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Posts Tagged ‘deficit’

What women voters want / Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post

 

How many years of the woman have we had? Let me count.

To the extent that women’s votes count more than men’s, it’s been the year of the woman since at least 1964 — when women began outvoting men.

 In 2008, 10 million more women than men voted, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The operative assumption, obviously, is that women pick winners and losers as a voting bloc. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is true that more women are trending toward Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. But this owes only partly to the usual “women’s issues.” And it is, potentially, temporary.

Thanks to certain outspoken members/supporters of the GOP, the Democratic Party has been able to capitalize on a fiction created by the Obama campaign — the alleged “war on women.” It is not helpful when people such as Rush Limbaugh call Sandra Fluke a “slut” for her position that insurance should cover contraception. Then there was Todd Akin’s strange intelligence that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, a flourish of rare ignorance. Check the birthrates in countries where rape is employed as a weapon. Finally, some Republican-led states have waved one too many ultrasound wands at women.

While these incidents and anecdotes provide handy faces for dart practice, they constitute a war on women only if all women find these positions reprehensible. And only if all women care more about contraception and reproductive rights above all other issues, which is not the case.

This also happens to be the year of the fiscal cliff, when automatic spending cuts take effect at the same time Bush-era tax breaks expire. It’s the fourth year of a $1 trillion budget deficit. It is a year that the number of unemployed Americans is still too high and economic recovery too slow.

It is also the year that al-Qaeda caught its breath and began gaining traction again, and when terrorists murdered one of our ambassadors. It is another year when America’s standing as the world’s brightest light continues to dim, and that the Arab Spring descended into an extremist winter.

These are things that women care about, too.

Women, in other words, recognize the gravity of the problems this nation faces and are likely to pick a candidate based on these issues rather than on a party’s platform on abortion and contraception.

In fact, women, who are not a monolithic group any more than men are, don’t really rank reproductive issues at the top of their concerns. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that fewer than 1 percent of respondents mentioned women’s health or birth control as top election-year issues. On access to birth control and abortion, attitudes tend to reflect party affiliation rather than gender. A USA Today-Gallup poll this year found that women split on abortion in numbers comparable to the country as a whole, which is 49 percent to 45 percent favoring abortion rights.

Topping women’s concerns are the same things that are men’s highest concerns: the economy and jobs. The smartest candidate will recognize this sooner rather than later.

In Virginia’s Senate race between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen, Kaine, the Democrat, has tried to merge the issues. Abortion and birth control are fundamentally economic issues, he says. Few seem to recall that, in one of the early Republican primary debates, Romney responded to a question about contraception as follows: “It’s working just fine. Just leave it alone.”

This doesn’t sound like a call to arms against women.

When subsequently asked what he thought about the gender gap, Romney said he wished that his wife, Ann, were there to answer the question. Romney benefits greatly from his better half, as he would put it, but he errs in thinking a woman would do a better job answering the question than would a man.

Women do not require special handling because, for the most part, they do not think of themselves first or primarily as women. (This is big news for those men who failed to take note.)

Women think of themselves as breadwinners and job-seekers. They think of themselves as parents who want good schools and enough money to send their kids to college. They think of themselves as Americans who worry about national security and the nation’s image abroad.

These are the issues that matter to women, the vast majority of whom will cast their votes accordingly. How about we ditch the gender nonsense and declare this the year of the American?

kathleenparker@washpost.com

By , Published: October 9

How many years of the woman have we had? Let me count.

To the extent that women’s votes count more than men’s, it’s been the year of the woman since at least 1964 — when women began outvoting men.

In 2008, 10 million more women than men voted, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The operative assumption, obviously, is that women pick winners and losers as a voting bloc. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is true that more women are trending toward Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. But this owes only partly to the usual “women’s issues.” And it is, potentially, temporary.

Thanks to certain outspoken members/supporters of the GOP, the Democratic Party has been able to capitalize on a fiction created by the Obama campaign — the alleged “war on women.” It is not helpful when people such as Rush Limbaugh call Sandra Fluke a “slut” for her position that insurance should cover contraception. Then there was Todd Akin’s strange intelligence that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, a flourish of rare ignorance. Check the birthrates in countries where rape is employed as a weapon. Finally, some Republican-led states have waved one too many ultrasound wands at women.

While these incidents and anecdotes provide handy faces for dart practice, they constitute a war on women only if all women find these positions reprehensible. And only if all women care more about contraception and reproductive rights above all other issues, which is not the case.

This also happens to be the year of the fiscal cliff, when automatic spending cuts take effect at the same time Bush-era tax breaks expire. It’s the fourth year of a $1 trillion budget deficit. It is a year that the number of unemployed Americans is still too high and economic recovery too slow.

It is also the year that al-Qaeda caught its breath and began gaining traction again, and when terrorists murdered one of our ambassadors. It is another year when America’s standing as the world’s brightest light continues to dim, and that the Arab Spring descended into an extremist winter.

These are things that women care about, too.

Women, in other words, recognize the gravity of the problems this nation faces and are likely to pick a candidate based on these issues rather than on a party’s platform on abortion and contraception.

In fact, women, who are not a monolithic group any more than men are, don’t really rank reproductive issues at the top of their concerns. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that fewer than 1 percent of respondents mentioned women’s health or birth control as top election-year issues. On access to birth control and abortion, attitudes tend to reflect party affiliation rather than gender. A USA Today-Gallup poll this year found that women split on abortion in numbers comparable to the country as a whole, which is 49 percent to 45 percent favoring abortion rights.

