Female Virgina Voters are “Queens For A Day”?

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According to the NYT: “In Virginia Race, Women Make the Difference” Here is an excerpt:

In the final stretch before Election Day, both candidates have high-profile Virginia women campaigning on their behalf. Mary Matalin, the Republican strategist, is urging women to”talk to your girlfriends”on Mr. Allen’s behalf. Lynda Robb, the wife of former Senator Chuck Robb and a daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, is hailing Mr. Webb as”understanding the needs of Virginia’s families.”

The Allen and Webb campaigns have attacked each other throughout the fall over their commitment (or lack thereof) to women’s issues and concerns, and they are ending, to a large extent, with women’s voices. In one Webb commercial being broadcast this week, a woman named April Cain looks into the camera and declares,”I have two boys, one is 9 and one is 12.”

“George Allen hasn’t done anything to help my family,”Ms. Cain adds.

In a new commercial for Mr. Allen, put up by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the female announcer intones that Mr. Webb’s writings”routinely stereotype women as promiscuous objects.”

“Arrogantly and outrageously,”the voice continues,”Webb refuses to be ashamed of what he’s written.”

The battle for the female vote began in earnest earlier this fall, when the Allen campaign, struggling to regain control of the race after several missteps, took aim at Mr. Webb’s argument 30 years ago against women in combat and the admission of women to the Naval Academy.

For much of the fall, commercials have featured retired military women arguing for : and against : Mr. Webb, who has said that he has changed over the years and that he should be judged by his record of advancing women when he was secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration.

Last week, when polls showed the race a dead heat, the Allen campaign introduced a new issue seemingly tailored for women: saying Mr. Webb’s novels included sexually explicit scenes and”chauvinistic attitudes.”

They both sound like jerks to me, but of course though I may be deeply personally affected by whatever dumbass legislation the winner decides or declines to support, I don’t get a vote. Can we get to Election Day without the spectacle of one or both of them campaigning in a pink suit? Here’s hoping.

–Ann Bartow

NB for youthful readers: “Queen for A Day” was a reality television program in the late 1950s through the early 1960s. Read more about it here.

Update: The hate e-mail from Webb supporters has really been poring in over this post. If I lived in Virginia I’d surely hold my nose and vote for Webb, but I’d still notice that he hasn’t been much of a friend to women before this campaign. I like our chances better with Democrats than Republicans, but putting the Democrats into power will only help women if we keep the pressure on the white males like Webb we will largely elect.

Udate 2d: See also.

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