Should We Repeal Women’s Suffrage?

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s newly chosen running-mate in this year’s presidential election race, is a strong candidate on many grounds. He is a brilliant man, a thorough master of government finances – which as we all know need work these days – and he is more conservative than Romney, which should appeal to the party’s skeptical Tea Party faction. He is a good speaker, and at age forty-two he is a generation younger than Romney — and also a good deal younger than President Obama – which might help the GOP connect with younger voters.

All this is just fine, but in watching the news today I also heard it suggested more than once that Ryan might be more popular than Romney with women. Romney, we are told, is an old-fashioned, milk-drinking square who wants to deprive women of their rights and privileges and send them back to the 1950s.

Ryan, by contrast, is a good-looking guy, tall and trim, said to have fantastic abs, and blessed with that enviable Irish charm. His line of chatter over cocktails might be off-putting to women – few of whom care much about the federal budget – but they probably figure that if they can corner him for a moment they can make him stop talking.

Many women, it seems, vote with their gonads.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, hordes of young women invariably lined his parade routes. Theodore White, the author of the “Making of the President” series of books, observed that the women in the back rows would frantically jump up and down to get a glimpse of the dazzlingly charming candidate.

When JFK’s opponent, Richard Nixon, went riding by, not a single woman onlooker lifted a foot. Probably most of them were into middle-age or older, and suffering from arthritis and gout.

The people who run for president are not unaware of this female tendency. John Kerry, when he ran at the head of the Democratic ticket in 2004, chose John Edwards as his running-mate. I can’t think of any special qualities that Edwards brought to the ticket, except perhaps an ability to appeal visually to giddy, young female voters.

Bob Dole seems to have made a half-hearted stab at it when he ran against President Clinton in 1996, choosing as his running-mate the charismatic but slightly superannuated ex-football player Jack Kemp. I don’t know what George Bush the elder had in mind when he chose young Dan Quayle as his running-mate, but the ticket did win the first time around, although Quayle himself turned out to be a dud.

I don’t enjoy having to write this, but I think the time has come to limit women’s suffrage. The noble experiment that began when women were granted the right to vote in 1920, by the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, has failed.

In the years before the amendment was passed, women’s suffrage was opposed not only by men, but also by some women. The historians tell us that it was opposed by married women who circulated in political-leadership circles, who had a behind-the-scenes influence on women’s issues with the decision-makers, and who didn’t want to see that influence turned over to the hoi polloi.

These women also argued that if women had the vote, they would want to impose prohibition of alcoholic beverages on the nation. Who is to say that they were wrong?

Those arguments aren’t the ones we hear today, but there still seems to be something wrong with letting women vote. The mere fact that they strongly favored Obama in 2008, and that they continue to strongly favor him in 2012, should be argument enough for some kind of reform.

I do not favor taking their votes away entirely. I don’t perceive any threat that they will re-impose Prohibition. But I wouldn’t allow them to vote in any election featuring male opponents, because they are too likely to make their choices for reasons that have nothing to do with the welfare of the republic.

I see no danger in letting them vote in elections where both opponents are women, but so far there has never been a presidential election in which even one of the major party tickets was headed by a woman. And there has never been one in which both V.P. candidates were women.  So we are dealing only in theory for now.

I would even go so far as to suggest, in my even-handed way, that maybe men shouldn’t be allowed to choose between two women, especially in the unlikely event that one of them was good-looking.
Suppose someday a woman runs against a man for the top spot? Should we let women vote in that case? I would say no, because they unquestionably would vote for the woman for chauvinistic reasons, unless her male opponent was a fantastic hottie like JFK, in which case they would totally overlook the female candidate’s good qualities. No matter how a woman voted, it would be a flawed choice.

Author Bio:

Arthur Louis spent more than forty years as a print journalist, with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGraw-Hill, Fortune magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, but he is not asking for sympathy. He is the author of two non-fiction books: The Tycoons, and Journalism and Other Atrocities, as well as a novel, The Little Champ. In retirement, he has decided unilaterally that he is a profound political pundit.
Author website:
  • God Almighty

    Good fucking god. Fuck you.

  • Nola Nadine

    I sincerely hope this was tongue in cheek…

  • sistersuffragette

    what about men who think sarah palin is hot?

  • Female Voter

    In a day and age when women’s rights are consistently under attack, I find it hard to appreciate the tongue in cheek humor in any writing that suggests we limit women’s suffrage, particularly as we get ready to celebrate the 92nd anniversary of women’s right to vote on Women’s Equality Day (August 26). 

  • SuzyQue

    Wow, Art, who peed in your cornflakes this morning?

    • Artlouis

       Uh-oh. I didn’t realize that anyone had.

      Today, on a call-in radio show, a woman said that she hoped she wouldn’t be considered shallow, but that the Republicans had “the best-looking ticket that I can remember.”

      We have to face it, Suzy, this is what makes the world go round, no matter how hard we try to ignore it.

      How well do you think JFK would have done in 1960 if he had exactly the same political campaign, but looked like Michael Dukakis?

      • SuzyQue

         You can find shallow women, you can find shallow men.  You appear to know a lot of the former. 

