In the days since the unveiling of the Obama campaign’s cartoon Julia, critics on both the left and the right have laughed off the cradle-to-grave depiction of life with Big Brother handling everything for “its women”:
MSNBC’s Willie Geist: “They did lob this up as a softball for Republicans, one conservative saying, ‘Who the hell is Julia and why am i paying for her whole life?'”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Who brushes her teeth?”
How did the slick Obama campaign of 2008, the team that brought modernity, intellectualism, and cool back to D.C., end up making so many missteps this time around? (Remember how much fun #AttackWatch was?)
The marketing team at Obama HQ might as well be focus-grouping Rachel Maddow and Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.
In contrast, research I worked on at The Frontier Lab deciphered how Republican women view their GOP choices for the presidential nomination. The results show that moderate and conservative women certainly won’t respond to the paternalistic message of Obama’s Julia campaign.
If anything, rather than seeking a president to stand-in as a father figure, they’re asking their president to bear up to the same scrutiny that they’d ask a potential mate to withstand. Will our president have solid principles? Will the candidate be a partner in keeping our finances safe? Will they stand up for our values and fight when necessary?
Given Obama’s seemingly off-base characterization of what American females seek in a president, can the Republicans convert this into a win? It starts with leaving the Obama gender stereotypes behind; the ball’s in Romney’s court.