After my heart finished its pitter patter thumpity thump thump (Bill still does it for me and I have no idea why) and the blood returned to my brain I could focus my eyes on the email itself. It was not in fact a love letter but a message about his wife Hillary and her presidential aspirations and, more to the point, tomorrow's primary in New Hampshire. Bummer. I had already mentally packed my suitcase.
A while ago I went to Hillary's website to leave my two cents (hence, the email from Bill on her behalf and the countless others I get asking for campaign contributions I receive every other day) on her and every other presidential candidates reluctance or downright refusal to speak with representatives from Blogher. I told her, or the lackey who is responsible for weeding through all the crack-pot comments on her website's feedback page, that women bloggers were not only intelligent and large in number but also vocal and extremely opinionated. I didn't come right out and say it in so many words but the gist was women bloggers could be this election's soccer mom vote if only the candidates would get their collective heads out of their arse's and take notice.
Needless to say, no one from Hillary's campaign got back to me.
I saw Elizabeth Edwards speak at the Blogher conference this past year. As a woman who had lost her mother to cancer I was keenly aware of her own struggle with the disease and am a supporter of her choice to pull her kids from a traditional school to keep her family together as her husband John continued his campaign. So, yes, I was already enamored with her. But when I heard her speak I was very impressed by what she had to say. Elizabeth Edwards is one smart cookie, but what really got my attention was that she had the guts to say she did not agree with everything her husband did. They were a team but she was not a mindless politician's wife. She had me at "hello", the rest sealed the deal - I was an Edwards supporter. Well, all that and the fact that I like John Edward's politics.
I enjoyed that first foray into politicians wanting my vote and going out to get it. It's all fine and good that Michelle Obama might be willing to be interviewed by Blogher but now I want the real deal. I won't be happy just listening to a candidate's wife - or husband for that matter, even if it is Bill - talk about their spouse's campaign promises, I want to hear from the horse's mouth. So why don't I feel as if any of them want to talk to me, Blogher or not?
Today I wish I lived in New Hampshire so I could hear in person the candidate's themselves speak. I'd like the opportunity to ask a question about the rising cost of health care and child care. I'd like to ask them what so many politicians seem to have against the American family, seeing as mother's only get 6 to 8 weeks of maternity leave and paternity leave is a joke. I'd like to be noticed as an important vote.
Some, and from what I've seen mostly the Democrats, have mentioned education reform and talked about major health care changes but I still don't feel as if they're trying to get MY vote. My problem with this election is not just the candidate's ignoring women bloggers as a group but, from my point of view, women as a whole. Except to ask for campaign contributions, which I will concede to and agree that if women want their voices heard they need to give more money. It's a sad reality but our reality nonetheless.
But I do like it more when Bill asks for it.
So what can we do in '08? How can we get our presidential candidate of choice to listen to us? Is it money? Do we need to get in their faces during this primary season and make them hear us? And if we had their attention, what would we tell them? We want cheaper but still well-run daycares for our children? We want health care reform and senior care to be a priority because our parents are getting older and we'll soon be responsible for their care? Is the No Child Left Behind act a joke and education should be the priority? What would you say if your party's candidates were sitting in front of you? Not their spouses, the men and woman themselves.
Okay, maybe Bill could be sitting by Hillary's side during all that. A woman can dream.