The He-Man Women-Haters Club
July 3, 2004
By Tony Logan
we are all no doubt tired of hearing, the Nascar Dads are the demographic
du jour of the 2004 campaign season. This group - overwhelmingly
White, Southern and blue collar - consists of manly-men who drive
manly pickup trucks, drink manly beer and watch highly paid athletes
in gaudy advertising platforms press down and turn left until somebody
wrecks. As a Northerner who does much the same thing only at hockey
games, what's not to like about that lifestyle? Still, university
research has painstakingly shown that more than 97.5 % of Nascar
Dads... are not women.
Nevertheless, the Rove/Bush/Cheney campaign machine has locked
on to this demographic big time. Millions are being spent on flag-draped
carrier landings and action hero ads filled with soldiers and armaments
showing the president as the manly commander-in-chief in the War
on Terror. And among the red neck, white socks, and Blue Ribbon
Beer crowd, it appears to be working. A recent New York Times
article quoted Sugarland, Texas Bush supporter Britton Stein describing
Bush as "a man, a man's man, a manly man," and former Democratic
standard- bearer Al Gore as "a ranting and raving little whiny baby."
Equally revealing in a Rove-scripted campaign are the buzzwords
echoing through the right-wing echo chamber which, given the unabashed
support of the GOP by newly-consolidated media giants, now blares
with the ear-shattering constancy of a Metallica concert. Tony Hunt,
a leader in the Bush-adoring "Promise Keeper" movement has observed:
"The demise of our community and culture is the fault of sissified
men who have been overly influenced by women."
Rush Limbaugh - when he's not dismissing the grim, psycho-sexual
abuse of Iraqi prisoners as a zany fraternity prank - now regularly
decries the "feminization" of American politics. Just what Rush
means by this, no one can say. But what it signifies is the latest
GOP talking point meant to communicate to voters that John Kerry
is a goddamn sissy.
In keeping with the swaggering, me-Tarzan-you-Jane meme of the
Bush campaign, Rove has even dispatched the Administration's most
masculine, testosterone-drenched, he-man of them all - Karen Hughes
- to rile up the President's base on the most "feminized" issue
of the campaign: a woman's right to choose. Placing herself in the
metaphorical rubble of the Twin Towers, Hughes opined last April
that the terror attacks by foreign religious militants on 9/11 had
aroused the American public to adopt the position of American
religious militants to outlaw a woman's right to choose.
And least someone accuse the Bush administration of gender balance
in the public policy debate over abortion, Bush was photographed
signing last November's bill outlawing "Partial Birth Abortion"
on a dais flanked by nine white guys in suits; "…without a working
uterus in sight," as observed by Anna Quindlen. Given that the Bush
White House is uniformly heralded as the most, scripted, photo-oped
administration in history, that wire service photo did not circulate
by accident. Rove is sending out a message to Nascar Dads and to
the Old Testament religious right that women's rights will soon
become irrelevant as Bush - a male cheerleader in his high school
heyday - pushes a social agenda which "masculinizes" American politics.
And just what has Bush's "masculinization" of American politics
meant in the first Bush term?
- This administration has been wiped clean of strong-willed women
in positions of power. Christine Todd Whitman lasted about 15
minutes as a cabinet officer when she actually tried to protect
the environment from her post at the Environmental Protection
Agency. Condoleezza Rice has been largely stripped of any discernible
power and now serves as a public relations specialist for the
Department of Defense.
- To convince their good ol' boy constituents that urban gays
are the promiscuous, slimy degenerates they've always assumed
them to be, Bush has resolved to amend the Constitution of the
United States to ban loving, monogamous relationships among gay
- Family issues like education, health care, pay equity and child
care have utterly vanished from the radar screen this election
cycle. These are issues for sissies!
This is a campaign of, by and for white males. They have run their
cynical calculus and have come to believe that they can win their
second term without women; that is to say, with a platform that
actively undermines traditional women's values. Victory for Bush
will be realized through a classic, Nixonian Southern Strategy which
aims primarily at white male voters in the red states but assumes
that a not-insignificant number of women will obediently come along
with their husbands on religious grounds or on the wildcard issue
Outside of the Amish community, the Bush Boys will not find widespread
acceptance of their radical and anti-feminist agenda among women.
Thus, for their Southern Strategy to work they must convince women
across the board that it is George W - and not John Kerry - who
can protect them and their families from fiery death at the hands
of swarthy, foreign terrorists. In other words, they must turn Soccer
Moms into Security Moms.
Just how will they convince large numbers of women to vote against
their economic and cultural interests to become single-issue security
voters? Meet Nuradin Abdi. On June 14th - one day before candidate
John Kerry was scheduled to visit Columbus, Ohio on a campaign swing
- John Ashcroft announced to the world the indictment of 32 year
old Abdi, a Somali immigrant from Columbus, on a charge that he
was plotting with Al Qaeda to blow up an undisclosed shopping mall
"The American Heartland was targeted for death and destruction
by an Al Qaeda cell," Ashcroft told reporters. Ashcroft, perhaps
best known for his unique vocal stylizations of "Let The Eagle Soar,"
might just as well have added: "Now put away those silly soccer
balls, girls, and let us he- men do our jobs."
(Interestingly, Abdi had been in Ashcroft's custody - and incommunicado
- since November 2003. At his court appearance on June 17th, Abdi
was incapable of responding to the charges against him, and deliriously
pounded his head on the counsel table throughout the hearing. His
family described him as a "different man," and the federal magistrate
immediately referred him out for psychiatric evaluation. Nevertheless,
headlines detailing the "mall bomber plot" literally knocked the
Kerry visit off the front pages.)
And there, my friends, is the Bush/Cheney women's platform: fear
wrapped in anxiety, riddled with panic, with a pinch of hysteria
thrown in for good measure. Bomb plots in Ohio shopping malls...
dirty bombs in Chicago... Al Qaeda suicide car bomb attacks in Davenport...
these events - imaginary or real - will dominate the 2004 Bush campaign;
both the legal campaign and the shadow campaign executed by those
highly-paid, government service neocons in cabinet and sub-cabinet
positions at Justice, Homeland Security and the DOD. It's the security,
And don't women expect and deserve a secure living environment?
Damn right they do. And isn't Bush's aggressive, militaristic, morally-monochrome
approach to fighting terror more effective than Kerry's "nuanced"
approach? Not hardly. Bush's ham-fisted approach seems to have filled,
rather than drained, the swamp of American-loathing terror recruits,
increasing the likelihood of terror attacks here and elsewhere.
Another four years of George Bush's "Ready, Fire, Aim" foreign policy
will accomplish nothing more than giving birth to the Orwellian
nightmare of perpetual war.
It must be remembered that in the He-Man's Women-Haters Club of
"Little Rascals" fame, Spanky, Buckwheat and Porky sacredly vowed
to stay true to their he-man roots, and avoid all women at all times.
However, Alfalfa, the titular head of the club, turned out to be
a closeted admirer of the lovely Darla, and, thus, a sissy at heart.
George W. (who coincidentally bears a sharp resemblance to Alfalfa)
has, alas, turned out to be a sissy at heart as well: the male cheerleader
trying to gain the respect of the jocks by strutting across a carrier
deck in a flight suit. He's all CB and no truck.
So what do Security Moms really want? What do Soccer Moms really
want? They want what all women and Nascar Dads want. They
want something more than an empty flight suit. They want someone
with the quiet nerve to fill one out.