Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pelosi in Baghdad: It's about female voters, stupid!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been in Baghdad recently to meet with Iraqi officials and Gen. David Petraeus, besides "paying respects" to our men and women in uniform over there.
That's her second trip to Iraq as House Speaker, in addition to her controversial visit to Syria last year.

What does all this mean? Nothing to all the political pundits on television. To me, it means she is cementing her national security credentials to be Sen. Barack Obama's running mate.

Everyone is talking about how Obama can ultimately get the votes of white, blue collar men in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in the general election. Forget about that. Pelosi on the ticket means so much more. She would get the votes of a lot of women whose hearts, minds and souls have been rooted in the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Women do most of the voting in this nation, besides most of the toughest work in raising families in addition to being in the outside workplace.

The level of disappointment for many American women in the probable unsuccessful effort of Sen. Clinton to secure the Democratic nomination for president is high. And rightly so. The signs of this deep disappointment are everywhere, if all the TV punditry that is dominated by white men would shut up and notice for once.

CNN exit polls in Kentucky showed two-thirds of Clinton voters would not support Obama. That's scary. Yes, he's not going to carry Kentucky in the fall anyway. But consider that former Dem VP nominee Geraldine Ferraro said yesterday that Obama is a sexist and she doesn't know if she'll vote for him in the general election. Former Clinton administration press secretary Dee Dee Myers told CNN that most exit polls are only asking people if race played a role in their vote, not gender. Big mistake.

I believe from my own conversations with female voters that their investment in Hillary Clinton's campaign is not so easily transferable intellectually and emotionally to Obama. Women have endured more indignites than we males ever realize. And even some women don't realize it. My wife, the best writer and journalist in our family, shakes her head when younger female journalists don't acknowledge the doors that were opened for them by older women reporters, copy editors and editors. My wife makes sure to show deference to these vets. It wasn't that long ago that women were not allowed to write on politics, sports, cops and a lot of other issues and beats of importance. Society pages and recipes were their place.

The trailblazers in my profession took a lot of crap and harrassment and were paid a lot less than males doing the same job. And these were men who had even fewer skills and less education. The wage gap still is there in all professions.

I remember a segment from the CBS show Northern Exposure in which the town's cerebral DJ(man) was talking with the town's hypocondriac(woman). The supposed sensitive male was speaking of how he wanted to get in touch with his feminine side. To that, the hypocondriac female retorted: "Well, cut your pay in half!"

Sen. Clinton has spoken about the slights she has endured on the campaign trail. The use of the B-word, the focus on fashion and hair and even cleavage represents ridiculous things that have nothing to do with being president of the United States. And yes, media coverage has been skewed against her, as Saturday Night Live humorously and poignantly satired.

Where does all this rambling of wrongs leave us? It should encourage pundits to quit focusing on white, blue collar males and start talking about and listening to the people who do most of the voting in this country: women. Any Democratic ticket about change must include political progress for African-Americans and women.

And Obama, if he is as brilliant as folks say, has already gotten the commitment from Pelosi to be his running mate.

No comments: