prepare to gag

Today I read perhaps the most offensive thing I've ever run across in a mainstream publication. It's a column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel today. I've italicized the particularly odious parts:

Conservative path helps women defy labels

October 7, 2004

During the presidential primary, I was having a conversation with a good male friend of mine, a staunch Democrat, about politics and the upcoming election. As we discussed the issues, I realized that almost all of his views were identical to mine, con-servative, and yet when it got down to who to vote for, he never even considered a Republican.

When I questioned him on the incongruity of this, he looked at me squarely and said, "But Laura, I'm gay."

"Republicans are happy people, too," I said, but this fact did not convert him
, and I doubt it would sway the great majority of gay and lesbian voters who shudder at the word "Republican." This is the case for several groups who pundits and politicians simply expect to vote Democratic even though many of their core values swing to the right. As a young, single professional woman, I undoubtedly fall into Democratic territory, an assumption I resent and believe pigeonholes both me and my peers.

Political researchers have painstakingly analyzed why women, especially single women, vote Democratic. They have come up with several scholarly explanations including economics, religion and other similarly rational conclusions. Unfortunately rational rarely applies to politics and never to women.

Women vote Democratic for two main reasons:

It's easier to follow the stereotype. Why think? Why follow the issues? Why listen to the debates? I'm a woman; therefore, I am a Democrat.

The Democrats will take care of them. Women, like so many minority groups, feel they are not treated equally in America and therefore find the lure of government providing for them to be very tempting.

It is the common liberal trap. If you become reliant on them, you will always support them out of fear that the nasty Republicans will toss you off of the wagon to have more money to host expensive galas in Cape Cod'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">Cape Cod'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">Cape Cod'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">Cape Cod where they will plot how they can exploit you next.

I hate to tell the feminists this, but voting Democratic is truly the weaker choice. It is acknowledging that you are not equal, that you cannot succeed on your own and that your own skills and talents mean nothing without government help.

I bet the same women who pity housewives and claim they don't need a man vote Democrat every election. After all, why deal with a man when you've got Uncle Sam? Hence, why single women vote Democratic at a greater rate than married women. They are searching desperately for someone to provide for them. That void is filled in a married woman's life, thus making the liberal garble much less tempting.

When one really looks at the situation, the conservative agenda supports a professional woman's goals far more than the failed policies of the left. Look, for example, at the strong support for small business.

According to data from the Small Business Administration, 50 percent of the 10.6 million privately held American firms are owned by women. In Knox County, 23.1 percent of businesses are owned by women. Republican administrations and specifically the Bush administration have done more things to support small business than the Democrats have ever dreamed of.

Tax cuts by the Bush administration have saved 25 million small business owners an average of $3,000 a year. Cuts in the capital gains tax and the taxation of dividends are spurring investments and making it easier for small businesses to raise capital.

In general, conservatives advocate an ownership society. This ranges from small business to family life and home ownership. Under this administration and Congress, there are now 73.4 million homeowners in the United States, more than at any time in history. In Knox County, home ownership is at 66.9 percent. Conservatives believe in helping people succeed just as much as liberals, but instead of providing the success, they provide the tools that enable us to better create our own success. This is something professional woman should find very appealing, unless they take the easy way out.

A woman living in East Tennessee is lucky to be able to live in a conservative section of the state that advocates conservative policies and philosophies. Whether she likes it or not, she is a beneficiary of these policies.

We are also lucky to be surrounded by remarkable conservative elected officials who are (gasp) women. From U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn to state Rep. Jamie Hagood and Knox County Commissioner Mary Lou Horner, all of these conservative women have emerged as strong leaders on national, state and local levels.

These women are not fading flowers waiting patiently for the government to take care of them. Instead, they have charted their own path, taken ownership of their lives and created their success. As the election approaches, women need to think about which party and which candidates really advocate and advance our agendas. After all, is it not the stereotypes that historically have held us back the most?

Laura Petrolino is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she majored in political science. She worked in Washington, D.C., for the Republican National Senatorial Committee.

Copyright 2004, KnoxNews. All Rights Reserved.

If you find this as bizarre and nasty as I do, you can send your letter to the editor at: