I believe pay equality is a very important issue; it’s something I’ve written about frequently. And I’m all for broadening the boundaries of what are considered key “women’s issues,” from family-medical leave, to universal health care and early childhood education, to a human rights-driven foreign policy. But you have to admit there’s something intriguing about the Obama campaign’s decision to play the pay gap issue as hard as they have, even as Obama made ill-informed comments about “mental distress” and late-term abortion last week while speaking to an anti-choice Christian magazine.
John McCain wants to overturn Roe and voted against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Obama is choosing to attack him loudly on Ledbetter, but not on Supreme Court appointments. Furthermore, by focusing on Ledbetter, Obama is associating himself with legislation that was near and dear to Hillary Clinton‘s heart, and that she mentioned from the stump far more frequently than Obama did during the primaries.
It’s fantastic that Obama is talking about pay equality and the disproportionate way in which poverty and inequality affect women. And if elected, he’ll make Supreme Court appointments that will limit the further erosion of abortion rights at the federal level. But Obama is just not using his progressive reproductive justice platform as a talking point, which does raise questions about how he will prioritize those issues if elected.
Update: At Politico, Avi Zenilman makes a good point about this: “In his outreach to Clinton donors and supporters, Obama continuously points to equal pay — he doesn’t push abortion, which many suspected he would do to convince disaffected Clintonites that they should vote for him.”
cross-posted at TAPPED