Ms. Cary has appeared on NPR over 100 times; for a full listing of her interviews and commentary, click here.
People have been asking me all week if conservatives will stick with Herman Cain, but I think he's got a bigger problem than the conservative vote. A lot more women than conservatives vote, and the women I've talked to are finished with him.
There's a new CBS poll which says that 38 percent of female Republican primary voters are "less likely to back him" now that more accusers have come forward. Among all registered voters, CBS reports that Cain has lost support among women since last month—from 28 percent in October to 15 percent now. My sense is that 15 percent of female registered voters remaining as Cain supporters may be a little high, because the poll was conducted before Cain's attorney started threatening any other potential accusers with the notion that they'd better "think twice" before coming forward.
So I was sick last week and went to the emergency room, where I had to show ID before I was seen by a doctor; he thought it might be appendicitis and sent me for a CT scan. Again, I had to show ID before being scanned. (By the way, I’m fine, just a bad stomach bug.) As I think about it, over the last month I’ve had to show ID to rent a car, fly on a plane, and get a hotel room. I’ve been asked for ID at the grocery store in order to buy a six-pack of beer, at office buildings in Washington so I could get past the lobby security guard, and at the bank to get a cash withdrawal. We all know what a hassle it is to have your wallet stolen—it’s not that the canceling of the credit cards is so bad, it’s the losing of the ID that makes it a crisis. These days, you have to show your ID for just about everything.
That’s what makes E.J. Dionne’s column this week so mystifying. Dionne wrote about the push in many states to require ID before one can vote. He points out that in Texas, for example, “The law allows concealed handgun licenses as identification, but not student IDs.” Maybe that has something to do with the fact that so many student IDs are altered and used as fake IDs to buy beer; back when I was in college, most bars wouldn’t accept a student ID, only a government-issued drivers’ license, as proof of age. Handgun licenses are government-issued as well, which would explain why a state government would approve their use, but not that of student IDs. But Dionne tries to make it into a partisan issue by arguing that Sen. John McCain won a wider margin of gun-owning voters nationally than Barack Obama did, and that really, Republicans in state legislatures are behind all of this “rigging.”
I was telling my college-age daughter recently that back in the olden days when I went to college, you could fill a red Solo cup with beer at a fraternity party and sip it all night long. No one knew if it was your first beer or your 10th. There was no need for “pregaming” – binge drinking in private apartments or dorms before heading out in public. And unlike today, college kids didn’t tend to use fake IDs as much
That’s because when I was an undergrad, the drinking age was 18. Fraternities had kegs out in the open on university property, and student gatherings on campus often included beer. I remember university police regularly strolling through the fraternity parties, making sure everything was under control. That tended to keep a lid on things.
Then, 30 years ago this summer, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984, which mandated that all states adopt 21 as the legal drinking age over the next five years. States that did not comply faced a cut in their federal highway funds; by 1988, all 50 states had moved the minimum drinking age to 21.
The entire archives of Ms. Cary’s blogs and columns for US News & World Report is available, click here.