Is Mitt Romney a “Machista” or is it just a perception? That was the conversation I had this morning with several Latina moms and the answers had one common denominator, “The Republican party and Mitt Romney have chosen to make women's issues a negative agenda item,” said Christina Martinez, owner and CEO, Adelante Public Affairs & Communications and a contract lobbyist.
Latinas specially are very upset with Romney, setting aside that the candidate doesn’t speak to them, they feel he’s attacking them.
“A lot of the dialog with the Republican Party is out of touch with women and women’s health issues,” said Lisa Urias a mother of 2 girls.
For Urias, Romney’s proposal of getting rid of government aid to planned parenthood and his anti-choice platform was a personal attack, “I can’t imagine anyone restricting my 18 year old daughter access to physicians or when she wants to have children,” Urias added, who considers Romney’s remarks detrimental.
They say, women are from Venus are men are from Mars, so I ask myself, could that be the reason Romney doesn’t understand how women feel about reproductive issues?
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But whether you like Mitt Romney or not, the reality is, that he has attacked women on several issues not only contraception, “Republicans have a history of taking positions on different issues alienating women from the party, specially Latinas “ said Isidro Ortiz, professor of Political Science at San Diego State University.
But has Obama really helped women? What has he done for the advancement of women?
Without a doubt, one of the key achievements of Obama’s presidency is the
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which he signed into law in 2009, which provides women with more legal channels through which to purse equal pay for equal work and Romney hasn’t said he supports the law.
So, it’s no surprise that 58 percent of women voters support Obama and only 38 percent would vote for Romney, according to a PEW Research Center survey. The difference in support for a candidate among women is about as wide today as it was four years ago, when Obama led by 14 points among women.
In the 2008 election, 68 percent of Latina voters voted for Obama and he paid them back, as well as recognized that Latinos are an important group.
In 2009, he chose Hilda Solis as the first Latina to host the post of secretary of labor and thanks to the president, there’s a Latina Supreme Court Justice. However, Romney has made it clear he won’t support Sonia Sotomayor as a justice of the Supreme Court, because he says, they don’t share the same philosophy.
“Romney is not only out of touch with the average working American, he doesn’t understand the struggles the working poor have, or the average working family have, parents that absolutely have to work,” Urias said.
Latinas are known to be very sensitive and if they feel hurt or attacked they will strike back, “When Romney is invoking Russell Pearce as someone he wants to support because he thinks he has implemented fair immigration policy, what he needs to understand is that Arizona recalled Senator Pearce, because he was attacking immigrants and Hispanic people, “ Urias said.
But when it comes to immigration, Obama is not doing very well himself.
A lot of Latino families have been destroyed and separated from their kids and within the Latino community there’s a great concern about the impact of deportations of their families, “When Latinas look specifically at the immigration issues, they might be reluctant to vote for Obama,” Ortiz said.
And things could be a little tougher for Obama, after a Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said, stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney shouldn’t advise her husband about women’s economic issues.
“Stay-at-home-Moms may not get a pay check, but they often work harder than anybody and really have the most important job, they take the time to mentor their children and other people's children that may have both parents working, “said Carmen López.
The reality is, that this war on women is having one big effect on this part of the population. Latinas are paying close attention to every single word in this presidential election, “According to Romney, in the last four years, more women have lost their jobs than years past, but unemployment has hit men and women hard, “ said Amelia Santaella, a mother of two whose husband is unemployed, “When a politician lies, they lose my vote.”
What worries Latina moms the most is, that they haven’t heard a real dialog on real issues that are important to any citizen, such as the best options in terms of economic growth and what needs to be done to provide access to higher education for our children,
“The president and Romney, shouldn’t focus on social and personal issues, they should talk about the big picture,” Urias added.
The saddest part is that once again we are living during an election where Latinos might have only one choice, as we have yet to see an election where both parties compete for the Latino vote.
And someone must tell Romney this, the Latina vote will be a decisive factor this election like it was in 2008 and Latina voters who believe in hard work, are educated, smart and savvy women, can make an electoral decision and they might ask themselves the questions, who is the real Romney and can we trust him?