Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

W is for Women

If Bush was in trouble with women after the second debate (as Peter points out, via NRO and Rich Lowry, below) I think he made up for it tonight. He was at his best in discussing faith, family, and education without seeming "overbearing" or "judgmental". Above all, Bush’s wonderful and heartfelt response to the question of the "strong women" in his life was a homerun all around. It makes the famous "kiss" between Al and Tipper Gore at the 2000 Dem. convention look like child’s play. Everyone knows that the best foreplay for women is mental, not physical. Every woman watching that debate was thinking . . . "if only my husband would talk that way about me . . ." And Kerry’s lame, lame, lame--even damning--response to the question may be as bad for him with women as was Dukakis’s refusal in the 1988 debates, to defend the honor of his wife in the hypothetical event she was raped.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Julie I am going to hope that you are right. If women break for the President this election is over. Men were already heavily for him and most of the errosion of support for the president in the last two weeks has come from women voters. Did you see the look on Teresa’s face immediately after the debate. I would say somebody is going to be cut off for awhile...

Also, I can’t imagine that Kerry’s gratuitous mention of Mary Cheney’s sexuality will do him any good among those women who happen to be mothers.

I thought President Bush’s response to that question was heartfelt, endearing even. It was clear that he really loves his wife, for all his shortcomings. Also, a few questions earlier, when talking about his faith, Bush said: "I pray for my little girls." The use of "little girls" to refer to his 22-year-old daughters was sweet, too. It proved (to me) he’s human and just like most other dads. However, I don’t know how many other young women share my opinion.

But what was up with Kerry’s response to that question? He joked about his wife’s money instead.

Julie, I don’t think this comes close to the Dukakis moment. He did honor his mother. I think Kerry internalized his campaign’s intention to muffle the Ketchup Contessa. The damage has already been done with her, and, I think others are right, the comment about the Cheney daughter properly draws indignation. We won’t hear an apology, of course. But the comment also draws attention to the families, including most prominently Mrs. Kerry.

In response to a question about their wives the contrast was stark. Bush waxes eloquent, telling us he loves his wife, and we are deeply moved. How Romantic. My four teenaged and 21 y.o. daughters nearly swooned.
Kerry tells us what he loves best about his wife is her money. In fact, that’s apparently the ONLY thing he likes about his wife, so he moves on instead to tell us that his mother, apparently deeply concerned about his character flaws, tells him on her deathbed ’integrity, integrity, integrity.’
I’m willing to trust his dying mother’s judgement and believe he needed to hear that message, and still does.
And I’d hate to be his wife and have him tell the public that he married me for my money, and that’s all he can say about me, and he’d rather talk about my mother-in-law.
My four daughters practically spit indignation on Teresa’s behalf at that moment, and they do not care for her.

Here was a case where Kerry just could not pass up an opportunity to attempt to score political points instead of simply answering what should have been the easiest question of the night. Bush replied without hesitation and with that great sense of humor that endears you to him. To the question, "What is the most important thing you’ve learned from these strong women?, Bush replied, "Listen to them," and you could tell he meant it. Kerry had to turn the question back to himself, i.e., his political ambition. Like Gore exploiting his sister’s death from cancer to make a point about "Big Tobacco," Kerry couldn’t leave a private moment private--had to try to wrench some personal, political advantage from that most intimate of moments. Mercy, his mother is on her death bed and the last words to her grown son are "Integrity, integrity, integrity"?.

The American people need a president they can trust. In addition to offering principles and policy proposals the people believe in, a presidential candidate must show them he possesses a character worthy of their esteem. Bush’s decency of character came through in his reply to the last question of the last formal debate of the campaign. Kerry came off as yet another man on the political make. In a national office where one’s character, wisdom, and prudence are needed more than in any other office, Bush conveyed what he believed and, equally as important, who he is in a way that should garner him the confidence and votes of a majority of the American people.


"Integrity, integrity, integrity." Leaving aside that it is one word and not three, as Kerry said, I could not help wondering if it was a dying mother’s last, desperate attempt to teach her son a lesson that clearly has not been learned!

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