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Web Letter

Plan B. What is it? An emergency contraceptive taken within seventy-two hours of sexual intercourse to prevent conception. No conception means no pregnancy, which means no abortion. Who has access to it? Women in New York, thanks to Hillary Clinton. Ms Pollit's toe-the-line mentality is one of the reasons that no refinement or reformulation of the abortion debate has occurred on the left since the '80s. Sorry, but I've outgrown that era and your argument that "feminists" should support Obama because he is pro-choice falls on deaf ears. I will vote for him, but not for that reason. I am a feminist with more than one concern.

Sarah Ferguson

New York, NY

Jun 22 2008 - 10:23pm

Web Letter

A vote for McCain is a vote for McCain's policy positions, not a vote against the Democrats. A vote for McCain is a a vote for anti-woman policy positions. A vote for McCain is an anti-woman vote.

Jeffrey Langstraat

Brighton, MA

Jun 22 2008 - 6:24pm

Web Letter

Being one of those five feminists that will not vote for Obama (funny, I can easily find twenty without even trying), I think I should make it clear why.

1) Don't you dare tell me I am not a feminist because if I were I would be supporting Obama over McCain. I will not tolerate this from all those so called feminists like Katha Pollitt--who when she had the chance to support the first viable woman candidate for President simply chose not to. Not only was Hillary an excellent candidate in her own right, but Obama is simply not in her league either in terms of experience or progressive bona fides, as is becoming abundantly clear. If feminists/women had supported their candidate in the same numbers as African-Americans supported theirs, Hillary would have sailed to the nomination. So don't you dare come back to me now and lecture me on feminism.

2) Using Republican scare tactics over the Supreme Court is a non-starter. That fight was lost when the Democrats allowed Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Kennedy , the only Justice who is even remotely a swing vote, is already quite likely to be convinced to overturn Roe v. Wade, given the right case. If another justice retires while McCain is President, then it is up to Patrick Leahy to put his money where his mouth is and refuse to seat any Justice McCain puts forward who does not support the right of women to choose. There have been several times when the Supreme Court had to operate with fewer than Justices, and that is perfectly acceptable. Not only that but it will require the democrats to show some guts something they clearly need to gain some experience with.

3) While Roe v. Wade is an important issue it is not the only issue that either I or feminists in general base our vote on. And while Obama-bots are perfectly willing to accept that their candidate may have to say things they/he doesn't believe in order to get elected, they are not willing to give McCain that same benefit of the doubt. Which do think is more likely to be McCain's position on Bush's tax cuts--the one he took when he voted against that bill or the one he spouts now in the throes of a campaign where he needs to win the Republican base? Or who do you think is more likely to have a progressive energy policy? McCain, who voted against the Bush/Cheny secretive energy bill, or Obama, who voted for that bill which was called "the best energy bill corporations could buy"? My mama always told me to put more credence in what people actually do rather than listen to what they say. As Obama has made clear on NAFTA, the Iraq troop pull-out, public financing for election campaigns and FISA protection and telecom immunity he is willing to say anything to get elected. Caveat emptor.

Dorothy Mundy

Dallas, TX

Jun 21 2008 - 1:11pm

Web Letter

Some of the writers here are taking the same approach that the Clinton campaign took when it started to look as if they weren't going to prevail. But making the voters dislike or distrust the other candidate is not necessarily going to make them like and trust your candidate. And I don't find it a compelling argument that we should vote for Clinton because she's the most viable female candidate to date, any more than I would vote for Obama based strictly on his skin color.

Both Clinton and Obama are too conservative for me. For example, I'd like to be able to vote for a someone who agrees that for-profit health insurance corporations are immoral, and should be excluded from a national health care system--returns on investment of insurance premiums should go towards the health care of those insured. But that both the Clinton and Obama plans are too conservative for me does not give me cause to vote for McCain.

While I could support a Clinton candidacy had she prevailed in the primaries, to me the most compelling thing about the Obama campaign is that it attracts potential voters who have traditionally felt so marginalized or excluded that they didn't participate in the political process at any level.

For many years now, presidential candidates have been winning elections with something approaching one-fourth of the eligible vote.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what might happen when those who have been ignored for so long feel there are reasons to become engaged.

Karen Hogan

Olympia , WA

Jun 20 2008 - 9:37pm

Web Letter

Abortion.
It's just a little game played by horny couples.

What about contraception?
It's a life that's being killed.

Oh! You got pregnant?
Let's abort.

God have mercy on you.

Art Hart

New York City, NY

Jun 20 2008 - 7:24am

Web Letter

"He voted against requiring insurance companies to pay for prescription contraception, when they pay for other prescription drugs--like, um, Viagra."

A dishonest argument by Katha Pollitt. Did McCain vote for some bill that would have required the insurance companies to pay for Viagra ? Of course not, there was no such bill. Pollit is suggesting that he supports such a bill when there is no evidence he did.

She tries to connect the fact that some insurance company policies pay for Viagra to McCain, but provides no citation.

Bottom line: McCain has never advocated the idea that insurance companies should be legally required to provide Viagra. This is consistent with his view that they also should not be legally required to provide contraceptive drugs.

In other words, all that Pollitt could reasonably say is that she dislikes McCain because he doesn't favor the federal government dictating what sort of insurance policies the industry can offer.

To put it simply, Pollitt dislikes McCain because he is not a feminist/socialist, and she is.

Fair enough, but it is not unfair to ask her to at least argue rationally. It is a traditional stereotype that women are irrational creatures, Pollitt does nothing to dispel that notion.

