John McCain has been noisily courting women Hillary Clinton supporters (both directly, and through Carly Fiorina), but this strategy might not work, especially considering how little support he is getting from Republican women.
Take Harriet Stinson, the 82-year-old founder of Republicans for Choice. She has been a staunch Republican for 60 years, but she finally crossed over and registered as a Democrat. “I couldn’t take it anymore.” On women’s issues like birth control and sex education, McCain “couldn’t be worse. … he’s all against big government, and he wants big government … to get involved in the most private decision women can make. And a lot of women have no clue on how he is on this.” “If McCain is so against abortion,” she asks, “why does he oppose all the measures needed to reduce the need for it — making insurance companies cover contraceptives, federal funding for birth control and comprehensive sex education?”
And she isn’t the only Republican woman who is turned off by McCain. We’ve already mentioned Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, who announced that she is supporting Obama over McCain. “The war issue is a strong one … as lower-income, middle-American families are taking a disproportionate share of the burden. … It really touches the lives of women who are left behind while their husbands are deployed overseas and families who have lost a loved one.”
There is also Jillian Manus-Salzman, a major Republican activist and big donor, who says “I cannot vote for McCain. I cannot.” She has not yet formally endorsed Obama, but she says “I would have had a hard time selling Republican women on Hillary Clinton. But selling Republican women on Barack Obama is a whole different story. They don’t see him as a partisan. My instinct, as a woman, is that this is a truly special person who respects women, who will listen to our voice and use women to rejuvenate and resurrect this country.”