Has Barack Obama resolved the hard feelings between Hillary Clinton supporters and his campaign yet? Not if Marie Cocco gives us any indication. Cocco detects a patronizing pattern in the way Obama addresses women and their issues. His waffling on abortion revealed more of the tone that angered women in the primaries and helped drive a gender wedge between Democrats, and it doesn’t appear to be improving:
Somewhere along Barack Obama’s winding road through the red states, he lost me. It happened when he talked about women who are “feeling blue.”
Obama says that these women should not be able to obtain a late-term abortion, because just “feeling blue” isn’t the same as suffering “serious clinical mental health diseases.” True enough. And totally infuriating. …
One thing is certain: Obama has backhandedly given credibility to the right-wing narrative that women who have abortions — even those who go through the physically and mentally wrenching experience of a late-term abortion — are frivolous and selfish creatures who might perhaps undergo this ordeal because they are “feeling blue.”
Cocco notes that this isn’t the first time Obama has trivialized women in his campaign. He told reporters in Detroit that Hillary Clinton would attack him when she felt “down” in order to brighten her day. Obama notoriously dismissed a female reporter with the endearment “sweetie” and refused to answer her question. Last month, Obama told women in the Congressional Black Caucus to “get over it” (the primaries) and said he didn’t have the time to address the bruised feelings of Democratic women.
Obama is finding out how difficult it is to navigate through the shoals of identity politics. His foray into the evangelical community gave him yet another opportunity to stumble on a flip-flop, this time on abortion, about the worst possible topic to garble when attempting to unite Democratic women. Cocco doesn’t buy his clarification, but worse than his vacillation is the contemptuous tone Obama takes when discussing the issue.
If Obama can’t do any better than this, he will find himself short on enthusiasm in Denver and beyond. Democratic women have already made clear that he needs to mend his ways if he expects their support. If he can’t be bothered, many of them won’t be bothered to support him in November.