Topping women’s concerns are the same things that are men’s highest concerns: the economy and jobs. The smartest candidate will recognize this sooner rather than later.

In Virginia’s Senate race between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen, Kaine, the Democrat, has tried to merge the issues. Abortion and birth control are fundamentally economic issues, he says. Few seem to recall that, in one of the early Republican primary debates, Romney responded to a question about contraception as follows: “It’s working just fine. Just leave it alone.”

This doesn’t sound like a call to arms against women.

When subsequently asked what he thought about the gender gap, Romney said he wished that his wife, Ann, were there to answer the question. Romney benefits greatly from his better half, as he would put it, but he errs in thinking a woman would do a better job answering the question than would a man.

Women do not require special handling because, for the most part, they do not think of themselves first or primarily as women. (This is big news for those men who failed to take note.)

Women think of themselves as breadwinners and job-seekers. They think of themselves as parents who want good schools and enough money to send their kids to college. They think of themselves as Americans who worry about national security and the nation’s image abroad.

These are the issues that matter to women, the vast majority of whom will cast their votes accordingly. How about we ditch the gender nonsense and declare this the year of the American?

 

The Lessons of Super Tuesday

The Lessons of Super Tuesday

This is an article I wrote for my blog on CafeMom.com/the Stir as part of the Moms Matter initiative I am taking part in…

What are the lessons of Super Tuesday? I’m a newcomer to all this myself but it seems to me, it’s a little bit like a pit stop at a race track, where a candidate can see what’s dragging him or her down, tweak and re-launch. And if he does it right, that re-entry might give the candidates exactly the momentum he or she needs to clinch it. 

Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney, who won the largest number of delegates by a pretty good margin, was probably wishing that delegates were still awarded on a winner take all basis. Because they’re not, Rick Santorum is actually going to get a big chunk of the delegates even in states he didn’t win. What he didn’t get was a big chunk of Catholic votes. Catholic voters, one of the biggest groups of swing voters, have consistently voted for Romney in state after state. According to CNN’s exit polls, Romney took 43% of Ohio Catholics on Super Tuesday, compared to 31% for Rick Santorum. (www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2012/03/analyst-catholics-may-account-for-romney-win-in-ohio/) Why is this? Because Catholics, not unlike Republicans, have more depth and individualism than many people assume. And Santorum’s reaching out to social conservatives may be turning some Catholics off who care more about job creation than rewriting creation.  

 Super Tuesday is like a snap shot that shows a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses with different kinds of voters in different parts of the country. While Romney’s loss in some southern states is a concern, the good news is by winning Ohio, he proved he could win another big industrial state. Michigan was the first. 

 For sure, it’s time for Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to bow out gracefully. Yes, Newt, Georgia thinks you’re a peach. Now, would you please step aside and help stop the creeping rot that is hurting the whole crop!  As for Rick Santorum, somebody needs to get a bucket of water and douse the religious fire. An admirable crusader, he is unfortunately leading the troops straight towards a cliff. There’s no doubt that Romney stands head and shoulders above Santorum when it comes to all matters related to the economy. And when voters say their biggest concern is job creation or taming the deficit, Santorum’s religious sanitizing of the Republican party seems a little, well, off-topic.

 I just read a great article by Major Garrett in the National Journal  about the division in the Republican party and the split between what the writer calls, “The Rationals” and “The Notionals.” (nationaljournal.com/2012/03/two-sets-of-gop-voters-rationa.php) It has nothing to do with rational versus irrational thinking. Instead the Notionals are the Republicans who have a notion that there is someone out there who is better than Romney. And they have been flipping back and forth for a year and a half about who that may be.

To build on this thought, I would say I guess it is Rick Santorum’s good fortune that the Notionals have discovered him at this stage of the game. But does someone, who soundly lost a re-election bid as Senator in his home state, have what it takes to defeat President Barack Obama in what is going to be a tough general election driven in large part by voters concerns about the economy? 

According to Garrett, the Notionals are the grass roots activists who are trying to effect change by staying longer and talking louder. They are the Tea Party-ers, the Bachmann and Palin fans, the Donald Trump fans, the Rush Limbaughs, who get a lot of attention but do not speak for most Republicans I know.  The Notionals are the ones who said in polls that it is important that a candidate share their religion. 

 I would add that the Rationals are the people who recognize the range of social opinions within the party when they hear George Bush’s daughter advocating gay marriage. They care when someone they trust, like Barbara Bush, says they’ve known the Romneys for years and they really are good people. The  Rationals are the same people who can take an objective look at Mitt Romney’s resume and see a pretty compelling match between his skills and our country’s most pressing needs right now.   

 One obvious target Romney could reach out to to bolster himself in the final months leading up to the nomination is moderate Republican women. According to CNN, half of Republican voters are women and two-thirds of new small businesses are started by women. We’re here and we tend to vote Republican. And we really like Barbara Bush. In fact, we’re waiting for her to come up with another zinger like, “It rhymes with rich.”

What would she say about this current hard right/then hard left/now hard right turn into the bedroom and the ensuing flap on birth control? Hmmm.  If anyone can put it in perspective, she can! And God knows, Republican women could use a good laugh right now! 

By the way, Romney took Vermont, too. According to CNN’s Super Tuesday polls, Vermont is the only state where the majority of Republican voters heading to the polls on Super Tuesday identified themselves as Moderates. I believe the majority of Republicans are moderates who view the social conservatives with suspicion. They’re just waiting for the reasonable Republican to be revered the way the social conservative is now feared.  That is what it is going to take to re-engage them and get them to the polls!  I guess it’s clear who I am voting for – the Rational! Or Mitt Romney.