“Candy, can you say that a little louder?” and “Binders full of women”

As we near election day (“Only 16 days away!” says every Sunday show, as if we didn’t know that), there seems to be an almost hysterical realization by the media that women may indeed decide this election….apparently we turn up in more numbers than men when it comes to voting, and the female vote in swing states may determine which way those states swing.  But both parties seem to have a deaf ear when it comes to listening to women, although that may explain why they are talking so loudly when speaking to us:  like a deaf person, they have to turn up the volume so they can hear themselves.   That would be okay, but sometimes I think both parties are speaking slowly and enunciating to make sure I get it.  As a blonde, I might muster up the energy to take offense, but I am sort of busy getting through the hollow reasons why I should vote for either one of these parties.  Like a reliable girlfriend who is taken for granted because she seems to be there for the long haul, both parties may be counting on my vote because they assume they know what my deal breakers are–but of course, neither party can be sure what those are anymore.  Call it the new feminine mystique–but it may translate into a huge political mistake for either party if they are a little too sure about their assumptions about American women.  Yes, we are a demographic group–but we are as splintered and polarized as the U.S. Congress.  We don’t stick up for each other because we are women.  We let our male dominated parties tell us what to do.  So much for girl power.  Instead, we let ourselves be labeled “liberal” or “conservative” women, when the truth is most issues bleed into both camps in terms of what would really benefit women.  We are blowing our chance to find common ground because we think we can be a part of the good old boy network that exists in both parties–but when has that ever worked out?  Was Sarah Palin embraced at the last Republican convention?  How does Hilary Clinton feel about that bus she was just thrown under? Continue reading

Gentlemen, Choose your Weapons

Biden and Paul go at it. En Guard!

During my undergraduate days, I took a few semesters of fencing to earn my physical education credits.  I took that and ballroom dancing.  I guess I figured both would come in handy if I were to apply for a job as Zorro, a pirate, or one of the Musketeers.   For the record, I was a terrible fencer.  Also for the record, I was the most sought-after partner in the ballroom dance class.   What can I say?  I’m a lover, not a fighter.

Competitive fencing is nothing like swashbuckling or the swordplay you see in the movies.  There are long periods of deliberate, measured, uneventful maneuvering until somebody sees an opening and lunges.  Bam.  It’s usually over before the buzzer stops buzzing.  The VP debate last night reminded me of all the fencing matches I competed in, and usually lost badly.  Both Ryan and Biden chose their words carefully, circled each other strategically, and looked for an opening which never really came.  Like a fencing match, it was terribly boring to watch – long periods of nothing with only an occasional lunge or parry.   Both men made an equal number of attacks, and both successfully parried throughout the evening.  No buzzer.  No hit.  No great, memorable “You’re no Jack Kennedy” moments. Continue reading

Carville, Rove, and Eastwood – Political Masterminds

20121004-161626.jpgThe Great Communicator he wasn’t. I’ve always been impressed by President Obama’s ability to deliver a stirring speech. But the first presidential debate between him and Governor Romney put the President in the worst possible light. I really got the feeling he didn’t want to be there, and that he wasn’t all that prepared. There were no major gaffs by the President, though I did think the time when he asked Jim Lehrer to change the topic was about as close as it gets to asking Regis to Phone-a-Friend.

Romney on the other hand, was more aggressive than I’ve seen him. He looked like he was ready to pounce, loaded with ammunition, and willing to use it. I don’t think the President was prepared for this. I think he thought he and Romney would both give stump speeches, highlight their differences, and move on. But the Professor took a beating from the Millionaire while their wives and millions of others looked on. It never got nasty, but it did the one thing the President was hoping to avoid. It made Romney look presidential, and made the President look like an empty suit.

Tough Love from Tampa

I remember when W. ran for president in 2000 on the platform of Compassionate Conservatism. The idea was that Republicans would embrace many of the social programs that helped the needy while still maintaining their free-market orientation. It was supposed to be a way to win an election, help the poor, and still scale back government. It worked on the first count. I’m not sure about the second. The third was a terrible failure. Let’s face it. We are in big trouble with our national debt. Compassionate Conservatism didn’t help. Hope and Change made it worse.

The self-evident problem is that we spend more money that we have. A lot more. Even if we embraced the President’s proposal to tax the richest 1% of Americans at a higher rate, it still doesn’t close the gap. Either we start taxing many more people at a much higher rate, or we come to the conclusion that we can’t sustain this any longer. Having spent last week watching the RNC convention in Tampa, I’m hopeful we might have turned a corner.

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