President Barack Obama signs executive actions, with pending Senate legislation, aimed at closing a compensation gender gap that favors men, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, during an event marking Equal Pay Day. Obama announced new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women. The president and his Democratic allies in Congress are making a concerted election-year push to draw attention to women's wages. Lilly Ledbetter watches at left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) President Obama signs executive actions, with pending Senate legislation, aimed at closing a compensation gender gap that favors men, in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 8 during an event marking Equal Pay Day.  (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

We’ve just come through the Democrats’ day of contrived outrage over the purported wage gap. Many in the media are on to the canard, and even a few noticed the wage gap at the White House. Rarely has a progressive play to emotion gone so poorly. Moreover, Republicans have learned to fight back. The Post reports: “Complicating matters for Democrats even further is that Republicans are on the offense on this issue now, conceding that there is gender discrimination, and offering their own ideas about what to do about it, namely banning retaliation against employees who disclose their own salaries. It doesn’t go as far as the Paycheck Fairness Act, but it’s a start, and a sea change from where Republicans were when this week started, and means the Democrats won’t be able to truthfully argue that the GOP doesn’t want to address this issue at all.”

But even more revealing — hence, damaging to the core assumptions behind the Democrats’ message — is a study that comes out just as the Democrats are launching their latest installment in the “war against women” tales. The Post reports:

More mothers have been staying home with their children since the recession ended, but a growing number of them say that’s primarily because they can’t find a job, according to a new study.

Almost three in 10 mothers with children under 18 living with them are stay-at-home moms, an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center showed. That is a 3 percentage point jump from the depth of the recession in 2008.

The Pew study released Tuesday examined the demographic and economic factors driving the rise in stay-at-home moms, a phenomenon that sociologists are still attempting to understand.

So maybe women are working and earning less both because of the rotten economy and now the availability of subsidized health care. The Democrats have been touting the opportunity to choose to stay home in the Obama economy and the Obamacare world; so here it is. So if more women are staying home, maybe working fewer hours or working in jobs that easily accommodate child-rearing is a lifestyle choice for women, albeit one encouraged by an ailing economy and a new entitlement program that incentivizes people not to work.

(By the way, for all those anti-immigrant types concerned that newcomers don’t exhibit family values, The Post reports: “Though both American-born and foreign-born mothers exhibited increases, 40 percent of immigrant mothers stay home to raise their children, compared with 26 percent of women who were born in the United States.”)

This complex mix of lifestyle choices and economic conditions is of no use to Democrats in an election year, however. They need to find victims — or if they are not available, convince women that they are victims in order to stir outrage and thereby position Democrats as the savior of women. (It’s all rather paternalistic, but mostly, it’s dishonest.)

There is a separate question raised by the study as to whether it is a good thing to have stay-at-home mothers. Social conservatives and defenders of the Obamacare disincentive to work might argue that this is a social benefit. Some might even say that earning less is a small price some people are willing to pay for the time they are able to spend with their children. In fact, most Americans think it’s good to have one parent at home. The Pew study explains, “Despite the fact that most mothers in the U.S. work at least part time, 60% of Americans say children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family, while 35% say they are just as well off when both parents work outside the home.”

What we can say is that a slow Obama economy is keeping too many people who want to work (male and female) out of the workforce. And it is equally true that personal choices may result in fewer work hours, lower income and self-segregation in certain job categories for women. But what we don’t see is a justification for victimhood. The media assault on phony figures and White House hypocrisy was enough to bring a smile to the lips of even the harshest conservative critics of the MSM. Sorry, Democrats, but this whole war on women routine isn’t flying.