As women’s rights advocate Gloria Feldt explained at the Huffington Post today, she has joined the chorus of those who have been experiencing misgivings lately about supporting Barack Obama. In fact, Feldt says she just tore up her invitation to an Obama fundraising event this evening, having decided not to donate $4600 to his cause.
Feldt had initially found her way to Obama from Hillary Clinton’s suspended campaign :
“I supported Hillary Clinton in the primary because I believe she's the most capable of meeting the enormous challenges the next president will face undoing the damage to women's rights, health, and justice caused by Bush. Still, I've admired Obama since I met him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Later, in Washington after he was elected to the Senate, I sensed he was genuine in his commitment to women's equality. So, despite my still-raw feelings about Hillary's concession, I was prepared to go forward this week and commit full support to Obama.”
The former Clinton supporter describes her gathering misgivings about the Dems’ recently selected presumptive nominee:
“During the last two weeks, the thunderclouds of doubt have gathered ever more ominously until they cast Obama's character into serious question. First there was a distant rumbling in his sudden support for FISA, followed by his support for the Supreme Court's ruling expanding the right to handguns. His statements about religion in public life and intentions to expand faith based funding programs were nervous making, though he did temper his comments with talk of Constitutional protections for church-state separation.
“By the time he spoke to an evangelical group, sounding for all the world like he was withdrawing his long held opposition to the Federal abortion ban by running, not walking, down the slippery path of parsing what reasons for abortion the law may deem acceptable or not -- infantilizing woman and devaluing their moral capacity and human right to exercise it -- I was seriously questioning whether this man would have the necessary mettle to withstand any challenges at all. Or worse, is he just another politician swaying with the winds and running for cover at the hint of a little thunder?”
Feldt says the last straw for her was Obama’s quote about sex education as it appeared in Relevant Magazine:
“Obama: I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that "mental distress" qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions...”
“In the big picture, Obama's character begins to appear as someone who is quick to deflect, demur, defer to his challengers. The dreaded flip-flopper, whom voters always see as a loser. When the frame is focused on reproductive rights and health specifically, we see a candidate who is either uninformed (not likely) or speaks with an unacceptable lack of moral center about abortion, sex education, and family planning.
“I truly hope Obama will have sense enough to come in out of the rain of his self-induced controversy and recognize that he's a lot more likely to persuade women like me to support him than he is to get the votes of those who press for him to betray his previously stated pro-woman principles and will almost certainly abandon him at the ballot box anyway.
“For now, he has a long way to go to convince me my $4600 would be a good investment.”