Ladies, Don't Hop on McCain Train
By Elisa Cramer
Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer
Friday, June 20, 2008
How much is spite worth?
How far will women go for a feeling of revenge?
How much of a sacrifice are women willing to make to gain a fleeting sense of vindication?
I've wondered about such questions since headlines and cable TV pundits have screamed that women who supported Hillary Clinton will vote for John McCain over Barack Obama.
Really? How? Why? On what issue that matters to women? Surely not on the war in Iraq. Susan Eisenhower, a lifelong GOP voter and granddaughter of former President Dwight Eisenhower, told The San Francisco Chronicle that she is supporting Sen. Obama because he better understands how the war and the economy affect women daily: "It really touches the lives of women who are left behind while their husbands are deployed overseas and families who have lost a loved one," she said.
And when those veterans return? Sen. McCain voted against the new GI bill to pay for them to go to college.
What about gender discrimination on the job? Women who despised sexism against Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail surely despise it in the workplace, too. But Sen. McCain has said he would like to clone President Bush's Supreme Court nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
The two justices have demonstrated their ideological loyalty - and it is not to women. They helped cast a 5-4 vote against Lilly Ledbetter, who for nearly 20 years earned less as a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Ala., than her male counterparts. A jury awarded her more than $3 million in damages, but Goodyear appealed - not denying discrimination but on a technicality: Ms. Ledbetter had not filed suit within 180 days of her first unfair paycheck - almost 20 years prior. Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion.
Congress' remedy, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would restart the clock with each unfair paycheck, failed. Sen. McCain was on the campaign trail and did not vote, but denounced the legislation.
So Sen. McCain doesn't mind making it harder for women who have been discriminated against to get back pay. What about health insurance? He voted against a program that would have provided health care services, including breast cancer screening, to millions of women. He voted to remove $75''million from a program that provides prenatal and infant care. He voted against legislation that would have provided health insurance coverage for prescription birth control.
His opposition to women having control over when and whether they have children is adamant. His Web site says he "believes Roe vs. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned." And he has voted to block abortions for women even in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is in danger.
Yet he has consistently opposed efforts that would actually reduce the need for an abortion. The way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. But Sen. McCain has voted against poor women receiving access to contraception. He's voted against teens getting accurate information about preventing pregnancy. He's voted against financing family-planning services - information and condoms, only - for poor women and HIV-infected women throughout the world.
There's also the environment. Floridians, especially, know Sen. McCain has no interest in protecting our state's beaches from offshore oil drilling, which would help preserve our tourism industry, or helping our residents recover with a national catastrophe fund after - God forbid - a disastrous hurricane.
Polls this week show more Americans favoring Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
I find it hard to believe that women who so strongly supported Hillary Clinton could blithely vote - against their own interests - for Sen. McCain. Disappointment in her loss should not translate into a counterintuitive, spiteful vote against the issues that matter most to women.
Republican, Independent and Democratic women voters are supporting Sen. Obama because Sen. McCain does not support them. In this presidential race, a vote for Sen. McCain is a vote against women.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Martin County Democratic Executive Committee has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Martin County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
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