents going into a convention since the 1980 – just 47 percent, according to the poll, conducted Aug.29-Sept. 2. A random sample of more than 1,000 registered voters were contacted via landline and cell phone.
Romney appears to have gotten a post-Republican Party convention bounce, but his favorability numbers remain lower than Obama’s.
Among all Americans, Romney scored a 40 percent favorability rating, 47 percent unfavorable, according to the poll. That’s better than last week’s 35-51 percent.
A Gallup poll released earlier in the day showed no bounce for Romney.
Heard that before?
Pelosi may not be thrilled to that learn she, presumably unwittingly, lifted a line from the Wisconsin’s incumbent Republican governor, the bane of the Badger State Democratic Party, when she declared that politics should “not be about the next election but next generation.”
Walker, speaking during last week’s Republican Party National Convention in Tampa, Fla., said Romney and Ryan represent what the nation needs most: reformers — “leaders who think more about the next generation than the next election.”