It should hardly come as a surprise that women are instinctively preoccupied with the well-being of their families and communities. Roughly a decade ago, the Center for Security Policy conducted a series of focus groups around the country in which people were asked how they felt about being unprotected against ballistic missile attack. Once they got over the shock that their government had deliberately left them vulnerable to such a threat, the moms and other women in these groups were even more insistent than their male counterparts that corrective action be taken. (Interestingly, such action is expected to begin to be taken this week, thanks to President Bush?s commitment to deploying missile defenses ? something Sen. Kerry has strenuously opposed throughout his Senate career.)
Were such women to become part of an identifiable, reasonably cohesive voting block that places a premium on a presidential candidate?s judgment and leadership in security matters, however, it could truly revolutionize national politics. And while some Democratic pollsters (notably, the oft-cited Anna Greenburg) dismiss this phenomenon, there does appear to be a there, there.
In addition to recent poll data showing George W. Bush ahead with security moms, their sentiments were much in evidence in focus groups conducted this summer by Family Security Matters ? a new organization the Center for Security Policy has helped founder Carol Taber create to speak to, and for, such women. When undecided female voters in Ohio were asked what question they would like to ask the presidential candidates, the answer routinely was along the lines of ?What will you do to keep my kids safe??
It is noteworthy that these results predated the horrifying terrorist attacks in Beslan, Russia, where children and their parents were murdered by the hundreds. In the aftermath, every mother in America is on notice that such a nightmare ? or something far worse ? could be inflicted on us here. Consequently, the question of who will better protect our kids and communities certainly could be a decisive one this election year.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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