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Reconsidering the 19th Amendment

According to a recent poll of women voters commissioned by “Lifetime
Television” (“Television for Women”!) women are complaining again. Over
a third of the women respondents say none of the presidential candidates
are addressing their concerns.

According to the summary provided by the “Lifetime Television” web
page, the top concerns of half or more of the respondents are these: the
“insufficient effort to cure breast cancer,” gun control, medical
benefits, childcare, the rising cost of a college education, the
connection between pollution and health risks, violence against women,
and equal pay.

Nearly three-fourths believe it is more important for the government
to shore up the Social Security Ponzi scheme than to bother with those
silly tax cuts.

These could only be the poll results of people who have nothing to do
with the creation of wealth. They sit home waiting for their husbands
to bring home the money, or toil away at little jobs dreamed up to
assuage the egos of bourgeois women living in the suburbs. (I anxiously
await such a station in life, but when I’m there, I won’t forget how
horrible — horrible — it was to wake up to an alarm clock, respond to
bosses, and be responsible for my own rent.)

Adoring Clinton

Consequently, the typical liberal woman’s political calculus is based
on budgeting, not earning. They have no idea how the money
materializes, and are not particularly interested. But they have a lot
of opinions on how to spend it. They claim to be Republicans, because
prissy women with college degrees associate Democrats with the dirty
working class. But they are no more Republican than Bill Clinton. In
fact, they adore Bill Clinton.

As a class, women have never borne collective responsibility for
work, they have never learned how to store food for the winter, and they
have not generated economic growth. (At least not by dint of hard
work.)
Nor have women borne responsibility for electing Republican Presidents.
In every presidential election since 1944 but one (1964), men went for
the Republican candidate. Even in 1980, when men voted for Ronald
Reagan over Carter by 53 percent to 38 percent, women voters went about
equally with President Jimmy Carter as with Reagan.

What’s a Republican presidential candidate to do?

First of all, Republicans should recognize that they can’t fit a
round peg in a square hole. It is impossible for a candidate to obtain
the votes of the liberal women topping the “Lifetime TV” poll without
becoming Bill Clinton, in which case they will lose the votes of people
with a capacity to engage in linear thinking and grasp logical
connections.

Consider this item: Seventy percent of the women polled in the
“Lifetime Television” survey claimed the country is not making “enough
of an effort to find a cure for breast cancer.”

Here are some facts: Men get prostate cancer at a rate of 147 cases
per 100,000 men. Women get breast cancer at a rate of 113 per 100,000
women. The mortality rate for breast cancer and prostate cancer is
about the same. The federal government spends roughly four times as
much on breast cancer research as prostate cancer research.

In a further monument to self-interest, 85 percent of women in the
“Lifetime” poll said they think discrimination against women in the
workplace is still a problem, but only 57 percent think there is any
problem with race relations. I love liberal women.

So the first point is: Liberal suburban soccer moms are impervious
to logic. One cannot cut taxes and reduce the size of government while
simultaneously trying to satisfy women kvetching about insufficient
funding for child care and breast cancer research.

The good news is, one stiff November snow storm, and the “Lifetime
TV” women aren’t going to bother voting, anyway. (I’ve never understood
why Democrats are so fussy about global warming — a temperate climate
is the only way they can have any confidence of getting out the vote on
election day.)

But moreover, Republican candidates ought to note that Reagan got
more women to vote for him than George Bush or Bob Dole did — more than
Liddy Dole did, for that matter. Reagan also got about 40 percent more
of the men’s vote than did Carter. Oh, yeah, and Reagan won. Twice.

He did it by being a hard-right conservative on the social issues,
which is the way to win over the maximum number of women voters who
would ever consider voting for a Republican in the first place.

Admittedly, Reagan may have lost the votes of a few liberal women who
tell pollsters they would vote for the Republican candidate if only he’d
be pro-choice and promise to spend more money on child care, the arts,
Social Security, Head Start, education, and so on.

But Reagan won the women who overwhelmingly dominate social
conservative organizations such as the Christian Coalition, the Eagle
Forum, Family Research Council, and the Traditional Values Coalition.
(The largest women’s organization in the country is the politically rock
solid Daughters of the American Revolution.)

Helms Beats Whitman

If you think the way the typical male Republican politician does, it
will surprise you to learn that in the same election year — 1996 —
pro-choice liberal Republican William Weld had a huge gender gap (23
percent), middle-of-the-road Bob Dole a smaller gender gap (17 percent),
and “ultra right-wing” Jesse Helms almost no gender gap at all (1
percent). Even darling of the Soccer Moms, Christie Todd Whitman, had a
larger gender gap in her 1997 reelection bid the next year than did
Helms.

When I worked in a Senate office, we got more mail on one topic than
any other: the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which would
basically allow children to divorce their parents (unless the surviving
parent lived under a Communist tyranny, in which case little Eli?n will
have to be sent back, pronto).

It was remarkable. Day after day for almost a year the letters
poured in, while we were revising the law on immigration, the death
penalty, criminal aliens, terrorism — even sneaking in a little tax
cut.

Idiotic as it was, that U.N. declaration was going no place, in any
event. It was languishing in Jesse Helms’ “in” box. A short item from
Phyllis Schlafly on the “rights of the child” declaration, and — wham!
— four billion pieces of mail denouncing it. These cartons and cartons
of mail weren’t being sent by Wall Street Journal Republican men worried
about the capital gains tax. They came almost entirely from women.

The Camel’s Back

This is the secret about the women’s vote. The women’s vote isn’t a
bell curve; it’s a camel’s back. Female voters tend to be either very
conservative or very liberal. And jaded feminists are never going to
vote for a Republican anyway. But Republican politicians regularly
sacrifice the votes of the women who might vote Republican, simply in
order to persuade bitter suburban harridans to hate them a little less.

Polls may indicate that the average woman voter is more liberal than
the average male voter, but that is a statistical average. The
statistical average of an Olympic athlete is a person who’s okay at
gymnastics, okay at weight-lifting, okay at the shot-put, but truly
athletically talented at nothing.

The soft liberal “average” among women establishes only that there is
a larger chunk of liberals among women than among men. It doesn’t mean
there actually is a single woman, much less a vast cohort, that
resembles some political composite of Hillary Clinton and Phyllis
Schlafly.

It may be that women tend to fall on the political extremes because
women are not much given to compromise and appeasement. (As C. S. Lewis
said, if your dog bit the neighbor’s child, would you prefer to
apologize to the woman of the house or the man of the house?)

Or the political extremes among women may be evidence of the
dwindling tradition of women as the keepers of religious faith. Some
women have faith in the Supreme Being, some place their faith in gun
control.

Whatever the reason, the issues that resonate with the largest chunk
of conservative women are the moral issues, not fiscal issues. And,
unlike the “Lifetime TV” poll respondents, these women won’t forget to
vote.