Friday, September 7, 2007

Women, Politics, Real Issues

"Thinking is the desire to gain reality by means of ideas."

José Ortega y Gasset

A sentiment I can champion...besides it's a pleasant way to spend the weekend.

In S.F. visit, Obama takes aim at Clinton's strength: women's votes

Sen. Barack Obama's appearance in San Francisco today is designed to attack a key strength of his prime rival for the Democratic presidential nomination: former first lady and current New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's support from women of all backgrounds.

Hundreds of women are expected to pay anywhere from $250 to $2,300 to meet Obama at a lunch at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and he'll speak at a $25-a-head event after the lunch.

On Saturday night, the Illinois senator's outreach to female voters gets another boost: Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, America's most successful female entrepreneur and opinion-maker, is the host for an A-list fundraiser for the senator at her estate in Montecito (Santa Barbara County).

We all have a sense of pride in the fact that a woman is being taken seriously," Harris said. "Hillary is obviously appealing to anybody who cares about having have equal opportunity for women, and all of us applaud her candidacy."

But, she said, "support for Barack isn't denying that or exclusive of that fact."

Harris said Obama has shown "a proven commitment to women and women's issues. ... He's pro-choice, pro-public education and pro-immigrant." (Oh Really-? ed.)

Mack now heads Obama's grassroots Sacramento effort - spending her weekends canvassing, calling voters and raising money for her candidate.

"As much as I would like to have a woman president, I want to have the right woman," she said.

Stephanie Chan, 20, a junior at UC Berkeley, was spurred by Obama's candidacy to become involved for the first time in a presidential campaign.

"I've heard things like, 'Hillary is a woman, you should be in her camp,' " Chan said. "She's an amazing woman and a great candidate, but for me, Obama is the candidate who brings it all together." (oh-oh... Scroll down to follow -ed.)

Chick, the Los Angeles controller, said many women are "tired of hearing about women's issues - because I believe our issues are human issues, universal issues."

"Half of the kids we bear are boys," she said. "Women's issues are everybody's issues - and I believe that Barack, as a candidate, speaks to all of these issues equally as well as Hillary."

Read the whole thing: Follow the links and read the story, then the comments. The SF Chronicle blog 2Cents has some more SF Bay Area views. There is something happening here. It looks like a ground swell or earthquake that may break apart the Hillary Foundations and assumptions of her slow walk to a coronation. If this most Liberal Bastion can look around and if Oprah can shift some of the quieter Hollywood types into action... We may have a horse race. That means we'll see more of Hubba-Hubba-Bubba. We'll get to watch her flail about as he makes her look small and very un-Presidential. Presidential-level experience means running your own campaign

Kimberly Strassel has some answers from the other side of the aisle
What Women Want
How the GOP can woo the ladies.
(I liked Republicans better in blue. But since some TV twit declared red states Republican... I'll post some extensive points from this editorial. It's good. It's smart. It resonates with the women in my household. -ed.)

Expect to hear a lot about lady voters over the next few months, though most of it from Democrats. Women make up 60% of the left's primary electorate, and the front-runners are already going to the mat for their vote. It's why Ms. Clinton has six full-time staffers for women's outreach; why Mr. Obama sports a women's "policy committee"; and why Bill Richardson recently told a cheering mob that "women are better workers than men" (you go, Bill!).

The Democrats' own views of what counts for "women's issues" are stuck back in the disco days, about the time Ms. Clinton came of political age. Under the title "A Champion for Women," the New York senator's Web site promises the usual tired litany of "equal pay" and a "woman's right to choose." Mr. Richardson pitches a new government handout for women on "family leave" and waxes nostalgic for the Equal Rights Amendment. Give these Boomers some bell bottoms and "The Female Eunuch," and they'd feel right at home. Polls show Ms. Clinton today gets her best female support from women her age and up.

The rest of the female population has migrated into 2007. Undoubtedly quite a few do care about abortion rights and the Violence Against Women Act. But for the 60% of women who today both scramble after a child and hold a job, these culture-war touchpoints aren't their top voting priority. Their biggest concerns, not surprisingly, hew closely to those of their male counterparts: the war in Iraq, health care, the economy. But following close behind are issues that are more unique to working women and mothers. Therein rests the GOP opportunity.

Ms. Clinton likes to bang on about "inequality" in pay. The smart conservative would explain to a female audience that there indeed is inequality, and that the situation is grave. Only the bad guy isn't the male boss; it's the progressive tax code.

  • Most married women are second-earners. That means their income is added to that of their husband's, and thus taxed at his highest marginal rate. So the married woman working as a secretary keeps less of her paycheck than the single woman who does the exact same job. This is the ultimate in "inequality," yet Democrats constantly promote the very tax code that punishes married working women. In some cases, the tax burdens and child-care expenses for second-earners are so burdensome they can't afford a career. But when was the last time a Republican pointed out that Ms. Clinton was helping to keep ladies in the kitchen?
  • Should President Bush's tax cuts expire, tens of thousands of middle-class women will see more of their paychecks disappear into the maw of their husband's higher bracket. A really brave candidate would go so far as to promise eliminating this tax bias altogether. Under a flat tax, second-earner women would pay the same rate as unmarried women and the guy down the hall.
  • Ask almost any working woman what the toughest part of her life is, and she'll say the complications of scheduling both work and family life. What makes that task so tough is a dusty piece of legislation called the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that hourly workers who put in more than 40 hours a week get overtime. Some women like overtime. But in a 1995 poll, an extraordinary 81% said they'd prefer compensatory time off. Put another way, many women would like to pack 45 hours into the first four days of work, then knock off early on Friday
  • The mod term for this is "flex time" and Democrats pay it lip service. But what the left won't mention--and Republicans have failed to mention--is that Democrats are the obstacle to changing the overtime law. Organized labor likes the 40-hour-week law, and union leaders prefer to be the ones to arrange any flex-time agreements on behalf of their members. So in 1997, when Republican Sen. John Ashcroft put forward legislation to allow flexible scheduling in the private workforce, it was Democrats, at the beck of unions, who killed it
  • The majority of health-care decisions are made by women, yet neither Rudy Giuliani nor Mitt Romney has explained how their innovative proposals to put individuals back in charge of care would help women in particular. No candidate has explained that only through private Social Security accounts will women ever see the full fruits of their payroll taxes.

Read the whole editorial. I like smart well written articles. This one is very good-! It's also free.

Have a good weekend-! Take the family somewhere fun.

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