Gender politics are a kissing cousin to racial politics. Just scratch the surface on this topic and emotions and anger burst forth. U.S. Senate candidates Ken Buck and Jane Norton are engaged in a battle of the sexes that has not exactly focused on intellectual issues.
Norton fired the opening salvo in this battle when she ran an ad accusing Buck of not being "man enough" to criticize her directly, because an independent political group was running ads doubting her conservative fiscal credentials. Sensitive to his manhood being questioned, Buck's now infamous response was: Vote for me "because I don't wear high heels." Buck went on to point out that his footwear of choice was cowboy boots with bulls**t on them. You get the idea, not exactly the stuff upon which to base your Ph.D. thesis - or your vote.
Buck was speaking to an ultra-conservative crowd and made the remark in that "it's just between us folks" manner that people have when they are telling an insensitive joke. I have to admit, I laughed. Political gender correctness aside, I laughed out loud because it is amazing to watch a candidate for the U.S. Senate - a body known for its deliberative nature - utter something so outrageously lame on the campaign trail.
It is just not smart to mess with Colorado women and politics. In 1893, Colorado was the first state in the nation to pass an amendment giving women the right to vote at the ballot box. We elected the first female state senator in the country. As recently as two years ago, Colorado had the highest percentage of female state legislators in the nation.
Historically, more women than men vote in Colorado. It is no secret that women often hold the key to statewide races. And I suspect that a bunch of those women have a pair of high heels in the closet. For that matter, a chunk of them probably own a pair of cowboy boots too.
It's doubtful that many Colorado women will base their vote in Tuesday's primary election solely on shoe choices. The more substantial issues that influence women's votes are typically the economy and jobs, schools and health care.
Jane Norton wants to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education; Ken Buck wants to gut it. Both Norton and Buck favor the so-called "personhood" amendment that gives constitutional rights to fertilized eggs, a misconceived amendment backed by an extremist group, rejected in a 3-to-1 margin by Colorado voters in 2008. Both candidates support corporate interests that plunged our country into this recession. Those are the issues that should be the deciding factors for Colorado women.
That's the real bulls**t on Jane Norton's high heels and Ken Buck's boots.