Last week, Howard Dean and friends gave delegates to someone who wasn't even on the ballot and took half the delegates from a candidate who was. And, by the way, she was also the first woman with a serious shot at the Presidency. Suddenly millions of American women who hung their hopes on Hillary are the Desirable Voting Bloc. (Sure, Hillary had male supporters, but because many women's motives differed, their response to her rejection may differ too.)
So what happens now for Hillary's women? Do they ride what one disgruntled Mom called the "unity pony"? Do they stay home to 'send a message'? Or do they rise up like the poetic Scorned Women of yore, uniting as "PUMAs for McCain" (party unity my....well....you can figure it out).
Gloria Steinem and friends are confident (too confident?) that the same women screwed over by their own party will come home to roost because a lefty novelist thought he heard a nasty remark or because McCain refused to pander on an 'equal pay' lawsuit bill. But I believe women voters are smart enough to look at what the remaining men have to offer as President, and can judge them on that basis.
So what DOES McCain have to offer women? Here are a few thoughts.
More money in your pocket(book). Despite humorous greeting cards to the contrary, most women I know are very careful with their money. We work hard for it and when we spend and save we have priorities in mind. We are more likely to drive the gas-guzzling minivan and buy the overpriced groceries. A McCain presidency maintains tax cuts which put more money into the pockets, purses, and bank accounts of the vast majority of Americans. This is not a vague promise, this is a specific, concrete commitment from both candidates - one of them will take more of your money than the other. Figure out your family's costs under Obama here.
More safety for your country. If Obama is elected, regardless of what is happening on the ground, he has to uphold his devil's bargain with the anti-war lobby and retreat from Iraq - even if maintaining a presence makes logistical and strategic sense. John McCain's positions on the war are shaped by a lifetime of personal investment - including heroic suffering, family sacrifice, and yes, logistical hands-on experience. Hillary said it best herself, when the phone rings at 3 am, I want someone answering it who has not only experience, but is unfettered by political fears and promises when making those split-second life-and-death decisions. Hillary herself observed that McCain was much better qualified choice than Obama on national security issues. If she can see it, so should her supporters.
Education and healthcare. The only thing worse than having a seriously sick child in the middle of the night is getting an administrative run-around at the emergency room when you bring them in. Hillary made government-led 'universal healthcare' a cornerstone of her First Ladyship and her campaign. I personally dislike any system that takes money from your pocket and your paycheck FIRST and THEN you (hopefully) have a procedure they approved done by a provider they choose in a location they deem affordable and appropriate. But for those Hillary supporters whose hearts were set on health care solutions, consider the viable, easily-implemented alternatives McCain proposes, including tax credits, drug price management, and increased portability of coverage.
Life and moral issues. Despite bellyaching to the contrary, a majority of Americans - including women - are against partial-birth abortion (sucking a baby's brains out), government funding of abortion at home and abroad, and other frightening policies espoused by Obama. If you're pro-life, McCain is your ONLY choice, even if you're pro-choice, you should ask yourself if this is how you want your tax dollars being spent - and if you're willing to put your country in a rookie's hands over this issue.
Hillary herself knew it in her heart - John McCain will make a better President than Barack Obama. You'll note that I have fought the (substantial) urge to rant about crazy pastors, terrorist friends, etc. - because all those distractions put together are less important than what each candidate will actually DO in office. I believe women are smart voters, I believe we are capable of identifying good and bad judgment when we see it, and I believe we understand what is best for our families and for our country.
To all women who are politically 'homeless,' take some time to get to know John McCain. You'll like what you see.