Skip This One if You've Got an Elephant Bumper Sticker on the SUV
(Sorry in advance to apolitical readers who just like it when I'm funny. I promise more Rock of Love II commentary and the new Candy Land rules according to Thalia to come.)
This week I had an opportunity to do a little assignment for a publisher that wanted to create a basic chart for their readers on where each candidate stood on mom-centric issues. While I'm grateful for the project and really liked the people I was working with, I have to admit a bit of frustration about the nature of the assignment in the first place. Narrowing down a candidate's sixteen page health care proposal to one easily digestible bullet point is akin to asking someone to buy a car based on a single attribute.
"I'll take it!"
Oh, our poor no-attention-span society.
What the project forced me to do however was to really delve into the candidates' websites - all of them - and get to understand their plans, their differences, their similarities, their fuzzy math, their rhetoric, and which ones are truly batshit crazy.
(Oh pleaseohpleaseohplease let Huckabee be the Republican nominee. Huckabee in '08! Whoo!)
So in doing the research (and I swear I was totally objective and journalistic) here's what I found on each of the Republican candidates' websites regarding women and families and children:
Not a thing.
Unless you count fetuses which are apparently a very big deal.
There's no Supporting Parents and Caring for Children category laid out with like 8 zillion super specific proposals as there is on Clinton's site. There's no comprehensive Working Families category as on Edwards' site. Heck, Obama has a simple, all-encompassing category entitled Families. You'd think Romney, McCain, Guiliani, Huckabee, or Paul could manage that.
Not one of them mentions affordable childcare. Not one of them mentions the Family Medical Leave Act. Not one of them mentions sizeable deductions for stay-at-home parents, the promotion of telecommuting, or preventing workplace discrimination against parents and caregivers. Of course there's a bit here and there on education, most of which has to do with charter schools and voucher programs, often code for government-funded parochial schools. (I learned a whole lot about code this week.) And then there's Huckabee, whose dedication to music and art programs I actually found admirable until he goes and calls them "Weapons of Mass Instruction." Because dude, it's awesome to take a phrase meaning "nukes that can destroy life as we know it in four seconds" and change one syllable to mean "hey kids, let's play the recorder!"
(Whoo! Huckabee in '08!)
Mitt Romney's site was actually almost promising with a category called American Culture and Values. But apparently American values have more to do with "enforcing our nation's obscenity laws" than supporting paid maternity leaves.
What the GOP candidates do seem to have instead of info on families is info on faith. Oh, there's loooots of info on faith and how faithful and wonderfully God-fearing and pious and super-faithful they all are in their faithy-faithfulness.
Also gun owner rights. Because as we all know, Jesus said, "Ignore the mothers for they are not as important as the gun lobby."
Or something like that.
Now I'm not saying that everyone is going to be pro-choice. But man, shouldn't everyone be pro-family? I mean they didn't even mention the FMLA. Try googling any GOP candidate with FMLA. Or take my word for it...don't.
The way I see it, anyone with a "Women for McCain/Romney/Huckabee" t-shirt is just being used. Because clearly, McCain/Romney/Huckabee is not for women.
Okay, so now you know (with probably too much detail) who I don't like. Who do I like?
I don't know.
For once in my life, I am hopelessly on the fence. I think a President Clinton, a President Obama, or a President Edwards could each do outstanding things for our country.
But I will say this:
After really tearing into all of their websites, Senator Clinton absolutely blew me away with the comprehensiveness of her proposals, the detail of her plans, and her thorough understanding of the issues and how they play out within the political machine, and exactly how each plan could be paid for. Blew me away. Just read her agenda for working families if nothing else.
When she says she's ready to hit the ground running, she's not kidding.