Joel Barnett

Portland, OR

Jun 19 2008 - 11:45pm

Web Letter

Ms. Pollitt only begins to address the absurdity of women voting for McCain because their woman candidate did not win. Obama's and Hillary's stance on issues are barely distinguishable, whereas McCain's views are about as far away from either as one could get.

I want to say this with all respect and no intention of making an anti-feminist statement. But voting for McCain out of spite would be perpetuating the negative stereotype of women. I do not think women are spiteful, but the stereotype does exist.

If you believe McCain will help the women's righs movement, by all means, vote for him. But if you vote for him out of spite, you are doing nothing but confirming the negative stereotypes so many courageous women have fought so hard to end.

Wayne Bomgaars

Fullerton, CA

Jun 19 2008 - 10:41pm

Web Letter

All five of us, is it? Hmm. Well as one of "the five" who knows dozens of others personally, and has been corresponding with, and reading the comments of, tens of thousands (my guess is, millions) of others, let me tell you this, Katha: a feminist would have to be insane to vote for Obama. Just what is it you don't get, sweetie? The condescending tone, the reaching out to the radical right, the clear disinterest in protecting the right to choose, the refusal to filibuster John Roberts or Sam Alito? Hate to tell you, if Roe v. Wade ever is overturned (which seems doubtful--the right does not want this issue to go to the states), it will be those two non-votes by Obama and other Democrats that did it, not any Justice that McCain might get a chance to appoint (with the consent of yet another Democratic senate, I might add).

The Democratic Party has absolutely failed to do anything useful in the area of women's rights for quite sometime now. Its treatment of Hillary Clinton was the final straw for me. If it was not for you, that's because you are content to remain part of a group of patsies, not a voting bloc. I've had enough of that status, thank you very much.

Oh, and let's talk one more issue. Most of these women's rights Pollitt talks about are ones we older feminists have been striving to protect for younger women. Think Hillary Clinton and her successful struggle to protect the right to "morning after" contraception, long after she might personally need that right. I have been voting against my personal economic interests for years to protect such rights for young women, the same young women who spat on Hillary and swooned for their hip pal Barack. Not anymore. I wish them all good luck with my former party. They will need it.

Vote for Obama? No way. I am a feminist, simply not an insane one. The definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome. Voting for any man just because he has a (D) behind his name, and expecting the Democrats to do anything useful for women and to take us seriously as a voting bloc? The very definition of insanity.

Kyle Anne Gray

Park City, MT

Jun 19 2008 - 8:07pm

Web Letter

Obama’s health plan will create a bureaucratic nightmare. Obama has made a deal (with Boren) no doubt to get kids mandated so Americans have to pay whatever rates they charge. They'll lift them sky high, but no preex help for the rest of us and no lower premiums since we aren't in a risk pool. McCain offers a 5k tax credit, and he will lift the state barriers so that we can buy health insurance over state lines, which will force insurers to be competitive with each other on rates, and that will reduce premiums. Hillary's plan was still the best.

We trust McCain to responsibly end the war and safely bring our troops home, more than Obama who apparently has no idea how our military works, is misinformed on foreign policy and whose positions are shifting daily.

We trust McCain’s open-minded economic proposals more than Obama’s latest backflip on NAFTA and his advisers, who are all Chicago School neoconservatives like Jason Furman and Austin Goolsbee. Someone defended U of C. Fine. Jason Furman is everything Obama accused Hillary of times ten and then some. McCain has a more diverse and open-minded economic team, including Jack Kemp, Pete Peterson, Don Luskin and Warren Rudman. Hillary still had the best grasp of economics.

McCain has called for lifting the twenty-seven-year moratorium on domestic drilling and has a stronger energy and environmental record than Obama. Obama voted yes for the 2005 Energy Bill written by Dick Cheney and many energy lobbyists like Exelon. This gave $27 billion to oil companies, while Americans are paying $4 a gallon for gas. Obama opposed the gas tax holiday, while he voted for it two years ago in the state legislature.

Obama claims to support women’s rights, but he fixed an election with Democratic party bosses, like he did in Chicago when he forced a popular incumbent and woman off the ballot to run uncontested. He has more "present" votes than any other member of the body politic, and five of those votes were about abortion. He voted in favor of early release from prison for sex offenders, and he was the lone vote.

McCain supports strict constructionist SCOTUS justices, which does not necessarily mean Roe v. Wade would be threatened. It will take two appointments over the next four years to overturn the original ruling. If Bush couldn’t do it in 2004, McCain is even less likely to.

Women should vote against sexism and in favor of social, economic and political equality of the sexes. Anyone with a corporate background will see through the Democratic party promoting a younger, less qualified male over a woman who could do the job better. Women can decide for themselves what issues are important to them, but let's be clear. Abortion does not decide feminism. If you want to send a clear message to the Democratic party for clipping the most viable female presidential candidate of all time, vote for John McCain and let the chips fall where they may.

Ginger Partington

New York, NY

Jun 19 2008 - 5:40pm

Web Letter

I wouldn't expect a feminist to vote for McCain. However, if abortion is the single issue that decides your vote, consider that in the long term, Islam may be far less tolerant of abortion than Western culture. Obama has made it clear he intends to surrender to Islam at every available opportunity. A vote for Obama is a vote for Islam and a vote against Western values--including tolerance for divergent views on abortion.

Rick LaBonte

Sacramento, CA

Jun 19 2008 - 5:34pm

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