Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 26, 2000/ 27 Tishrei, 5761

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Taking it to the streets --
NEW YORK CITY | Three debates later, with less than two weeks before the presidential election, 10 percent of voters -- more than half of them women -- are still undecided. What gives?

How can anyone not know at this point which candidate best represents their values and goals? How can two substantively different candidates pose such conflict in the final dash? I decided to take the question to the streets.

Admittedly, mine was an unscientific poll. First of all, it was raining on Madison Avenue, from which you can conclude that my interviewees were hurried, possibly tourists, and of a higher income level than people I might have startled in a less prosperous neighborhood.

But I didn't stop there. I also interviewed service people in hotels and restaurants, as well as cab drivers and fellow diners. Basically, I was obnoxious, remembering with sudden clarity why I always hated man-on-the-street assignments, but determined to discover the truth of this election.

What I found was that, yes, many people, mostly women, really are still undecided. Those who aren't undecided are reluctant to 'fess up. Men especially eyed me suspiciously, figuring me to be a Gore fan, being a woman and all. I guess they expected me to sneer contemptuously or slap them or, worse, to lecture them.

Basically, my findings supported the polls. White men are for Bush; minority men and women are for Gore.

Women like me -- the "WM2" target audience of white, working, married mothers -- are, guess what, undecided. What's wrong with these women? What are they waiting for?

The answer to the first question was unanimous among my polling group: "I can't decide because I don't really like either one of them."

Fellow Americans, meet the voters who will decide your election. The Nov. 7 swing vote won't be principally about issues, but about something not even quantifiable. For these women, the question essentially comes down to: who can I stand for four years? Can I stand the finger-pointing 12-volume, leather-bound know-it-all? Or can I stand the smirk that bespeaks thin, unread paperbacks?

One WM2 woman, 41, said she'd have to turn off the television for four years if Gore were elected, though she prefers his plans for prescription drugs and his clearer stance on abortion. Another, 45, said she prefers Bush's tax cut and reduced-government spending proposals, but she's concerned that he lacks intellectual depth.

Sound familiar? What they're waiting for, meanwhile, is a certain keystroke -- an act of brilliance or a fatal flaw -- that will confirm what their instincts hint. The undecided-women's-intuition vote, which on the surface seems emotional rather than rational, makes some people nervous.

Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, said on television recently that people still undecided at this point shouldn't vote at all. He called it irresponsible for people who can't make up their minds to be part of the election process.

Of course, why draw the line there? Why not preclude voters who've never paid a government tax or raised a child? What do they know about balancing budgets or juggling work and family?

The fact is, when it comes to politics, where everything is staged, rehearsed, polled and polished, intuition may be as good a guide as any. On the big decisions, I'd trust a working mother, regardless of race, who's managed a marriage, job and family above any other group that comes to mind. I figure she's got pretty good instincts, and better she should take her time.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


10/23/00: Headlines blur fiasco of family
10/13/00: Forget polls: Bush passes turtle test
10/06/00: Feminism: A cup that's half full?
10/04/00: Election-year reality check: Abortion is here to stay
09/29/00: For Gore and Hollywood, the mirror has two faces
09/26/00: Oprahfication of presidential political: It's all about feelings
09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
09/15/00: So wear, oh wear, are we headed?
09/11/00: Do Steinem's wedding bells sound feminist death knells?
09/08/00: Grounded in her fears about flying
08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
08/29/00: AlGore wants to be his own man -- does he know who that is?
08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services