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Political Mercury

Cars for Casseroles plan


One of the Iowa conservative movement’s more skilled tacticians is expected to roll out a controversial new legislative initiative that would bar women from driving motor vehicles in the State of Iowa.

The measure, the brainchild of Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader and a former Republican candidate for governor, is intended to “forcefully encourage” women to focus on more traditional Biblically-based roles in the home, say sources familiar with the still-developing language. But these sources say that in a play on the recent and monumentally successful Detroit auto industry sales jump-starter — Cash For Clunkers — the Vander Plaats plan is expected to burst into the political scene with a catchy calling card of its own — Cars for Casseroles.

Vander Plaats and his conservative allies, including some key players in the Republican U.S. Senate primary battle, have long argued that women’s entry into the workforce is very much at the heart of what they see as social decay, the disintegration of family structures.

“Look, when taken collectively, much of the Republican agenda, which is now splintered out in various elements across the nation’s Statehouses, is ultimately leading toward, shall we say, constructive restrictions on decision-making flexibility for women in our society,” said one Republican strategist. “Bob Vander Plaats is simply accelerating the inevitable.”

Chief architects of Cars for Casseroles say it is squarely aimed at limiting the mobility of women, making it more likely they will marry earlier in life, eschew the demands of the modern work world, more thoughtfully consider home schooling their children and generally accept their biological predestination for supporting responsibilities.

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Vander Plaats has told colleagues he thinks the regulation will be the single biggest victory for the pro-life movement in its history.

“You think women are going to walk to Planned Parenthood for an abortion?” said one BVP associate. “No way, they’ll just ride it out on the couch. That one chick in ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’ never would have gone to the abortion clinic unless her brother drove her.”

In a broader context, the bar-women-from-driving plan would quickly enforce strong, traditional gender roles by making it difficult for women to interact with men in the workforce, Republican sources say.

“It’s kind of like Apartheid, but only in a good way,” said a Republican legislative aide involved in crafting the plan.

Another clear benefit of Cars for Casseroles, say two Republican-leaning economists who were consulted on it, would be a forced exodus of women from the Iowa labor market, which will open up more career opportunities for men.

“This is just going to politically emasculate the Democrats in the next election cycle,” said an eastern Iowa Republican operative. “I mean, Jesus, who needs a minimum-wage increase when you just take women out of the labor pool. The market will correct itself and the practical wage floor for men will shoot up to $13.26 an hour — well above the Democrats’ $10.10-an-hour plan.”

Cars for Casseroles won’t be presented as fully conceived by its authors. Negotiations inside GOP circles were fraught with tensions and trip wires, party insiders tell Political Mercury.

For instance, Cars for Casseroles will be phased in over five years, starting with Asian women.

“We all sort of agreed, based on just naked-eye, anecdotal evidence, that Asians are the worst drivers out there,” said a Republican source. “We think most Iowans will be delighted to see Asians, who are always talking really fast on their cell phones and usually lost, off of Hawkeye State roadways, at least where their women are concerned. Have you ever seen an Asian look before lane switching? I don’t think so. We think we’ll even get some Democratic support on this one.”

In order to gain the acquiescence of certain employers in Iowa, mainly in the agricultural and hospitality sectors, Latino women will be granted exemptions as long as they are behind the wheel — and on a GPS-assigned direct route — from their homes to work.

“The other thing here with the Latinas is kind of delicate,” said a GOP bill drafter. “Our law enforcement agencies have long used, ahem, routine traffic stops, to pull over Latino drivers and check for their residency or citizenship papers. If we don’t have Latinos driving then how in the hell do you think we’re going to get them in the hands of immigration officials and out of the voting booths. We just don’t have the resources to go raiding a meat-packing plant every other day, you know.” APRIL FOOLS!

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who likes to, on occassion, also show a sense of humor.

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