NASCAR Dads and Soccer Moms Join Forces
by Carey Roberts --show me more like this
Following last week’s historic defeat for the Democrats, pollster Celinda Lake was surely wagging her finger as if to say, “I told you so!” Because just last Spring, Ms. Lake was preaching that the Dems would never retake the White House unless they began to take the issues of the white male electorate – the so-called NASCAR Dads -- more seriously.
Indeed, white men represent a sizeable chunk of the U.S. electorate -- 45 million voters to be exact. Back in 2000, 60% of them voted for George W., while only 36% gave the nod to Al Gore (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/epolls/US/P000.html). Those additional 11 million male voters spelled the critical difference for Mr. Bush in that tight contest.
But Mr. Bush attracted only 49% of the white female vote in that electoral nail-biter. So soon after he was sworn in as President, wooing the women became a key element of the Bush re-election strategy.
That meant that, with the exception of the abortion issue, the Bush campaign was reluctant to ruffle the feathers of the radical feminists. As a result, the Gender Warriors left over from the Clinton Administration continued to have free rein throughout the federal government.
And that’s exactly what they did:
-- Despite the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon panel, the Department of Education refused to soften the rigid Title IX quotas that the Clinton Administration had used to shut down hundreds of male collegiate sports teams.
-- At the Department of State, feminists succeeded in imposing a 20% quota for women in the newly-established legislatures of both Afghanistan and Iraq.
-- The Department of Health and Human Services named Christina Beato to the powerful Assistant Secretary of Health position. An avowed advocate for women’s issues, she blocked the creation of an Office of Men’s Health.
Most disappointing was the area of child support reform. Early in his term, President Bush brought in fatherhood advocate Wade Horn to head the Administration on Children and Families. But Horn’s program was co-opted by the advocates of responsible fatherhood– “responsible” being a code word for more draconian child support.
Those developments set the stage for the 2004 presidential race.
Despite Celinda Lake’s dire warning, the Democratic Party was not willing to risk offending the Sisterhood. So the 2004 Democratic platform flatly ignored the issues of men, while kow-towing to such feminist demands as protecting abortion rights and remedying the so-called gender “wage gap.”
And what about the Republicans? Not surprisingly, their gender message also targeted the female vote. Millions of placards, lapel pins, and bumper stickers told us, as if we didn’t get it the first time, “W Stands for Women.”
In the end, 62% of white males and 55% of white females voted for George W. Bush. Two core constituencies -- NASCAR Dads and Soccer Moms – came together on November 2 to re-elect President Bush. (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html).
This new-found coalition made all the difference in that closely-fought presidential race. But Republican glee should be tempered by a sobering fact: their victory came at the price of neglecting the issues of white males. This is what I mean:
-- Men are the workhorses that drive the nation’s economy. When each year tens of thousands of middle-age men die prematurely from heart disease and cancer, what are the effects on our economic productivity and global competitiveness?
-- Among our nation’s most eligible bachelors, 22% have gone on a marriage strike because of laws that tilt towards women (www.mensnewsdaily.com/archive/r/roberts/2004/roberts071504.htm).
What does that portend for the future of families, which create the foundation of society?
-- Fathers are a pillar of stability for beleaguered families. When divorcing wives cast fathers out of their homes and claim sole custody of the children, are we prepared for the higher rates of juvenile delinquency and social dysfunction seen among fatherless children?
Meanwhile back in Massachusetts, a small band of NASCAR Dads put together a statewide ballot initiative. The initiative asked voters whether they believed fathers should get shared custody of their children in the event of divorce.
That common-sense idea was overwhelmingly approved by 85% of voters (http://fathersandfamilies.org/site/legislation.php). In contrast, candidate John Kerry managed to garner only 63% of the popular vote for the presidential race in his home state.
One of these days, some smart politician is going to come along and will realize that championing the issues of men, as well as women, is not only a winning campaign strategy, it’s also good for America.
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