October 18, 2004

My take on the new gender gap.

Kausfiles writes:
[S]omething more than Security Momming would seem to be required to explain the 10 point reverse gender gap. (The poll followed a debate on domestic policy, after all.) Maybe something about how Kerry reminds women .... not of their first husband so much as of a guy who never got to be their first husband because he bored them on their first date so he never got a second one. Meanwhile, for men, Kerry actually out-machos Bush in debate if you turn off the sound (and maybe even if you don't). ...
Speaking as one person on the female side of the gap, I'll say that I've never forgotten this exchange, which occurred on September 13, 2001:
QUESTION: Could you give us a sense as to what kind of prayers you are thinking and where your heart is for yourself, as you work on that?

BUSH: Well, I don't think about myself right now. I think about the families, the children. I'm a loving guy. And I am also someone, however, who's got a job to do, and I intend to do it. And this is a terrible moment. But this country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America.
I still remember how he said "I'm a loving guy." I just came out of him--pure expression. It's insulting to women to say that we are evaluating the two men as potential husbands, but it may be that women are responding in some way to their love--that presidential sort of love that is a deep feeling of love for humanity, solidly connected to a commitment to do what one perceives as necessary. I have never heard Kerry express anything like that kind of love. Even if I don't like every component of Bush's moral core and even if I don't agree with everything Bush thought was needed and the way he went about doing what he thought was needed, I feel a strong connection to this man and what we've been through together. Seeing the two men side by side in the debate, Bush still seems to me to be the "loving guy" who did what he said he would do. Who is this Kerry who would unseat him? He looks like a cold, deliberate power-seeker to me. And if that's the feeling you have, that "daughter who is ... a lesbian" remark--along with the heartless insistence that he was actually being quite nice--is really rather repellent. It's hard to generalize, but maybe my response says something about the new polls and the new gender gap.

UPDATE: This post reminded an emailer of this news story. Quite apt.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another emailer sent in this link, also apt.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a very well put observation from one of my wonderful emailers:
John Kerry is a very measured speaker who speaks each word distinctly and leaves a space between each word in that NPR style that drives me crazy. Even after his commas, Kerry leaves a distinct gap that most people would use between paragraphs. With one exception.

When Kerry referred to Mary Cheney being a lesbian he broke his normal speaking rhythm, paused, and then said "daughter who is ... a lesbian." Without even a slight pause he then immediately rushed into the next sentence. I got the impression that he felt as if he'd managed to accomplish the dirty deed and now just wanted to get out of the cesspool he'd created.

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