ifeminists.com: A central gathering place and information center for individualist feminists.   -- explore the new feminism --
introduction | interaction | information

ifeminists.com > introduction > editorials

Will the NASCAR Dads Tilt the Election?
September 1, 2004
by Carey Roberts

White males represent one of the most important groups in the American electorate. Forty-five million strong, these men - dubbed NASCAR Dads by the skeptical liberal media - have been among George W. Bush's most dependable supporters.

In 2000, 60% of the white male electorate voted for Bush -- now there's a real gender gap. So as President Bush puts the final touches on his Thursday night acceptance speech, no doubt he will be thinking how to strengthen his appeal with the NASCAR Dads.

So let's ask, What has Bush done over the past four years to help struggling men?

Men are usually the primary breadwinners, so we should first examine Bush's track record in reviving the economy. Shortly after taking office, Bush had to deal with some formidable challenges: the downturn of the stock market, the corporate accounting scandals, 9/11, and the War on Terror.

So last year Bush passed the Jobs and Growth Act which reduced personal income taxes and created new jobs. And in the past year, the economy grew an impressive 4.8%.

Giving a boost to male breadwinners - that's a biggie. So score three points in the plus column.

In recent years, men have faced an unprecedented effort by radical feminists to marginalize their social and legal standing in society. A prime example: thanks to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, fathers lost the legal right to participate in decision-making on keeping their own child.

Last year, Bush signed a law banning the gruesome procedure known as partial birth abortion. Although the law did nothing to address the reproductive disenfranchisement of dads, it was a step in the right direction.

One point.

But in other areas, Bush has kowtowed to the radical feminist agenda.

Take the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA spends $1 billion of taxpayer money each year based on the faulty assumption that only women are victimized by domestic violence. Sadly, Bush has done nothing to rectify the obvious unfairness of VAWA.

Subtract one.

The second area of concern is the child support program, administered by the Office for Child Support Enforcement.

If you want to see how an expensive do-gooder program can actually make things worse, you will find no better example than the OCSE. According to a recent Census Bureau report, the percentage of mothers who received child support has dropped in recent years. In 1994, the figure was 76.1%. Eight years later, it was down to 74.7%.

The reason for this decline is simple. When you start putting thousands of low-income fathers behind bars for child support arrearages, it becomes pretty hard for these guys to earn money and make payments. The Bush Administration has done nothing to blunt the squeeze-blood-from-a-turnip mindset of the OCSE bureaucrats.

Take away another point.

Shortly after George W. Bush won the 2000 election, his Administration issued a Statement on Responsible Fatherhood. The document acknowledged the fact that "research shows that a large portion of fathers who do not pay child support are themselves poor." Fatherhood advocates were hopeful they would see an end to the midnight raids on so-called "deadbeat" dads. True, Bush did continue the Fatherhood Initiative which the Clinton Administration had started. But under the rubric of "responsible fatherhood," the Bush Administration has linked fatherhood promotion with child support collection.

Think about it: first you're going to talk about being a caring, involved dad. And then you're going to throw him in jail if he loses his job? PLEEEEAASE.

Sorry, the mixed-message Fatherhood Initiative doesn't win my vote.

So let's tally up the numbers. Four points in the plus column, two in the minus. Final score: two points.

If we did a similar tally on John Kerry's radical feminist platform, the number would fall in the negative range. Overall, Bush comes out ahead. But not very much to get excited about.

So white males likely will continue to vote overwhelmingly in Bush's favor. Or on second thought, maybe they'll decide to sit this election out.

ifeminists.com > home | introduction | interaction | information | about

ifeminists.com is edited by Wendy McElroy; it is made possible by support from The Independent Institute and members like you.