Is The Gender Gap Back?

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Williamson County at 10:39 am by wcnews

Found this today via Huffington Post, War turns southern women away from GOP. It starts out with this:

President Bush’s once-solid relationship with Southern women is on the rocks. “I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant,” said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. “He’s been an embarrassment.” In the heart of Dixie, comparisons to Grant, a symbol of the Union, is the worst sort of insult, especially from a Macon woman who voted for Bush in 2000 but turned away in 2004.

Here’s my favorite part.

Knight lives in another congressional district considered competitive. Republicans hope to oust Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall (news, bio, voting record), whose district was redrawn by the GOP-controlled Georgia Legislature to make it more conservative.

Voters like Knight could prove to be spoilers. The 66-year-old real estate agent doesn’t particularly like Marshall, a hawkish Democrat and former Army Ranger, but she said she’ll vote for him because she likes his conservative Republican opponent, former Rep. Mac Collins, even less.

“I’m going to go for the moderate, and these days that tends to be Democrats,” Knight said.

Sandy Rubin, a high school teacher in Macon, voted for Bush and said she’s also likely to vote for Marshall. Rubin said the GOP’s focus on issues that appeal to social conservatives, such as gay marriage and abortion, have turned her off.

“I care about job security and education. The things I hear the Republicans emphasizing in their campaigns are not things that affect me or my family,” said the 39-year-old mother of two.

That sure sounds like a good campaign ad to me. But ultimately this comes back to the war in Iraq and Bush and the Republicans mishandling of it.

Nationally, the AP-Ipsos poll found that only 28 percent of women approve of Bush’s handling of the war. Bush did better in the South, but only slightly — just 32 percent of women in the region said they approve of his handling of the war.

“I never did understand why we went into Iraq and didn’t instead clean up the mess in Afghanistan first,” Knight said.

Teresa Cranford, 39, also of Macon, said her support for Bush was lukewarm in 2004, but she ultimately voted for him so he could finish the job in Iraq. As the death toll has risen, so has her discomfort.

“I’m a mother and that makes me think differently about it,” Cranford said.

Lynn Hamilton, 44, said she still supports Bush even though her backing for the ongoing war has waned.

“As a mother you worry, ‘Am I going to lose my baby boy?’” said the Gray, Ga., resident. “A mother’s view about war is often going to be a lot different than dad’s is.”

Neither Cranford nor Hamilton has decided how they plan to vote in the midterm elections, although neither ruled out voting for a Democrat.

“I’m not a straight party-line Republican anymore,” Cranford said.

Here’s what one of the 28%-ers had to say.

Still, some Southern women remain stalwart supporters of the president and the Republican Party. At a watermelon festival in Chickamauga, in the mountains of northwest Georgia, substitute teacher Clydeen Tomanio said she remains committed to the party she’s called home for 43 years.

“There are some people, and I’m one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord,” Tomanio said. “I don’t care how he governs, I will support him. I’m a Republican through and through.”

I think it’s obvious that she doesn’t care if she still supports this president. Just remember moms out there, there is a candidate running in CD-31, Mary Beth Harrell, who is a mother of two soldiers, one currently in Iraq, and she will do what’s right when it comes to the military, unlike her opponent.

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