One overlooked segment of the voting public that played a critical role in both the 2002 and 2004 election cycles was the so-called “Security Mom,” and it appears that this diverse group of women could again play a pivotal role in 2012. A full third of the respondents to a recent Secure America Now poll would fall into the category of a Security Mom based on age and other demographic data.
Secure America Now polled in two key battleground states just prior to, during and after last week’s Middle Eastern events, and what is clear from the over-arching numbers is that just as economic security is a big issue in the 2012 presidential race, national security rates just as highly. In Florida 71% of voters said national security issues are very important; almost 60% did so in Ohio. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the threat of terrorism attacks on the U.S., the role of extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood both here at home and abroad, as well as the foreign policy leadership — or lack thereof — of President Obama, and the state of America’s national defense infrastructure, all are on the forefront of the American voter’s mind.
For every conversation about kitchen table issues, like taxes, government debt, the lowering value of the dollar, high gas prices, the challenges our kids face in schools, moms are talking about how important it is that they and their children feel safe in going about their daily lives. To be fair, neither major party is talking enough about these issues. Given what we know now about the waning American influence in the world, the terrorist attacks in Egypt and Libya, and the current strain our relations with Israel and other allies, isn’t it time for a serious discussion about national security in this presidential race? It is dangerous for the world to have a weak America, and an illusion to think it does not matter to our families.
One other point that we Americans should not forget: while it is a national tragedy and outrage that terrorists murdered our ambassador in Libya, some very brave men gave their lives in an effort to defend him. While a Medal of Honor nomination may not be possible given that they were not active-duty military personnel, the Obama Administration or Congress should ensure that those men and women in active or reserve military service, as well as civilians, who make the great sacrifices for our families’ safety and security are honored and remembered.
Jeri Thompson serves on the advisory board of Secure America Now.