Carey Roberts
October 31, 2006
Cleavage candidates and the politics of gender
By Carey Roberts

This headline crossed my desk last week: "Gubernatorial Hopeful Flashes for Cash!" Below that exclamatory remark appeared a sketch of well-endowed blond, her hands clutching the front of a low-cut jacket.

This cheap thrill did not grace the pages of a recent issue of Playboy magazine, nor was it the come-on for a back-alley peep show.

No, this was the official campaign literature of one Loretta Nall, libertarian candidate for the governorship of Alabama. []

And three months ago Hillary Clinton appeared on C-SPAN, this time with her formidable cleavage peering through her tailored blue dress. [] What is it about the Clintons and blue dresses, anyway?

Whether these ladies' natural assets put them over the top in Tuesday's elections, we will soon find out. And clearly, women are leaving their imprint on the modern political scene. That impact can be explained in two words: psychology and demography.

It's no doubt true that men and women look for different things in a candidate. Columnist Allison Brown laid out the psychology this way:

"Women prefer to attach themselves to the problems they want to solve. Men operate best while maintaining a certain level of detachment, and analyze problems based on rules, on thoughts as opposed to feelings . . . In truth, women are natural socialists. . . . Men, to put it simply, are more independent in thought and action." []

So on July 7, 2004, presidential candidate John Kerry bragged that his team had "better vision, better ideas" and just as importantly, "we've got better hair." Somehow I doubt that hairdo pitch was aimed at the nation's male electorate.

Then there's the old saying about women who can't make up their minds. At one point in the 2004 election, women favored Kerry with a 17% point lead. Two just months later that reversed itself, with Bush enjoying a double-digit advantage among the female electorate.

And other women remained undecided until the very last minute, making them highly-courted "swing" voters.

Women may have trouble making up their minds because they don't understand the issues. Columnist Debbie Schlussel reports that the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center has found men are consistently more knowledgeable than women about candidates' positions on a broad range of topics such as taxes and gun control. Even on so-called "women's issues" such as education and healthcare, men hold the edge.

In the past, politicos who wanted to salvage a faltering campaign would carry their demagoguery to low-income minorities. Now, it seems women who haven't studied up on the issues are being targeted for the pandering.

This Tuesday, for example, Michigan voters will decide on a ballot measure to ban arbitrary preferences in state admissions and hiring. But a Trotskyite fringe group called "By Any Means Necessary" is now arguing the referendum would send Birkenstock-clad women back to the kitchen and deprive them of their constitutional right to watch Oprah.

Oh, my.

The demographic profile of the American electorate is even more revealing than Hillary's latest low-cut pantsuit.

Men die, on average, at the age of 75, while women live to the ripe old age of 80. That means there are 5.3 million more women than men in the United States. In every state except one — Alaska — the female electorate outnumbers the men. So it comes as no surprise that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska has long been a strong advocate for prostate cancer research.

In the 2004 presidential race, it was men who handed George W. Bush his margin of victory. That year 55% of males voted for the Republicans, while 48% of females gave the nod to Bush.

But pollsters pay far more attention to another statistic — men represented only 46% of the total electorate that year.

As a result, vote-hungry candidates increasingly pitch their message to females. And the political discourse becomes increasingly trivialized — remember when 17-year-old Laetitia Thompson asked President Bill Clinton whether he wore boxers or briefs?

And fewer men vote. So pols are even less likely to listen to men's concerns. It's an ever-worsening cycle that marginalizes men and is bound to ultimately undermine America's economic, moral, and social fiber.

But there is a solution, and it doesn't require a million-dollar federal program, either. LISTEN UP, GENTS. It's your duty to get out on November 7. Vote for the candidate of your choice, but be sure to vote.

As far as Miss Nall, I would urge you to go back to debating the issues. And keep your clothes on — lest we begin to give hard-working strippers a bad name.

© Carey Roberts


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

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