Democratic Underground

The He-Man Women-Haters Club

July 3, 2004
By Tony Logan

As 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."

Yee haa!

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 couples.

  • 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 of security.

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 in Ohio.

"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, stupid.

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.

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