As a life-long feminist, my opinion of John McCain seemed to be sealed in cement when the now famous quote by him about his wife Cindy received national attention. In front of three reporters and two aides, the following scene took place between husband and wife: "At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, 'You're getting a little thin up there,'" author Cliff Schechter writes in his new book The Real John McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him and Why Independents Shouldn't. "McCain's face reddened, and he responded, 'At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c-word.'" This type of remark should not only be offensive to Cindy McCain, but to all women who hear about it.
This disturbing dialogue took place well before the third and final presidential debate last week. I can say that I, as many women watching across the country, was stunned to hear John McCain's latest derogatory remarks regarding women and their health care needs and private, personal-choice decisions. I must admit that my already low opinion of the man sunk even lower after that debate.
When a discussion of abortion rights came front and center in the back and forth between the two rivals, Senator Barack Obama defended his past votes on certain procedures because they did not include provisions he deemed necessary to preserve the "life and health" of the mother.
When it was McCain's turn to respond, he let loose with the following diatribe, which makes him famous once again for outrageous statements and should finally seal his fate as the candidate who has publically demonstrated his disgust of and hatred for all women, not just his wife.
"Just again, the example of the eloquence of Senator Obama. He's health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, 'health.'"
Just for Senator McCain's information, there is no pro-abortion movement in America. No one is for abortion, but most Americans are for choice. And the right-wing ideologue's desire to put more and more restrictions on women's health care has become a nightmare for women across the nation.
The look on McCain's face of pure hatred for women and particularly his sarcastic use of "air quotes" as a demeaning signal of distain as he rolled his eyes and pursed his lips to emphasize his total lack of concern for a pregnant woman's health or life, in the event that a medical decision needed to be made in the privacy of her doctor's office, was totally offensive to all caring people who observed it.
Although I am sure that the whacky right-wing chauvinistic-Republican crowd must have been up on their feet and cheering as McCain tried to portray Obama's support of a woman's health as an "extreme" position. The reality is that even the most ardent pro-lifers would concede that the consideration for the life and health of the mother is indeed a mainstream concern, and not "extreme" in any sense of the word.
In the 21st century, American women need a president who understands and defends the rights of all women. John McCain has demonstrated over the years that he is not that man. Not only is he against equal pay for equal work and raising the minimum wage, but he has consistently voted against moderate approaches on family planning, sex education and access to basic health care, all issues of "extreme" importance to women across the country.
According to his congressional voting record he has levied 125 votes against women's health, including those which would require health care plans to cover birth control. He opposed funding to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies, as well as public education for emergency contraception. McCain also voted against restoring Medicaid funding that would be used for family planning for low-income women. And in this day and age, as unbelievable as it sounds, he is against comprehensive, medically- accurate sex education.
John McCain's ultimate goal, of course, is his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade. This would be more likely to occur by his appointment of additional right-wing-extremist judges to the Supreme Court and would ultimately force many poor and desperate women to seek out back-alley butchers when access to safe, legal medical procedures are no longer available. This worst case scenario would make John McCain and his kind extremely pleased with themselves.
By dismissing women's health with "air quotes" he should have lost any chance of winning votes from Independent or even moderate "thinking" Republican women. But if any of you are still on the fence about John McCain, just remember his attitude toward his own wife when in public he called her a "trollop" and a "c-word" and just imagine what he must really think of you.