THE BLOG
08/05/2010 03:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"I Go Way Back With Barack Obama"

[I] was blindsided by this. [I] wasn't consulted. It was a bad decision. This decision was very hurtful to us. Think about the real life consequences. We can't let this happen again.

These are the words of Jan Schakowsky, Co-Chair of Obama for America, Member of Congress, Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, longtime colleague and friend of Barack Obama, friend of mine, who joyfully reported-in to me and other "girlfriends" about the midnight soiree at the White House after the Inaugural Ball: At the time, it was clear, Jan was looking forward to many such opportunities to whisper in the President's ear.

And so were we.

Not so fast.

When Jan decided to support Barack Obama for President instead of Hillary Clinton (some of us have longed for a woman President for decades), those of us who've been with Jan since her git-go stuck with her. We're loyal here in Chicago, especially to those who've done right by us for so long. And we're practical, too. We thought: Well, if "Barack" thinks he's got a shot at this, and David (Axelrod) thinks so, too, and Jan does, besides; well, then, let's do it, because we'll surely then have an advocate like none other, if "Barack" wins. For, surely, our new President will be sure to listen to Jan--on all things women, anyway.

Not so fast.

Jan expressed her disappointment in the President, and made the comments I've quoted above, less than half-way into the President's term, in a response, published on the President's birthday no less, to a reporter's question earlier this week about the President's recent decision to prevent women in his health care reform high-risk insurance pools, unless raped or in danger of dying, from access to abortion.

There's been a firestorm of comments about this decision of the President's, including hundreds of comments on my post about it, in these pages a few days ago. The comments are very instructive, that's for sure.

No surprise there: This one (this decision of the President's) is a biggie for lots of women--young, old, and in-between-age feminists; women who never fought for women's rights, but fear what this decision may mean for their daughters and granddaughters; women with disabilities who desperately need the lifesaving insurance the high risk pool option was intended to provide.

What's that old saying: "With friends like this...."

We can't let this happen again. We want to work with all women [regarding] what is our agenda going forward. We've got to make this a real battlefield.

I haven't talked to Jan about this. I don't know what she's thinking, besides what she has said publicly.

But, I do know, Mr. President, that it's your birthday and that you're celebrating here in Chicago.

So, here's my birthday wish for you: Remember Jan (really remember, not just the hug-on-the-tarmac kind of remembering). "Remember all the [women]," to paraphrase an early, feminist First Lady. Remember all the women who got you elected, and why they did that.

Mr. President: Surely, neither on this birthday, nor on any to come, do you want Jan--or any of her millions of pro-choice partisans--on the other side of this "battlefront." No way. No how. So, instead, why not celebrate your birthday by rescinding your decision that has turned some important women in your life against you.