Meet the mothers of contention


Being a mom is tough. All the tantrums. All the excuses for bad behavior. All the clinging and tugging. All the messes to clean up.

You think I’m ripping on kids? Please. Children are a blessing and a blast.

I’m referring to politicians.

Our elected officials and candidates for office sure love moms. Single moms. Soccer moms. Working moms. Churchgoing moms.

Politicians love making pitches and promises to mothers. Especially among Democrats, if a campaign message or policy initiative doesn’t test well with the mom set, it’s dropped like a pacifier on a supermarket floor. Most voters are women. Most women are mothers. And most women back Democrats.

Mother’s Day is a good time to remind women in general and moms in particular that it’s an election year, and as such they’ll be subjected to all kinds of proposals — of the political kind. A lot of them are too good to be true.

Democrats’ push for a minimum wage increase? It’s all about keeping and winning the votes of women and moms. Some 60 percent of minimum wage workers are female. About two-thirds of tip earners are women. And two-thirds of children whose families are headed by their mother are considered low-income. Never mind that a dramatic increase in the federal minimum wage would, at a minimum, cost untold thousands of moms their jobs.

Obamacare? Democrats tailored the Affordable Care Act to women, incorporating maternity, newborn and pediatric care and contraception into the law’s essential benefits. The law also prohibits insurers from charging women higher premiums than men. Unfortunately, the cost of those mandates sent everyone’s premiums skyrocketing and canceled the plans of millions of moms and families as a result.

Universal preschool? Head Start and other government-sponsored early education programs have made no difference in long-term student achievement. But Democrats know the biggest selling point of universal preschool for low- and moderate-income households is the financial savings moms will realize by having their children in fully subsidized child care a year or two before kindergarten. When child care bills are reduced or go away completely, it’s like getting a huge pay raise. But are those savings worth putting a child in an inferior early education program?

Equal pay? It’s already illegal for employers to discriminate based on gender, and it’s illegal to pay a woman less than a man for the same job. Democrats back the Paycheck Fairness Act not because it would lead to immediate pay raises for women, but because it would make it easier for lawyers to sue employers and collect punitive damages, while making it harder for companies to defend themselves. The legislation is a political hammer, an instrument to attack Republicans, not something that will truly help women.

The poll numbers aren’t looking good for Democrats this year. They can’t run on their record. So they’re ramping up their warnings of a Republican “war on women” to boost their chances. They’re pandering to moms like never before.

But more and more mothers are catching on to the fact that Democrats have been waging their own war on women by discouraging job creation, limiting upward mobility, making energy and college more expensive, and protecting the substandard public education systems that failed many young mothers years ago and are failing their children today.

Mothers need policies that give them and their spouses a chance to land a good job. They need an economic climate that’s friendlier to investment and makes it easier to start their own business. They need more school choice, through charters and vouchers, to ensure their children can escape the poverty trap.

They need more freedom and less government. That would make for a truly Happy Mother’s Day.

Glenn Cook (gcook@reviewjournal.com) is the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s senior editorial writer. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenn_CookNV. Listen to him Mondays at 4 p.m. on “Live and Local with Kevin Wall” on KXNT News Radio, 100.5 FM, 840 AM.