Nathan Guttman Writes: In a pedestrian strip across the road from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which hosted the convention, a sign directed delegates to the Dr. Miriam Adelson “Woman Up!” Pavilion, which was set up by the conservative group YG Network. The carefully designed retreat was intended to provide conservative women attending the convention with a place to discuss politics from a woman’s perspective.
It was named in honor of Miriam Adelson, wife of Jewish casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who, through his multimillion-dollar super-PAC donations, is responsible for many of the Republican attack ads against President Obama. Miriam Adelson is a full partner in the spending spree, which made the couple the top ranking donors from outside groups to the Romney campaign. As such, she is perhaps the most powerful nonelected woman in the party.
The YG Network and Action Fund, formed by a former aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, embraced Adelson, who gave the group $5 million.
“She puts her money where her mouth is,” Carter, policy director of the YG Network, told CNN.
“Don’t talk to women only about contraceptives,” Carter told the Forward, ticking off a list of GOP talking points, like an economic downturn that, in many cases, has a greater impact on women than on men, energy and fuel prices, and a defense policy that affects thousands of women serving in the military. “We want to fight this false war on women,” she said.
Stereotypes, however, apparently die hard. GOP women seeking empowerment could also indulge in a beauty salon set up for their use at the YG’s women’s pavilion and in a fashion show reception thrown for Jewish Republicans during the convention’s opening day.
To this list of women priorities, Herson added the issue of Israel, which she believes is a concern for all Jewish voters, female and male. She believes that Romney’s support for Israel is stronger than that of Obama, and that this issue will resonate with Jewish women voters come November.
Still, in debates with fellow Jewish women, Herson, a lifelong activist with the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum committee, finds herself having to respond to arguments against Republicans’ positions on reproductive rights and birth control.
Organizers carefully crafted a similar message throughout the convention, as speakers directed their addresses to women voters, speaking to them about the economy, foreign policy and health care, not about social value issues.