Despite the constant, vaguely threatening-sounding reports that female voters will determine the 2012 election, women, their rights, their bodies, and their “issues” went virtually unmentioned at the first presidential debate last night. Viewers may have predicted that going in. Moderator Jim Lehrer announced the debate topics ahead of time, and they were the economy, health care, the role of government, and governing. Still, as Double X points out, if they hoped to get wasted using the Jezebel Debate Drinking Game, which instructs viewers to drink upon hearing any of the buzzwords President Obama and Mitt Romney have historically used to appeal to women, they would have been left painfully sober.
Is it just me or did it kind of suck to be ignored again?
Especially coming off the conventions. The Republican National Convention was a parade of strong women like Condoleezza Rice and Representative Marsha Blackburn, interspersed with men praising their mommies and whining about the nanny state. The Democratic National Convention featured the celebrities of today’s women’s movement (Lilly Ledbetter, Sandra Fluke, and Cecile Richards), First Lady Michelle Obama talking about how her husband’s grandmother was systematically overlooked for promotions during her career, and the strangely thrilling experience of watching female politician turned left-wing pundit Jennifer Granholm act as crazy as I feel. Even when the GOP was saying batshit things about our bodies and rights, at least they were talking about us. It was disturbing, but it was also revealing.
Now it’s back to politics as usual: two dudes, trading tepid half-truths about abstract policies they probably pray the public won’t bother to understand. I don’t relish that transvaginal ultrasounds are a thing that any politician, let alone a white male one, gets to talk about and I resent that the inclusion of women in the political discourse amounts to pandering for their votes and all issues. Plus, I think all issues, including the economy, health care, the role of government and governing, are women’s issues. But in the absence of honest, sincere, and elucidating political debate on those topics (dream on), it was nice to feel at the center of all the nonsense.