Obama might wish he hadn't met 'Julia'

'Julia' slideshow makes the Republicans' point above the nanny state

  • And you thought the war on women was bad...
And you thought the war on women was bad... (Baltimore Sun/KAL )
May 14, 2012|Susan Reimer

Meet "Julia."

She is the star of an infographic created for President Barack Obama's re-election website to illustrate the policy differences between him and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The slide show follows Julia from the age of 3, when her parents enroll her in a Head Start program, through college, paid for by government-subsidized loans, through the birth of her own child, with lots of free maternity care, to a retirement cushioned by Medicare and Social Security.

At each transition in her life, the PowerPoint-like graphic includes a caption that says what Mr. Obama has done for her, and what Mr. Romney would undo.

Either that or it illustrates the nanny state that the Democrats have created and that is bankrupting the country. It depends on which side of the aisle you sit.

For example, this is what waits for Julia after she graduates from college:

"Under President Obama: Because of steps like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Julia is one of millions of women across the country who knows she'll always be able to stand up for her right to equal pay. She starts her career as a web designer.

Under Mitt Romney: He has refused to say whether he would have vetoed or signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act."

Julia immediately became a target, of course. Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin said she would read Julia's story to her children "to show them how NOT to live their lives — tethered to the Nanny State."

In the Twitter-storm that followed, one wag said e Julia wouldn't have had to spend her childhood in Head Start if her dad had had a decent job in a robust economy and her mother could have stayed at home to care for her.

Julia and her son, Zachary, would have benefited from school choice instead of depending on a federal program to lift the quality of education in all schools, reads another take on Julia's life, written by the Heritage Foundation.

And she wouldn't have needed all those loans for college if government policy had encouraged her parents to save. The same would be true of her retirement nest egg, which would lessen her dependence on Social Security.

And she could have followed her heart and worked as an administrator in a Catholic school, instead of becoming a web designer, where the government could not force her to violate her religious beliefs by providing insurance coverage for birth control, according to the Heritage's view of her life without Obama.

And where was Zachary's father? He is not in the picture. Or, indeed, any of the pictures. Julia simply "decides" to have a child while in her 30s.

It is hard to believe that President Obama's re-election advisers thought "The Life of Julia" was a good idea. The subtitle might as well read: "Everything you think about free-spending Democrats and their socialist president is true."

Taken separately, the government programs and policies that benefit Julia (she can have the surgery she needs at 22 because she is still covered by her parents' health insurance under Mr. Obama's health care reforms) are commendable.

And this slide show demonstrates how political choices affect real — well, semi-real — people. (Julia has more than 44,000 Facebook friends.)

But collected here on a dozen slides, they make the Republican point better than most Republicans do: Americans deny themselves nothing that the government might pay for, and we are draining the coffers and our own reserves of self-reliance.

Most of the programs Julia taps into have been around since FDR, or at least Lyndon Johnson. But this cradle-to-grave illustration of how the government is more Barcalounger than safety net is enough to make even crazy liberals like me blush.

I am not sure this is something the Democrats should be bragging about.

Susan Reimer's column appears Mondays. Her email is susan.reimer@baltsun.com.

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