Ever since the end of the Democratic primary left some Clinton supporters less than inclined to support Barack Obama, John McCain has been wooing them by sending female surrogate Carly Fiorina around to meet with select groups of women and Clinton supporters. While Carly's careful not to besmirch McCain's stellar anti-choice record, she tends to hint that he might be willing to "compromise" on other issues, like paid maternity leave (which he voted against), equal pay (ditto) and a federal mandate to cover birth control. If that story and polls suggesting that 49 percent of women in battleground states who favor McCain are pro-choice — and almost half of them think McCain is, too — there's quite a gap between the myth of Maverick McCain and the reality of the guy who panders to the right wing and thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
I'm not really sure how McCain's record on reproductive rights could be mistaken as anything other than anti-choice. Of 130 votes on reproductive choice in his legislative career, he voted against choice 125 times. Those votes include everything from voting for and co-sponsoring the Federal Abortion Ban (which criminalizes some procedures), to voting to define a fetus as human life. He voted to deny family planning centers federal health care funds if they provide abortions with any money (not just the federal government's). He opposed letting soldiers get abortions abroad with their own money and refused to allow the government to offer its employees health insurance that even covers abortion services. He stood against bills that would penalize violent and disruptive anti-abortion protesters and in favor of global gag rules and abstinence-only education time and time again. And, really, that's just the beginning of his anti-woman legislative record. McCain is no friend to any woman who believes it is the right of women to choose (or at least be allowed to know about) abortion, and that's before we get to his stance against the Lily Ledbetter equal pay bill this year and his recent statements on Viagra and birth control coverage.
Look, ladies who are flirting with McCain: I understand that he's kind of dashing, and he plays around with that damaged-flyboy-debonair-older-man thing. It was sort of cute when he was 40, and maybe even when he was 50. But now he's an old man who doesn't even know that the former Czechoslovakia is two countries. And he's sending out his Girl Friday to tell you that while he's going to do everything in his power as President to make sure you and your daughters and their daughters can never obtain a legal abortion in this country, he'll totally think about letting you get a bill that says you should get paid the same as your male counterparts and he might think about defying everyone in his party on a federal birth control coverage mandate. And girlfriend, if you buy that, let me introduce you to a couple of Congressmen who will just swear their marriages are shams and they're totally leaving their wives after the next election.
I understand that times are tough and you feel like it's all Obama's fault that Hillary lost and sexism is bad and Carly's so cool when you meet her, but please, please, please just stop and think about the issues. You know, those issues you claimed were so important during the primary when you talked about Obama's "present" votes? The ones you wanted people to vote on? The ones you swore you were going to vote on when you decried how pundits and pollsters portrayed all of us as led by our emotions and empathy after New Hampshire? Yeah, please think about those, and if you just have to spitefully vote for McCain in November could you maybe stop talking about spitefully voting for McCain in November despite the issues so that people can maybe take the rest of us women voters seriously? Thanks.
Senator John McCain [NARAL]
McCain Surrogate Fiorina Meets With Clinton Supporters [Wall Street Journal]
Unmasking McCain: His Reactionary Record on Reproductive Rights [HuffPo]
John McCain [NARAL]
After Voting Against Equal Pay Legislation, McCain Claims He's 'Committed To Equal Pay For Equal Work' [Think Progress]
John McCain's Birth Control Dodge [Washington Independent]
McCain Defends Czechoslovakia, A Non-Existent Country — Again [HuffPo]