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Martha Burk

Martha Burk

Posted: October 20, 2008 06:05 PM

McCain Flatlines With Women

Watching last week's debate on CNN, which had real-time tracking of how women and men were reacting to the candidates, I couldn't help but remember Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic convention saying "Poor George [H.W. Bush]. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Well, it's poor John McCain's turn. He's got a silver foot in the works of his whole disorganized campaign. And it's kicking him in the tush daily. Not only did the women's tracking line on the screen take a nosedive when McCain talked about "Joe the Plumber," he rarely made it above flatter than flat on any other topic, particularly his VP's credibility and credentials.

Wait a minute -- weren't we all supposed to rush to McCain/Palin when Hillary folded her tent? After all, Palin wears a skirt (oh yeah, and high heels and lipstick), and McCain obviously figured we girl voters were too dumb to know the difference. But like so much else in his ill-fated campaign, the Palin ploy backfired. Even so, up to now it's been a few WASP (Women Against Sarah Palin) t-shirts, homemade signs, and street corner demonstrations.

Now a major new website and online organizing tool has gone up on the web (, courtesy of the Feminist Majority, whose President is veteran feminist Eleanor Smeal. "We don't want a lingering doubt for any Hillary Clinton supporter or any independent woman about where McCain and Palin stand on women's issues," Smeal asserted.

The group knows Obama is ahead in the polls, but the site was launched to help drive up the margin of victory even higher for Obama/Biden, and just incidentally take out a little insurance against a repeat of Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004, when thousands of votes disappeared or weren't counted correctly. "Yes Obama is leading. But we can take nothing for granted. Too much is at stake for women. We must make sure the margin is so large it cannot be stolen this time," Smeal continued., offers a side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican nominees on four major women's issues: Violence Against Women, Abortion and Contraception, Women and Work, Breast Cancer, and Health Care. Because words aren't always enough, the Feminist Majority created three striking online videos that illuminate some of the grave truths about the McCain/Palin record on women's issues.

One in Six

"John McCain voted against funding to fight domestic violence."

Unholy Trinity

"McCain voted against a program funding breast cancer research."


"John McCain and Sarah Palin are running on a platform that seeks to outlaw a woman's right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest."

The site is particularly aimed at younger voters who may still be wavering or think going to the polls is less important now that Obama is surging. "Forty years of women's progress is at stake. I wish I was exaggerating," remarked Smeal. "But more anti-woman appointments to the Supreme Court, such as Alito and Roberts, as John McCain promises, will do it."

Hooray for the Feminist Majority -- and that's what it is. Polls show that clear majorities of women and men identify with the feminist philosophy -- and now they have a place to go to prove it. Poor John. He never got the difference between a woman and a skirt, and that silver foot just keeps on kicking him.