Democrats underestimate the complexity of female voters
The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.
Walking down Broad Street earlier this week, I came upon a line of tiny human beings tethered by a rope and being led by a day care worker who looked both frazzled and caring as she kept track of her little clients. The children were trying unsuccessfully to get away with the things toddlers love to do when they're not tied together like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in "The Defiant Ones." They made me smile.
And then, I stopped smiling. I realized that if those little beings were in daycare, it meant that their mommies were somewhere else. Probably at work. Probably because they had to be.
I don't want to get into a whole Mommy Wars discussion where we dissect the merits of staying at home (if you have the choice) or pursuing that fulfilling career you were promised by the second-wave feminists. No one wins on that particular battlefield, least of all the children.
As someone who never had her own children, I can only speak from secondhand experience. Still, I've been around enough mothers to know that, given the opportunity, most would stay home with their children until they were at least five or six ... or college graduates. I'm sorry if that constitutes a politically incorrect assault on female autonomy, but there are some things that transcend Steinem Talking Points, like maternal instinct.
Most women do work outside of the home and return to their jobs shortly after their children are born. Some do so willingly but, by this administration's own reckoning, the vast majority who work outside of the home when their babies are still in diapers do so because they need the money. I'm not talking about that second salary so they can afford a time share in Florida or monthly highlights at the salon. I'm talking rent, food, health care. And while the Democrats have always made it seem they care about these women, you wouldn't know it by the tone of this year's presidential campaign.
Don't get me wrong. The Dems are definitely worried about women. But they seem much more concerned about getting us subsidized birth control than making it easier for us (or those of us who are mothers) to put food on the table. They are more than willing to help us feel like victims of a malevolent regime that questions the "legitimacy" of rape and threatens to keep us perpetually pregnant. But when it comes to the bread-and-butter issues that affect the sisters, they engage in "sky-is-falling" agitprop.
All summer we were treated to the lie that there was a War Against Women. The battleground was the vagina, and you could almost hear Nancy Pelosi telling us to man the barricades below our navels (or would that be "woman" the barricades?). We were served a new Joan of Arc in the form of Sandra Fluke, a woman who actually did hear voices (Limbaugh calling her a slut, President Obama calling to apologize) and showed us how to stand up for ourselves (especially when we wanted to lie down, if you get my drift).
And then there is that Hollywood ad where lovelies like Eva Longoria urge us to reject the Republicans because, you know, they want to keep us barefoot and pregnant. Them's fighting words, when you tell a girl she can't have her DWS or her IUD.
Fortunately, an interesting thing has begun to happen. Women are taking a second look at what the Democrats' game of smoke-and-mirrors. The result is that last week, a new set of polls showed that Mitt Romney is actually gaining ground in the swing states, and it's primarily due to support from ... wait for it ... wait for it ... women. But not just any women, mind you. Working-class women. The ones who don't have the luxury to worry about birth control and vaginal ultrasounds and whether being called mean names by a radio blowhard is worth a civil war.
We ladies are a lot smarter than some people give us credit for being. Just because the loudest among us make reproductive rights a litmus test for our votes, there's a lot more complexity in the female electorate. Finances are just as important as fallopians. The rate of unemployment sometimes trumps the state of the uterus. We don't vote with the vagina.
And the polls are starting to bear that out. No pun intended.