Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mrs. Bill Clinton's best hope

Selwyn Duke analyzes Mrs. Bill Clinton's chances:

As I said when writing about the New Chivalry, it replaces the traditional variety and refers to the affirmative-action mentality that now prevails. It involves laws, set-asides, regulations, quotas, mandates, social codes and conventions that prescribe favorable treatment for women. Among my examples, I pointed to a high school girl golfer who was afforded entry into a boys' tournament on the basis of an equality argument, but then was allowed to play forward tees that made the course 20 percent shorter for her. In other words, equality got her in the door but was then left outside.

This phenomenon is evident with Clinton as well; equality has gotten her a place in the race but also ensures that she will never have to run as fast. No small number of Americans -- many of them men -- will vote for her simply, well... because she's a woman. As to this, just a few days ago I was told of a young man who said he would vote for Clinton because it would be "cool" to have a female president.

Married to the New Chivalry is group-identity politics, the phenomenon that contributes to women's acceptance of the former's seductive hand. As to its impact on this election, Clinton right-hand man turned pundit Dick Morris has said that her candidacy will bring out 20 million female voters who would usually sit on the sidelines. And while Morris the Catty's prescience has often been questionable, this prediction is logical enough to fill me with a sense of foreboding.
In response, many may point to Clinton's high negatives and polls showing that close to 50 percent of respondents say they will never vote for her. Yet I suspect that these polls don't accurately measure the unprecedented estrogen surge that could be nigh. Let's now examine the female factor.

Group patriotism is a powerful force. As to this, I think of my Greek-descent in-laws who voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988 simply because he shared their heritage. Such thinking is Greek to me, but, sadly, it plagues man. Just consider how many other Americans will rally to support a candidate from their group regardless of ideology or integrity. And this brings us to women.

There was a time when the word "feminist" was not prominent in our lexicon. Girls were raised to be girls, and the patriarchy was fact, not fiction and foe. After years of destroying tradition and imbibing the feminist malt, however, this has changed.

There are now tens of millions of women who have been weaned on identity politics. From the time they were little girls they have in essence been told, "Men have kept you down; men have oppressed you." They have been subjected to feminist curricula in schools that present a tendentious view of history and reinforce these notions, and in college it only gets worse, with women's studies classes that instill misandry. Consequently, like an afrocentrist, Latino activist or any other group patriot, they view everything through the prism of "us against them" and have chips on their shoulders.

Although this doesn't apply to all women, the ones I describe are legion. They will vote for a woman simply, well... because she's a woman. They can't be reasoned with, for, as Ben Franklin said, "You cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." Emotion is the seducer who charms them, and reason changes minds, not hearts.

If such women read this article, for instance, they would only be confirmed in their position that the infernal "patriarchy" will stop at nothing to keep a woman in the house - or at least in the Senate. I would just be another insecure male -- not a man, mind you -- whose masculinity was threatened by the ascension of the more ethereal sex. No matter what I said, they would vote for her. No matter what she says, they will vote for her.

So, too, will the Republican nominee be an insecure if not abusive male. Whether attacks on Clinton are warranted or not, every one will remind these women of an ex-husband or boyfriend, former boss, or father whom they imagine did them wrong. The attacks will not be analyzed, but felt. They may be valid, but they will simply be what a victimizer does to a victim, and each attack will make her seem all the more the victim of domestic political violence. Why? Because that's how these women see things. Why? Because that's what men do. Why? Because she's a woman.

Such intractable biases are one of the consequences of group-identity politics. And along with the New Chivalry, it may be more than enough to visit upon us a uniquely unqualified individual. Notice that after Clinton was exposed for being just that in the second to last Democrat debate - merely by being pressed to answer a simple question - CNN handled her with kid gloves in the last one. The media had been chastened for "doing what men do" by many and were back in chivalric form. So who can really take Clinton to task? Be it the media, the other candidates or someone else, it will just be seen as the boys bullying the girl.

Perhaps my estimation of Clinton's chances is overly sanguine. Call me a pessimist. Yes, I do know that not only is she unpopular with a majority of men but that there are millions of women who would rather don full-length burkas then cast votes for her. But I also know that "because she's a woman" is a powerful argument in an age where feminocracy is extolled. And it just may be enough to possess us to make history. It may give us our first affirmative-action president.

If Mrs. Bill Clinton is elected it will be due to this factor and nothing else.

In his latest book Freedomomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half Baked Theories Don't economist John Lott looks briefly at the terrible price the nation has paid for granting women the right to vote. Much of the welfare state and the other manifestations of the nation's accelerating drift to the left can be blamed on women's suffrage. The rest is due to the constitutional amendment mandating the election of Senators by a direct vote rather than having them chosen by the state governments.

At this point women usually point out that the laws creating the welfare state and all the other victories of the political left were enacted by legislatures which were overwhelmingly male. This is true, but those male law makers were pandering to women voters.

All one needs to do to prove my point is to look at the election of every statist president since FDR and see how the vote would have gone if women had not participated in the voting.

It was not supposed to be this way. The women who worked to gain the right to vote for their sex argued that because the wife was usually the manager of the household budget and because women were usually more faithful and devout Christians than men that women's suffrage would result in a more fiscally responsible government which would be more firmly grounded in sound Christian principles.

Women will argue that it is only fair that they have the right to vote since they are also citizens and taxpayers and must live under the laws that elected politicians enact. This is unquestionably true. However the framers understood that the goal of liberty and prosperity for the nation was more important than fairness in selecting the leaders of that nation.

The founding fathers who designed our republic understood that it needed an element of democracy, but that too much democracy would doom the project. Therefore the government was divided between a legislature consisting of two chambers and a president. The Supreme Court was not intended to pay a part in law making although it quickly usurped that role.

The legislature was divided into a Senate whose members would be selected by the state governments so that the states as political entities would have a direct voice, and veto, over the actions of the federal government. The president was chosen by electors who were appointed by the state governments with no requirement for a popular vote and the members of the House of Representatives were elected democratically in local districts.

But the Framers understood that the franchise (the right to vote) should be restricted to people who had a stake in maintaining the model of limited government and low taxation that they had established. So the right to vote was not universal.

Without any doubt the process of selecting the leaders of the nation is much fairer today that it was in the past but has that gain in fariness been worth the price we have paid for it?

When the income tax was first created to help pay for WWI the maximum rate was 2% and there were fears that it could go as high as 10%. Those who favored the tax denied that it could ever go as high as 10% and assured everyone that it was only a temporary wartime measure.

The income tax was not repealed after the end of WWI and within a short time the top marginal rate was raised to 90%. Many people use this to make the case that the government will never do away with a tax once it has been enacted. However the special wartime revenue measures used by the Union to finance the Civil War (along with the other wartime imposition on civil liberties) were done away with after the Civil War. What made the situation after WWI different? The 19th Amendment to the US constitution was approved by the congress in 1919 and ratified by the states in 1920 and women were granted the right to vote across the entire nation. This is what kept the income tax a permanant feature of life in America.

Of course I realize that the woman's suffrage genie isn't going back in the bottle. One of the side effects of the feminization of the political process has been the elevation of "fairness" to the status of the highest value (rather than liberty or prosperity).