Hunting For The Guy Vote

October 26, 2004 | by | Topic: The American StoryPrint Print

The headline in the Akron Beacon Journal made the accompanying article a must-read: “Kerry Plans a Hunting Trip as Part of His Push for Votes of Social Conservatives.” At first, I thought perhaps Dave Barry had written a column on the election. But as I read I could see that the article by Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press was no parody, at least in the intentional sense. The Kerry campaign is sending the senator out with a gun to shoot at geese and in the process try to bag some of what we might call the “guy vote.”

Things must be getting desperate in the Kerry war room. I would have enjoyed sitting in on the strategy session that produced this brainstorm.

“Let’s send the senator hunting. Those Ohio and Pennsylvania guys will love that.”

That seems to be the sentiment expressed by Kerry’s advisor, Mike McCurry. According to the AP report, Mr. McCurry said it’s important in the final days of the campaign that voters “get a better sense of John Kerry, the guy.”

How so? According to the AP article, “That means the Democratic senator plans to spend some of the dwindling time before Election Day shooting at geese, watching baseball and talking about his faith.”

So after 20 years of liberal voting in the Senate, we will get to know the senator’s inner conservative via a couple of day’s worth of hunting, baseball and religion? I wonder if we will be treated to an off color joke or maybe some body sounds just to prove he is a “real guy?”

This tactic reminds me of Senator Kerry’s move toward “real people” during the early stages of the Democratic primary. After the senator pulled off upset wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, he made a point of saying that the secret was talking to “real people.” With all the wonder of a guy with a brand new pickup truck, Senator Kerry discovered the joys of talking to common folk. Now with just days remaining in the campaign, we get to learn more about John Kerry, the Guy.

Personally, I am not buying this at all. I know a lot of social conservatives. I am a social conservative. I am also a guy from Ohio who lives and works in Pennsylvania. I don’t care if John Kerry enters a tough man contest, goes to a monster truck pull or chews tobacco, he may be some kind of a guy but he is no social conservative.

Social conservatives are generally pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and take their religion as being pretty important in helping to frame their world view. However, we guys are not stupid. Do Kerry and his advisors really think a few dead or scared geese and talking a little baseball and religion will change a guy’s perception of the senator’s liberal voting record and policy statements’

Sounds like a wild goose chase to me.

If the senator wants to win the social conservative guy vote, he needs to do a few things. First, he needs to drop his pledge to appoint only pro-choice justices to the federal bench. Second, he should indicate that his public policy on abortion will be consistent with his Catholic faith. Third, he needs to support legal protection for traditional marriage. And I am sure there are a few more.

Of course therein lies the problem; no matter how many photo ops the Kerry campaign creates with the senator looking like a socially conservative guy, real people know the real thing when they see it.

My prediction: The election and the guy vote will go to President Bush.

Warren Throckmorton

Warren Throckmorton

Dr. Warren Throckmorton is an associate professor of psychology and fellow for psychology and public policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is co-author (with Dr. Michael Coulter) of ”Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President.” He can be contacted through his blog at www.WThrockmorton.com..

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