My parents and I are visiting my godparents in Tampa, Florida this week, and I've learned many things in my short time here - but only two were particularly interesting. First, that alligators inhabit most of the lakes, and won't hesitate to take your arm as payment should you decide to swim in their territory. Second, that the women of Florida have far better taste than the men.
It's the second thing that I'll focus on today, so allow me to elaborate. I read in the Tampa Bay Times daily newspaper that while Mitt Romney has a 14-point lead with men in Florida, Barack Obama has a 14-point lead with women.
I can think of several reasons off the top of my head why this might be true (the Tampa Bay Times didn't provide any), the most obvious being that women simply have better judgment than men. But perhaps I'll give men the benefit of the doubt for now (maybe), and say that the female affinity for Obama goes deeper than that.
Frankly, I think all women should be terrified of Romney. He represents a party that has aggressively perpetrated a war against women, systematically trying to take away our rights, brick by brick. In the name of "pro-life" beliefs, Planned Parenthoods have been defunded and closed down, thereby blocking many women's only access to affordable health care. Then Romney went on to vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would close yet another of the few available avenues for affordable pelvic exams, mammograms, and other preventative care for women.
Meanwhile, Obama has created laws that consistently show he has women's best interests in mind. The Affordable Care Act has already helped women get preventative care without cost sharing, allowed women under the age of 26 to get health insurance through their parents' plans, provided programs such as smoking cessation support for pregnant women, and allowed women to get care from free standing birth centers. I'd say he's the man on our side.
My theory is this: in a country where women are treated like a special interest group, a minority (but actually outnumber the male population in the states), we identify more with Obama. We feel that he's looking out for those who aren't being heard as much as they should be. That, and he's shown that he actually cares about our physical and mental well-being.
My other theory is that it's dangerous to ignore a group that makes up over half the country, and Romney will be fighting an uphill battle in trying to convince us that he deserves our votes.
I agree with everything Claire says. And I have no doubt that thoughtful women agree with her, too. But I believe there is another reason why even thought-LESS women like Obama.
It's his ears.
As long ago as October 2006, when Senator Obama first announced his interest in running for the White House, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd noted, "His ears stick out." The future president retorted, "I just want to put you on notice. I'm very sensitive. I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears." Two months later, in his inimitable fashion, Rush Limbaugh coined the nickname "Barack Hussein Odumbo."
Well, we know who got the last laugh in November 2008. Apparently, Limbaugh is no old-movie buff, who he would never have made light of the president's possibly greatest asset. Consider the following:
Warner Brothers big shot Darryl F. Zanuck observed during the early days of Clark Gable's Hollywood career, "His ears are too big and he looks like an ape." Gable capped a brilliant film career with his portrayal of Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind," possibly one of the ten sexiest performances ever to illuminate the silver screen.
The make-up department pinned back Bing Crosby's ears in his early films. They wised up and stopped doing that in 1934. Ten years later, his ears flared in all their glory, he won an Oscar for his portrayal of Father Chuck O'Malley in "Going My Way."
Contemporaneously, we have Will Smith. Reacting to talk as recently as last May that Smith ought to play Obama in a movie, the actor replied, "We talked about it a few months ago. Again, it's about the ears, that's the thing. People see the ears, and Barack and I both have the ears, so I'm the most natural choice."
What Zanuck didn't get about Gable, and what Limbaugh didn't get about Obama, is that chicks go for those ears. I'm convinced this is a subliminal attraction. My theory: As Claire points out, "We (women) feel that he (Barack)'s looking out for those who aren't being heard as much as they should be." See, that's it. Women want to sense that we guys are listening to them… that they are being heard.
Scarlet knew that Rhett had heard her - loud and clear - when he replied, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Rosy Clooney knew Bing was tuned in to her, when they did their "Count Your Blessings" duet in "White Christmas." And the gals in the audience knew it, too.
By contrast, Mitt Romney's ears could not be any tighter to his head. With his perfect hair and perfect suit (or pressed blue jeans), he's the "Ken" of presidential politics. He might look great beside a "Barbie," but women instinctively suspect he's hearing himself, and not them.
My advice to Mitt: before it's too late, get some crazy glue and a couple of pink erasers - one for behind each ear - and get those babies out there where the chicks can see them!