What We Can Learn From Pamela Anderson

Everything you need to know about politics in 2008, you can learn from Pamela Anderson.

While it’s easy to dismiss Anderson’s political views, you shouldn’t. The thrice-married 40-year-old Canadian immigrant best known for playing a ditzy lifeguard on the popular syndicated show Baywatch, provided incredible political insight during a recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Yes, I was watching, but only because it was on at the gym.

During her interview with DeGeneres, which aired on March 20, Anderson offered her endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his rival Hillary Clinton, saying, “My heart is with Obama, my head is with Hillary.”  

It was a tough decision for Anderson, but she ultimately sided with Obama because he “touches so many people. . .so many young people are voting. This is my kids’ president, so I feel really emotional about this race. And I think most people do.”

Let’s get this straight. Anderson’s intellect — if you can call it that — is telling her to support one candidate, but her heart is telling her to go with another. She is aware of this, and still chooses emotion over reason. And while it sounds crazy, Anderson’s views are representative of those held by millions of American women. Ultimately, you simply cannot vote for Barack Obama unless your heart tells you to.

As a woman in my late twenties, I’m committed to using my brain — and not my heart — to make my voting decisions. Amongst my girlfriends, this puts me in the minority. As a registered Republican, I often feel like I’m alone on an island of men. Not a bad place to be most days. Until Obama shows up.

The handsome, articulate socialist is the greatest threat the GOP has faced in decades in its efforts to tempt women back to its side of the political aisle. And as a happily married mother of two girls, I worry about the future of my country and my family. Obama’s appeal is simple — based on feelings and devoid of rationale thought, his presidential administration would promise an expansion of government dependency like we’ve never seen before.

Nothing could be worse for women. And Obama is winning the war of words.

In a debate at Howard University last year, Obama encouraged redefining the way we think about socialism in America. “Are we willing to make the investments in genuine equal opportunity in this country?” he said. “People aren’t looking for charity. We talk about welfare and we talk about poverty, but what people really want is fairness. They want people paying their fair share of taxes. They want that money allocated fairly.”

The public’s subsequent acceptance to Obama’s eagerness to change the way we talk about entitlements in this country is based on emotion. A little question for Obama and Anderson — what exactly is fairness?

While Obama likes to boast of his opposition to tax relief for America’s wealthiest families (and job providers), he fails to mention that should he be elected, America’s middle class would face an enormous new effective tax burden. As the Wall Street Journal’s Steven Moore has concluded, Obama in the White House could lead to a 39.6 percent personal income tax, a 52.2 percent combined income and payroll tax, a 28 percent capital-gains tax, a 39.6 percent dividends tax, and a 55 percent estate tax.

Why work at all, when more than 50 cents of every dollar you earn goes straight back to the government? And for small business-owning families like my own, his tax increases could make hiring additional employees prohibitively expensive.  

While the initial fiscal bite of an Obama presidency would be painful, the long term consequences could be devastating. Obama preaches to women that we need government to succeed. It’s a message long screamed from the pulpit, but with a new messenger on the stage, it becomes believable.

Democrats have long depended on emotion to win elections. In a 1918 New York Times account, New York Democratic party chair E.S. Harris said the following: “The tendency of the woman voters of this state will be to join the Democratic Party. The fundamental difference between the two great parties is due to the fact that the Democratic Party has always maintained that administration and legislation should be for the whole people, both in form and result. The Republican Party has always championed administration and legislation for the special interests, claiming indirect benefit to the whole people. The inevitable result has been that Republican policies have been business policies; Democratic policies have been humane or social policies.”

As recent history would dictate, Republicans have not been the party of smaller government. When my children first learn about our two-party political system, I fear they will identify Republicans as the big spenders. This presents a gigantic problem for modern GOP candidates. Women are not going to vote for the “socialist-lite” they get with most Republicans, when they can get the real deal with Democrats.  

The result: We’re left with a partisan gender gap that has single women in my age group—18-30—saying they are twice as likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican in the upcoming presidential election. The consequences could be dire for Republicans. In the last presidential election, 22 million single American women in this age group sat the election out. With the prospect of Obama taking the top of the Democratic ticket, these women say they are more likely to vote. Time will tell.

Instead of slowly embracing the growth of government as inevitable, Republicans must take a different approach, demanding that women be treated as equals and capable of living our lives free of government handouts. We must empower women to start believing that they can make it on their own.

In January, Obama told reporters that his strategy for attracting women was to make sure “they know what I have a track record of, what I’ve done on critical issues that are important to women. Not just equal rights and equal pay, not just things like childcare and daycare, and early childhood education, but opportunity that is in many ways disproportionate.”

In other words, Obama will continue to perpetuate a victim message that appeals to women — but is largely disassociated from reality we live and work in. Let’s just hope that most of us are smarter than Pamela Anderson.