The Kindness of Strangers

John McCain’s favorite female literary character must be Blanch DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Street Car Named Desire as she epitomizes his entire economic plan for women.

McCain does not believe in legislation to protect women’s rights. Instead, as his record shows, he asks all women to live by the same life philosophy as broken, insecure, penniless, raped Blanch DuBois, who explained, “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers” to get by.

McCain claims to favor pay equity but opposed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as recently as April 2008. Although he skipped the Fair Pay Act vote, he spoke out against it. According to McCain, “[women] need the education and training…,” but apparently not legal protection against pay discrimination.

According to a campaign aide, McCain claims to oppose all legislative mandates. (Wonder what McCain thinks of mandates like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Nineteenth Amendment?)

McCain also opposes legislation requiring insurance plans that cover Viagra to also cover contraceptives. Enabling men to have sex but not helping women to protect against pregnancy must be a mandate issue for McCain.

In 2003 and 2005, McCain voted against measures that would have required insurance companies to cover birth control. McCain voted to reduce, eliminate or restrict health insurance programs for low-income children and pregnant women, a minimum of six times. In August 2007, McCain again voted against expanding coverage of SCHIP (the federal government State Children’s Health Insurance Program.).

Viagra, no birth control, more children, no insurance…must be a mandate thing.

In 2000, McCain voted against providing tax credits to small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees—women represent the largest growing sector of small business owners. He voted against a $3,000 tax credit to help seniors and their families cover long-term care—women statistically outlive their spouses and are the caregivers.

Twice McCain voted against measures that provided additional funding for home and community-based healthcare providers—a profession dominated by women; 18 times McCain voted to cut or restrict Medicare, and seven times to cut or restrict funding for Medicaid—poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, and the number of women living in poverty has increased disproportionately to the number of men over the past decade.

A spokesperson for McCain has said he will have the most women appointees of any president to date if he is elected—which is great, but…McCain does not believe in quotas so he won’t be “man-dating” parity for business or government.

McCain’s refusal to legislate forces American women to—quite literally—rely on the kindness of strangers. Without legislation, there are no guarantees, and McCain must know that.

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