Men: Last great hope of the Republican Party
By Carey Roberts
A few years ago Democratic pollster Celinda Lake sounded the alarm that the Dems needed to reach out to male voters, or else resign itself to becoming a party of the perpetual minority. At first everyone laughed her off.
Then candidate John Kerry disastrously admitted in the 2004 campaign that his wife and daughters "kick me around," and New York Times writer Frank Rich accused Kerry of being a Girlie-Man.
So after the Dems counted their losses and licked their wounds, Representative Rahm Emanuel, Senator Charles Schumer, and John Lapp, former director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sat down for a long, hard talk. They decided to put together a new game plan -- one that would feature new faces, all men – check that, macho men.
Why? Because "Presidential politics, but also the rest of national political leadership, has a lot to do with the understandable desire of voters for leadership, strength, clarity, and sureness," according to Jim Jordan, John's Kerry's first presidential campaign manager.
So the trio drafted some go-to guys to run for the House, like former NFL quarterback Heath Schuler. They recruited Joe Sestak, former Navy vice admiral; Patrick Murphy, an Iraq war veteran; Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana sheriff; and Chris Carney, commander in the Navy reserves.
In the Senate, former Marine Jim Webb and Jon Tester, the Montana farmer who sports a no-nonsense buzz-cut, agreed to run.
Maybe these guys didn't toe the party line on abortion rights for 13-year-old girls. But they did bring an ample supply of testosterone to the line-up. And they all triumphed in their contests
Even the feminists had to admit the male electorate had been pivotal. "If only men had voted," crowed Eleanor Smeal, publisher of Ms. Magazine, "Jim Webb (D-Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) would have lost."
So what about the muscularity quotient of the Republican Party?
Honestly, we'd have to say it's a mixed bag. President Bush certainly comes across as courageous, resolute, and steady at the helm. Maybe not in the same league as a Brett Favre or John Elway, but certainly stands tall in the pocket.
But during the last presidential campaign, I saw Barbara and Laura Bush speak before a televised gathering of Republican women. That's when I realized something had gone terribly wrong.
Barbara recounted the story when George W. had put his feet on the living room furniture, only to earn a stern rebuke from the woman of the house. Then she bragged how President Bush was surrounded by a gaggle of "strong women" – as if they were calling the shots. Both accounts were greeted by roaring laughter from the women in the audience.
And then there was the White House Press Correspondent's Dinner where Laura made tasteless jokes at her husband's expense.
Since when is it acceptable to announce to the world that the president of the United States is a hen-pecked husband? What's next – Bill bragging that he's the quarterback of the operation and Hillary is a political rookie?
It's no secret, men and women view the world through a different prism. Men value self-reliance, risk-taking, and action. Men are put off by the primping, pouting, and pontificating of celebrity-types like Rosie and Roseanne.
In contrast, women are more interested in safety and security, even if it means an occasional intrusion of the Nanny State. As columnist Allison Brown put it, "Most women are natural socialists."
Yes, we want women to support our issues. But if you lean too far in casting your message to the members of the fairer sex, you risk betraying your core principles as the standard-bearer of limited government and fiscal restraint.
It's no secret that the Republican party is in disarray. Its conservative base is in revolt, a front-runner for the 2008 race has yet to emerge, and the president's governing strategy with the Dems remains in flux.
So Republicans, it's time to field your veteran players.
No doubt, men are tired of being dissed. Remember the "W Stands for Women" campaign slogan? For every woman who was swayed by that bumper sticker to vote Republican, I'm sure two disgusted male voters decided to take their business elsewhere.
Action item for the Republican National Committee: Here's your next campaign slogan: "G.O.P. Stands for Guys."
And look at all the big-government, civil liberties-destroying, family-intrusive programs that the Lefties have been stuffing down our throats – when are you men going to move up to the big leagues?
Speaking of which, the Super Bowl is just around the corner. I've invited some of the gang to come over for beer and pizza. So Mr. President, consider this an invitation. You can put your feet on my furniture anytime.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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