BlogHer Politics: Looking Ahead

BlogHer Original Post

First off, try this: Google “earn women’s votes.” BlogHer posts are the first three. What a great association for our community. As BlogHer's political director, I want to present Draft One of our BlogHer “Voter Manifesto” for your delectation and debate. What is the Manifesto? The BlogHer community has developed 12 questions they want each and every candidate running for president to answer. Below, I explain why our Manifesto is more than just a fun exercise. These questions are non-partisan. Every asker will need a different answer to be satisfied. The questions fall under four topics, which were voted most pressing by the BlogHer community. These topics are:

Iraq
Health Care
Economic Future
Environment and Global Warming

These questions originated from breakout sessions at the Conference. The questions, as they exist now, are below. If you don’t like them, don’t think they are accurate, representative, etc., comment below with changes. This IS a Democracy!

At the conference our community kick-started BlogHer’s Election 2008 programming with three great sessions on politics, blogging, and the women’s vote.
Here’s some of what our community had to say about the session, the candidates, and political blogging:
Deborah Siegel : "One of the panelists comments that married swing voters have trouble with Hillary because she, as a professionally successful married woman and mother, has been able to have it all. Say WHAT? Way to fuel the overblown mommy wars with false ammo."

Dana Singiser , Director of Women’s Outreach for Hillary Clinton: "is [there] a difference between political bloggers and bloggers who write about politics (the consensus answer in the room - a surprise to me that made sense after listening to the discussion - was yes..."

BlogHer CE Dana Tuske: "many campaign workers do not feel Republican and conservative groups of women are a targetable audience. Why? They do not know how to approach us."

Silicon Valley Moms: "this session... does not have enough women in attendance....interestingly enough, international issues, humanitarian assistance, and world-wide support have not registered on the polls. Perhaps it's due to the Hurricane Katrina crisis and the lack of government assistance homeland?"

Toledo Lefty : "there are a lot of misconceptions about what women voters think based on conventional wisdom. Women care a lot about policy. Despite popular notions, most of us are not just voting for candidates based on personality or other superficial characteristics."

This is a fun exercise, but why does it matter?
Look, women vote more than men. We’re online more than men are! You do the math. BlogHer is the largest site for women bloggers; we represent a force of vocal, voting women. If our members actually write in and state questions, just imagine how many friends, readers, lurkers are thinking the same thing. I think the statistic for commenter to lurkers is something like 10% comment, 90% read. Our questions are representative of much larger numbers, and they are representative of a really valuable constituency for each and every politician out there. If you want to read more about women online, and why we are politically valuable, please click over to this post on TechPresident.com.

Once the questions are voted final by our community, we will get them to the candidates. What happens next, no one knows, but I hope these questions form the crux of a really powerful Election 2008 campaign for BlogHer’s members. After all, from Hillary to Sam Brownback, these people need to earn our votes.

The Questions

Iraq:

1. Will you work to end the Iraq war before the 2008 election? If so, how?

2. The war is draining our country’s finances, and even with a significant troop pullout, the costs will not end soon. How do you propose to keep paying for the costs of war?

3. What are you physically going to do to help the Veteran's Administration and soldiers in need, instead of just paying lip service?

Environment and Global Warming (we have four right now- our community needs to vote and rule one out!)

1. We are reaching the point of no return on climate change. What will your legacy to the environment be?

2. How will your policies help to protect people’s bodies from pollution in the environment?

3. What is your position on expanding public transit as a means to reduce carbon emissions, create additional jobs, and provide a resource to communities? How will you incentivize states and municipalities to take these steps?

4. Sometimes, an attitude of "Not invented here" keeps politicians from adopting very good policies from other countries. For example, will you support participating in Kyoto and other international efforts to address climate change? Will you consider ideas and standards from other countries as a guideline to federal policies, rather than trying to create new standards from scratch?

Our Economic Future:

1. Will you give a tax credit to people who are self-employed and need to buy health insurance? (Find out why women in small business are a real force to be reckoned with here).

2. How will you address predatory lending practices to ensure Americans buy homes they can really afford? (For a very clear article on why bad mortgages wreak havoc, click here.

3. How will you create federal public policy that helps families break the cycle of poverty?

Health Care:

1. Most of us believe every American deserves health insurance, but what are you going to do about the fact that we just can't afford to give everyone everything they want? How will you allocate scarce resources?

2. How do you intend to make sure that everyone gets health insurance?

3. What is your position on requiring all major private, Medicaid, or federal health insurance plans cover birth control?

So that’s where we are at. Please send feedback.

Also, during the session, some folks asked how to get in contact with various staffers at presidential campaigns. TechPresident has a great page at its Staff Wiki.

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