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On Election Day, What Do Women Want? To Talk About Our Feelings And…Homeland Security, Stupid.
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November 01, 2004, 04:00 AM
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"Men make the mistake of thinking that because women can`t see the sense in violence, they must be passive creatures.  

"It`s just not true.

"In one important way, at least, men are the passive sex. Given a choice, they will always opt for the status quo. They hate change of any kind, and they fight against it constantly. On the other hand, what women want is stability, which when you stop to think about it is a very different animal."Eric Lustbader in The Kaisho.

Men are such funny, simple creatures….especially when they are running for President.

Here we are on the day of the Presidential election, and I am amazed at the campaigns` clumsy efforts to win the women`s vote.

It`s the conventional wisdom that "security moms" or "soccer moms" will decide this year`s election.

Both candidates have targeted this voter segment and engage in one laughable attempt after another to woo women to their respective camps.

I suppose you can`t blame them, the numbers are definitely attractive.

These are a few popular factoids about the women`s vote:


  • "Helping Kerry was the high percentage of unmarried women who were newly registered voters for this election—34 percent."[Countdown to Election Day , Douglas Turner, Buffalo News, October 31,2004]

  • "Historically, more women are registered to vote and, more importantly, they are more dependable voters. In 2000, for instance, 7.8 million more women voted than men."

  • "Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority said `This is going to be the largest turnout of young people and an amazing turnout among women, she said. `This is going to be remembered as a very big year for women." [Last two items from Celebrities rally women voters, By Jane Musgrave, Cox News Service, October 27, 2004]

Alright already! So everybody agrees that a whole bunch of women are going to show up in droves to vote in this election.

So what?

I wonder—have either Bush or Kerry actually met any women?

I ask this because if they had they would realize that absolutely nothing they say will make any difference…not in the last days of an election campaign.

How many times have men said "I just don`t understand women? They change their minds every five seconds."

P.S. And we only want to talk about our feelings at two o`clock in the morning and only when you have five a.m. flight to catch.

As Fred Flintstone said "Why can`t they invent something else for us to marry than WOMEN?"

Politicians usually end up listening to professional feminists like Gloria Steinem.

According to Cox News` Janet Musgrave in the article I cited above:

"It wasn`t until well into the presidential debates that Kerry began reaching out to women. Finally, to the satisfaction of women`s groups, Kerry firmly established himself as pro-choice and pledged to do something about the wage gap that has women earning about 72 cents for every $1 a man makes."

 Steinem`s take on this, reported by Musgrave.

"`[Kerry`s] at the mercy of consultants who are worried about the white male vote…So he talks about hunting and military leadership. In this process, the majority of women`s issues are neglected.`"

Steinem, of course, wants candidates to be at the mercy of consultants who are worried about the female, or more accurately feminist, vote.

But Musgrave also reports that Terri Fine, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, "cautioned against lumping women together and treating them as one giant, like-thinking group."

As a consultant (and a woman), I say to politicians: ditch Gloria Steinem. Listen to Terry Fine if you hope to capture a woman`s vote.

Autobiographical evidence: Once-upon-a-time, I was a Democrat. (Shhh…don`t tell). I became a Republican after I received my first "real" paycheck and wanted to hunt down FICA and SSI and ask them why they took so much of my money.

(Side note: Still no sign of them—or my money, sigh.)

As a woman (Republican with a penchant for libertarianism) I am very pro-choice, but I think late-term abortion is murder.

I oppose the death penalty, but applauded Bush for his handling of the Karla Faye Tucker execution in Texas.

I opposed the Iraq war but grinned like a Cheshire cat when we captured Saddam Hussein.

I could attend a John Kerry rally and applaud many of his ideas and beliefs, but I could do the same with President Bush.

How would either politician capture my vote by tactical issues alone?

The answer is they can`t.

Why? Because women don`t make enough sense as a species to give anyone the hope of figuring out what they want.

For example: men aren`t allowed to use the adjective "fine" when they describe our appearance. (As in "How do I look?"—"fine.")

Why not? Fine is a perfectly fine word. But unless men want to sleep alone, they better think of a more descriptive word. (And good luck with that, by the way.)

Another example: You know how a guy, on Tuesday, is authorized to go to a Dodger`s game on Friday with his friends but the morning of the game he suddenly "doesn`t spend enough time at home?"

Yeah, he never makes it to the game.

Why? I don`t know. I don`t make the rules, I just follow them.

Don`t look for reasoning with us. We have our own logic (more or less) and it is an ever-changing technique influenced greatly by our mood.

I have a girlfriend who was enraged by her husband`s purchase of a flat screen television without her consent. Their argument culminated in her announcing "Fine, let`s just get a divorce!" Two days later when she received the divorce papers, she was in my living room crying "Why did he file for divorce?"

Logic would point out that she told him that she wanted a divorce…and he believed her. However, had he been fluent in women-speak, he would have known that by demanding divorce she meant "Grovel with jewelry until the flat-screen television becomes an acceptable purchase!"

Bottom line: Women are crazy. I`m serious.

Practical, pragmatic and prudent, for most women, are just words that start with "P."

In fact, here`s a secret: This is what most women think about their sex.

We just haven`t told men.

Now, it seems this election will in large part be decided by women voters… alas!

The candidates have searched frantically for that single-issue magic tactic: abortion, education, the "glass ceiling," the war.

But, considering today`s world, this is what I as a woman heard during the campaign: Blah, blah, blah and one giant strategic blunder.

The strategic blunder: Homeland Security       . 

Not the "Homeland Security" policy that launches a 500 billion dollar war in Iraq that in no way secures our homeland or locates any terrorists.

Women want a more tangible Homeland Security—that reassures us our children will be safe, and in one piece, when we pick them up from school.

In short, the Homeland Security that has yet to happen.

Eric Lustbader, quoted in my epigraph above, is right: Women want stability.

Shutting America`s borders until we can reform our immigration policy to include effective security measures is the simplest, non-violent approach to terrorism.

Considering that the nineteen men responsible for the attacks on September 11th did not invade us but were legally in the United States, suggests it might be the most effective approach as well. (Just a guess.)

If I were Karl Rove or Karen Hughes, the President would have given a State of the Union address, devoid of any patronizing scare tactics, in which he simply said:

"On September 11th we were attacked by enemies from within. This gross oversight of our immigration policy occurred on my watch and I take full responsibility for this breach of homeland security.

"To stop terrorists from again slipping through the cracks along our borders, we must close the borders altogether until we can design a safer method for legal immigration.

"This will inconvenience the many aliens who cross into the United States via our borders, but, more importantly, it will protect our citizens, those whom I proudly serve, from further attacks."

Would it have made a difference? Absolutely.

I`m thinking maybe…no war?

No erroneous CIA report that rendered America the world`s laughing stock.

No loss of more than a thousand American lives.

As far as the women`s vote, there wouldn`t be any guess-work at this late stage in the game.

It would be squarely in the pocket of the man who kept them safe.

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.