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Kathleen Parker: The year of the woman

BY KATHLEEN PARKER Published: October 12, 2012
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These are things that women care about, too.

Women, in other words, recognize the gravity of the problems this nation faces and likely will pick a candidate based on these issues rather than on a party's platform on abortion and contraception.

Topping women's concerns are the same things that are men's highest concerns — the economy and jobs. The smartest candidate will recognize this sooner rather than later.

In Virginia's Senate race between former Govs. Tim Kaine and George Allen, Kaine, the Democrat, has tried to merge the issues. Abortion and birth control are fundamentally economic issues, he says. Few seem to recall that in one of the early Republican primary debates, Romney responded to a question about contraception as follows: “It's working just fine. Just leave it alone.”

This doesn't sound like a call to arms against women.

When subsequently asked what he thought about the gender gap, Romney said he wished his wife, Ann, were there to answer the question. Romney benefits greatly from his better half, as he would put it, but he errs in thinking a woman would do a better job answering the question than would a man.

Women do not require special handling because for the most part they do not think of themselves first or primarily as women. This is the big news for those men who failed to take note.

Women think of themselves as breadwinners and job-seekers. They think of themselves as parents who want good schools for their kids and enough money to send them to college. They think of themselves as Americans who worry about national security and the nation's image abroad.

These are the issues that matter to women, the vast majority of whom will cast their votes accordingly. How about we ditch the gender nonsense and declare this the year of the American?

WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP