Women — can’t win without ’em
Everyone seems to be going after the women’s vote. But nobody, it appears, knows exactly what the “women’s vote” is except that they want it and it’s key to being elected. Women, after all, have consistently turned out in larger numbers than men for the presidential election since 1980.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are aggressively pursuing, pleading, and pandering to either close or widen the gender gap. Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren have honed their pitches to focus on women’s issues and who is better equipped to carry the agenda, someone like Brown who has lived with women all his life, or someone like Warren, who has been a woman all her life.
While the gender gap has been around and talked about for some time, it’s getting a lot of play in the wake of Romney’s head-scratching comment that after he was elected, he had “binders full of women” to pore over to fill administration posts. Less noticed in his answer about equality and opportunity was his statement that his chief of staff was a woman who did not want to work late because she wanted to go home to make dinner for her family. Both the New York Times and Vice President Joe Biden mocked that one, and you can bet it will pick up steam in the coming weeks. The Times’ Gail Collins takes on the binders.
But many of Romney’s former Massachusetts aides came to his defense. Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey defends his hiring of women as governor, the Herald reports. Interestingly, as CommonWealth reports in the new fall issue, Healey was excluded from the Monday meetings Romney held with legislative leaders, a sharp departure from past practice.
On the trail after the debate, Obama, whose one-time formidable lead among women has been virtually eliminated in the last few weeks, picked up on his theme of equality, touting his signing of the Paycheck Fairness Act as his first presidential accomplishment. And he’s not hiding the fact he has two daughters, a stark comparison to the Romneys’ five sons.
Closer to home, Brown is turning to his wife, former television reporter Gail Huff, and his daughters to bring the fight to Warren. A new ad has Huff huffing about Warren’s personal attacks while important issues get shunted aside. No mention of Brown’s hammering Warren over her Native American heritage claim or her legal work, but then, why would there be?
Warren, meantime, has amped up her standing as a woman and for women. Her new ad highlights Brown’s votes on the Lily Ledbetter Act for paycheck fairness and his votes against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and his co-sponsoring the Blunt Amendment that would restrict contraception coverage. She also brought in Sandra Fluke, the former Georgetown University law student who was pilloried by conservatives for speaking out about contraception, for some campaign appearances. But the events brought out some problems of their own for Warren and her supporters, who think all women should be behind the Harvard professor.
Lost in all this, apparently, are men, especially white men. While their votes are pretty much taken for granted, it appears they need a little more coddling and cuddling than women when it comes to courting their votes. A study after the 2008 election found that men who voted for John McCain had a drop in testosterone and self-esteem, while male Obama supporters had a spike in testosterone. Women on either side showed no similar change, indicating they were okay with their choice regardless of if they won or lost. Men are just more insecure. You’d think someone would notice.
WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer interviews Steve Crosby, the head of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, who says he is disappointed at the lack of competition for a casino in eastern Massachusetts but keeps the faith on a tribe casino in southeastern Massachusetts. Casino rumbling strikes Foxborough again, as the Kraft Group submits a zoning proposal that looks awfully similar to the one that preceded its recent dance with Steve Wynn.
A lack of staff at the Registry of Motor Vehicles has caused officials to halt license suspension hearings at the Fall River branch, forcing people to go to Brockton or Boston for their appeals.
A bill allotting a beer and wine liquor license for a grocery store in Rockport reaches the governor’s desk, the Gloucester Times reports.
MASSCreative, which lobbies for the arts, has launched an effort to get the word out about Berkshires arts programs.
The state auditor’s office issues findings that MassHealth does not have adequate oversight of its guidelines.
The new Republican member of the Lawrence Licensing Board registered as a Republican only days before he applied for the job, which may be a violation of state law, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Newton Mayor Setti Warren asks for support for a package of Proposition 2½ overrides that will come before voters next year.
A special town meeting in Framingham passes two anti-blight measures.
Greg Selkoe says he’s talking to dark horse candidates who might challenge Boston Mayor Tom Menino. The Herald reports that Suffolk DA Dan Conley, state rep/union boss Marty Walsh, and city councilors Mike Ross and John Connolly all like the sound of an open seat, but none of them want a piece of Hizzoner.
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn offers a thoughtful consideration of the blue state/red state divide that goes well beyond the usual cable talk show blather.
Student loan debt continues to climb.
Karl Rove concedes that Obama won this week’s debate, and then goes on to do his usual Rove-y thing in his regular Wall Street Journal column. Phil Gramm tries running with Romney’s theories about government dependency and the victimized 47 percent; the column belongs in a binder labeled “Not Helping.” The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, who filed a long piece on the racial politics of the Obama presidency last month, takes up Tagg Romney’s comment about wanting to “take a swing” at Obama during the debate: “It’s worth trying to imagine any black man associated with a credible black candidate for the presidency, joking about beating down the incumbent president of the United States.”
The Washington Post examines what Romney learned from his 1994 US Senate battle with Ted Kennedy.
At a campaign stop in Taunton yesterday, Sen. Scott Brown accused Elizabeth Warren of using paid actors in her commercials about asbestos victims — then later apologized after the wife of one victim who died called his allegation “offensive.” One of the women depicted in Brown’s recent women for Brown ad turns out to be a Warren supporter who was apparently telling the Senator why she wouldn’t vote for him, but looked so pleasant doing it that she ended up in a GOP commercial anyway.
The Globe breaks down the Senate candidates’ views on tax policy (they differ sharply, in case you’ve been in a coma).
The mudslinging continues in the Sixth, with US Rep. John Tierney and Republican Richard Tisei slamming each other at a North Andover debate, the Eagle-Tribune reports. US Rep. Niki Tsongas says her opponent, Jon Golnik, would be “irrelevant” in Washington.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, state reps Linda Dorcena Forry and Jeffrey Sanchez, and Boston city councillors Felix Arroyo and Tito Jackson are stumping around the country for President Obama.
Larry King, the former CNN talk show host, will moderate a “4th” presidential debate featuring third party candidates, including Jill Stein of Lexington, the Green Party candidate. The forum will be live-streamed.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg creates a super PAC to back candidates who support same-sex marriage, tougher gun laws, and overhauling schools, the New York Times reports.
MassINC’s Gateway Cities Institute is formally launched at the State House, WWLP reports.
WBUR’s On Point examines the rise of the super rich.
Housing construction surges.
Secretary of State Bill Galvin alleges that Putnam Investments sold housing securities to clients while betting against them.
Milton is placing a cap on enrollment in its popular French immersion program in the school system starting with next year’s first graders because of the state’s English mandates.
A 17-year-old student at Marshfield High School is accused of threatening fellow students through social media, NECN reports.
Growing wind turbine opposition is forcing states and municipalities to be more careful about where they locate the facilities, Governing reports.
The National Lawyers Guild and American Civil Liberties Union charge that the Boston Police Department has been improperly spying on anti-war demonstrators, the Globe reports.MEDIA
Newsweek plans to go all-digital and abandon its 80-year-old glossy print magazine by the end of the year.