Commentary: Don't forget about Joan the survivor

Remember those crucial voting blocs, the soccer moms of 2000 and the security moms of 2004?

Meet the survivor moms of 2008.

Many are working at a job — or two — and making do with 80 cents for every dollar paid to a male colleague. They frequently put off going to the doctor because there's no insurance, and frankly, who has the time?

Forget John McCain's working-man icon, Joe the Plumber. How about Joan, who's plumb worn out?

No wonder that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that of the voters who haven't made up their minds, 60 percent are women.

"Women get serious right before Election Day because before that they are worried about just getting through the day and taking care of their families," said Ruth Mandel, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. "The outcome of this election is in the hands of women."

Enter vice presidential contender Sarah Palin, dispatched by Republican nominee John McCain to shore up support in the do-or-die state of Florida. In a sign that she's after women voters, Palin was joined Sunday by Elisabeth Hasselbeck from ABC's female-friendly forum, "The View."

Talk about survivor moms. Palin birthed five children, runs Alaska, and knows how to use a gun. With the help of some seriously ripped abs, Hasselbeck finished fourth in the 2001 season of "Survivor: The Australian Outback."

Certainly, there will be talk about breaking barriers and female empowerment. But McCain showed a troubling lack of compassion for women in the last presidential debate, responding to Barack Obama's statement that he would ban late-term abortions as long as there were exceptions for the mother's life and health.

For the complete commentary visit The Miami Herald.