        • Artlouis

          God bless shallow women. I am counting on them to tilt this thing to Romney-Ryan.

          By the way, I hope you didn’t overlook the fact that this is to some degree tongue in cheek.

  • choiceone

    To Artlouis

    What I said had nothing to do with an Obama website.  It was simply a statement of a set of facts together with a comment to suggest that the article significantly insulted the majority of women as shallow and incapable citizens.  I have no doubt that some women, like some men, are shallow and incapable citizens.  But I also have no doubt that if Romney and Ryan are elected, the possibility of immigrating permanently to Canada or Sweden will look even better to college-educated women than it does now. 

    • Artlouis

       Well, I hope you won’t  do that. Most people who leave the U.S. come to regret it. I can’t bear the thought of what Obama, unfettered by the prospect of another election, will do in the next four years, but no way am I going to leave the country that I was lucky enough to be born into.

      • choiceone

        Actually, I’m too old to try for Sweden now, and when I was much younger and teaching in Japan, I decided to stay as I am.  But the younger women today are in a different  situation, as evidenced by the fact that someone would write an article suggesting, if only tongue in cheek, that women should be disenfranchised. 

          I remember when the GOP was a party of reason that had respect for basic personal liberty regardless of gender.  It then sold out to the anti-abortion lobby in the 1980s out of fear it could not get enough centrists to offset the loss of the far right wing, which threatened to break for a third party. That wing has owned the party for some time now, and I know some of the GOP leavers.

        Years ago, though people with grad degrees  gave greater support to Dems,  college grads slightly favored the GOP and those with the least education favored Dems.  But the majority of those with grad degrees and college degrees now favor Dems, and the GOP now picks up the majority of the least educated.

        • Artlouis

          I might agree with much of what you say, but the non-extreme  Republicans still seem to have control of the party. Witness the nominations of Romney and McCain.

  • choiceone

    Single women support Obama because:
    He supported equal pay for equal work by supporting the Lily Ledbetter Act so that women can sue when they don’t get it and can be sure of getting all the back pay they were denied. 
    He supports a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy. 
    He supports decently priced insurance that allows women not to have to pay higher costs merely for being female. 
    He supports insurance covering the cost of effective types of contraception. 
    He supports Planned Parenthood, where a huge percentage of women obtain family planning and contraceptive information, contraception, screenings for cancer specific to women, and some forms of primary health care at affordable cost.
    He supports the right of women to equal educational and work opportunities and continued to support Pell Grants and low-interest student loans by means of which women have an equal shot at those opportunities.
    His choice of spouse shows his support for a partner capable of getting an equal education to his and for her pursuing a professional career, which she put on hold solely so that he could be president and still managed to have and mother two kids.

    Want to know about Ryan and Romney? 
    Voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act. 
    Proposed in Congress a bill for personhood for zygotes which would have prevented abortion and use of the morning after pill even in cases of rape, would have outlawed the most preferred forms of contraception among women, and would possibly have put the life of a nonviable fetus above saving a woman from permanent physical paralysis or psychosis. 
    Stated publicly that he would never vote in a pro-choice way, and voted for the bill that would have favored a non-viable fetus over saving a woman’s life and health.
    Has not only voted against support for Planned Parenthood, but has stated goals against Planned Parenthood.
    Does not support gender-equal pricing treatment by the insurance  industry. 
    Has an approach to Medicare that would further empoverish women seniors. 
    Is clearly against effective contraception for women and not just insurance coverage of contraception.
    Is married to a stay-at-home mom who benefits from his inherited wealth and is not noted for ever speaking up for or supporting equal rights for women in any degree.

    Has never said he supported the Lily Ledbetter Act, though he was publicly asked his opinion.
    Said on Huckabee that he would support a personhood at conception bill like that put on the ballot (and rejected by popular vote) in Mississippi, which would have prevented abortion and use of the morning after pill even in cases of rape, would have outlawed the most preferred forms of contraception among women, and would possibly have favored the life of a nonviable fetus over saving a woman from permanent physical paralysis or psychosis.
    Has not just stated that he would be against government support of Planned Parenthood, but that he would “get rid of Planned Parenthood.”
    Has stated a goal of overturning Roe v Wade.
    Does not support gender-equal pricing treatment by the insurance industry.
    Has an approach to Medicare that would further empoverish women seniors. 

    Is clearly against effective contraception for women and not just insurance coverage of contraception.

    Is married to a stay-at-home mom who benefits from his inherited wealth
    and is not noted for ever speaking up for or supporting equal rights for
    women in any degree.
    And your talking about Ryan’s looks?  It’s incredible!

    • Artlouis

       This reads like it was taken off an Obama reelection Web site. You may not have noticed that I did not write a piece comparing the candidates on the issues. I made the limited point that many women choose candidates on the basis of their visuals, as the politicians call it. It’s true, although perhaps not in your case.

  • CCNV

    “Many women, it seems, vote with their gonads.”

    Does this mean that men vote with the “little head”? 

    • Artlouis

       Hey, let’s slander just one group at a time!