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More On Those Alleged Security Moms

Yesterday, I highlighted analyses by Phillip Klinkner and Anna Greenberg critquing recent data-challenged newspaper stories about "security moms" and the vanishing gender gap. Today, it's Noam Schieber's turn over at The New Republic in his amusingly-named "Mothers of Invention" article. Here's a taste of what Noam has to say:

If you've been following the presidential campaign these last few weeks, you've probably heard a thing or two about security moms--the erstwhile soccer moms who became obsessed with terrorism after September 11, and, in the process, began tilting Republican. The typical "security mom" story--variations of which have appeared in The Washington Post (twice), The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer in recent weeks, as well as on CNN, ABC, and NPR--cites the hair-raising effect of the recent Russian school massacre. It mentions Laura Bush's frequent pitches to women on security matters, and notes how the Republican Convention was awash in security talk. Often the stories are larded with a testimonial by a real-live security mom, invariably a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, anti-death penalty former Gore supporter who's convinced only George W. Bush can keep her children safe. All of them conclude that security moms could cost John Kerry the election.

Oh, and the stories usually have one other thing in common: They're based on almost no empirical evidence.

...[I]t wasn't until after this summer's Republican convention that security moms became a bona fide growth industry. Suddenly, as The New York Times put it earlier this week, "an issue Mr. Bush had initially pitched as part of an overall message--which candidate would be best able to protect the United States from terrorists--has become particularly compelling for women." Except that, well, it hasn't--at least that part about "particularly compelling." The problem with most of the reporting on security moms is that it fails to distinguish between Kerry's support among women relative to men (i.e., the gender gap, which doesn't tend to fluctuate much over short periods of time) and his absolute level of support among women (which fluctuates just like it does for anyone else). In fact, while Kerry has lost ground among women since August, he's lost about the same amount of ground among men.

There's lots more. By all means, check out the whole article.

Comments

The first time I heard the pubs use "security moms" I knew we were in for this fraud. And I knew it wouldn't be long before the corporate media lap dogs would be lapping it up.

How many times this week has some pretty airheaded news reader intoned "Are security moms giving Bush a new edge with women? Are they replacing the soccer moms?"

Nonsense. It's a marketing slogan and nothing more. Like saying our laundry detergent is new and improved.

The Rove machine knows that the modern middle voter responds to repeated phrases, the grist of the marketing mill. As long as the term is used, it helps Bush. The whole point of the term is to make the absurd statement that women are moving to Bush because they are concerned about terror and Bush allegedly makes them feel safe.

Hogwash.

"Security moms..." Let's assume Kerry wins the election. What next? The Republicans have made a big deal out of the fact there hasn't been a repeat of 9/11 so far. Many observers regard it as mere luck, citing the generally inept handling of homeland security by this Administration plus the huge difficulty of protecting a huge country such as the United States. The likelihood of another attack in 2005-08 is regarded as fairly high.
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Kerry will of course do his best to clean up the mess both at home as well as in Iraq, but we can be sure the usual suspects (FoxNews, Limbaugh, Coulter, WSJ etc.) will blame him for every single thing that goes wrong from the day that he enters the Oval Office. If there is another 9/11, you can be sure these guys will say it "proves" Democrats cannot be trusted to protect America. The Kerry presidency will be written off as another Carter parenthesis, plagued by big problems and a Democratic president who could not successfully solve them.
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Under these circumstances, maybe it won't be an unmitigated disaster if "Shrub" is reelected... As a consolation prize, we get to see him stubbornly dig an even deeper hole for the Republican party during his second term in office. The credibility of neoconservatism has already suffered a fatal blow in Iraq, and increasingly few voters believe the GOP stands for "fiscal responsibility" anymore. By 2008, it seems quite likely that Iraq will be in a state of near-civil war, there will be enormous budget deficits thanks to his tax cuts, no credible plan to handle the retirement of the baby boomer generation, the "we're safer because we invaded Iraq" theory will most likely have been disproved in a most violent fashion... And all this while Republicans were controlling the White House as well as both chambers of Congress! Heck, even president Hillary Clinton does not sound like a far-fetched idea under such circumstances...


Andrew Sullivan writes:
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BUSH-HATERS FOR BUSH: Once you've absorbed the chutzpah, it's a pretty powerful argument. It's a bit like Bush saying, after bankrupting our fiscal future in three short years, that we cannot afford Kerry's big spending instincts. No shit, brother. So we're torn between holding Bush accountable and re-electing him. But here's another brilliant Bush counter-argument: wouldn't we actually be holding him accountable by re-electing him? For the first time in his entire life, Bush may actually be forced to take responsibility for his own actions if he is re-elected and becomes the LBJ of the Iraq war. I wonder why Bush-haters haven't thought of this: that the way to punish Bush is to force him to live through the consequences of his own policies. Why, after all, should Kerry take the fall? If he gets elected, can you imagine what Fox News and NRO are going to do to him the minute he brushes his teeth in January? He'll be destroyed by the chaos in Iraq, whatever he does. The right will give him no lee-way at all. Maybe this is simply another version of the notion that we shouldn't change horses in the middle of a cliche. But there's an upside: if Bush fails in Iraq, at least he will be punished for his own failures; if he succeeds (and, of course I hope he does), we all win. Am I persuading myself to endorse Bush? Or am I finding some kind of silver lining in the increasingly likely event of his re-election? I blog. You decide.

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I am certainly not advocating defeat (that would be irresponsible given the magnitude of the problems facing us), but at least there is a silver lining if "Shrub" wins. Sometimes, good things happen to those who wait.


MARCU$

Bah, Andrew Sullivan is deluding himself if he thinks re-electing Bush will force him to take responsibility. He never has about anything else, we'd just get more of the same Rovian misdirection, distraction, and denials we've gotten for the last 4 years.

I personally think Sullivan, as a man with conflicting political needs (he is a gay, pro-gay marriage conservative) is trying to rationalize a reason to support Bush, so he frames it in the sense of "punishing Bush by re-electing him."

It is true that Kerry will get the full brunt of the conservakooks wrath when he gets in, but that never stopped Bill Clinton.

Whenever peolle cite the popularity of conservative outlets like Fox News, it's worth noting that nearly all conservatives (1/3 of the oublic it would seem at least) get their news exclusively from places like this. As Ron Reagan said, conservatives don't usually like the debate-style news that liberals watch. They prefer echo chambers of their own beliefs. The conservatives' power only seems greater because all the eggs are in one basket.

We fight for TODAY, and we always do.

Every election we hear "maybe it would be better if ...." Hell, I've said it and thought it myself.

But that kind of thinking gets Reagan a second term, gets us the Supreme Court we have now, the one that crowned Bush.

No, we fight today. And the day after November 2nd, we start fighting for 2006.