Now that the gender gap is narrowing, maybe it’s time to focus on the maturity gap:

“It’s a cliche of punditry that Republicans are the Daddy Party and the Democrats are the Mommy Party,” writes columnist Suzanne Fields. “The metaphors are out of date. We must look at the Republicans as the Adult Party and the Democrats as naughty children sent to sup at the children’s table.

“Republicans lead, Democrats rebel. George W. nominates serious judges and the Democrats throw tantrums. Conservatives, dominant in the Adult Party, who try to conserve traditional ideals are, ironically, in the vanguard. Conservatives have come to the majority by expressing new ideas with passion and the liberals at the children’s table throw tantrums: ’Look at me, look at me.’…

“Nothing reflects the adult-children’s table phenomenon like the campus. Liberal students, egged on by aging counterculture professors, throw pies in the faces of Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol and David Horowitz to stop any talk about tolerance and academic freedom. Pies in the face suggest the throwers have nothing to say….

“George W. beat John Kerry by almost 20 percentage points among married adults with children. These are the adults who insist on ethical standards for their children, who yearn for a culture that appeals to values derived from faith and morality. They’re fed up with Hollywood and the entertainment industry that pushes a prurient pop culture.

“Some adult Democrats, fed up with the fare at the children’s table, understand this. A new study by the Progressive Policy Institute, the policy arm of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, describes a ’parents gap.’ Many Democrats who might have voted for a Democrat didn’t vote for John Kerry because they liked what George W. was saying about the way the entertainment culture makes it difficult for parents ’to protect their kids from morally corrosive images and messages.’ Many of these parents were liberal when they were younger, but have discovered ’lifestage conservatism.’ They’re impatient with Democrats who refuse to put away childish things.”