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A note to both major American political parties - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
A note to both major American political parties
Americans will vote for women.

No, I don't have numbers to back it up, but for heaven's sake, look at the rise in the numbers of female governors and senators and mayors and so on. I don't even remember the last time I heard someone complain that a woman can't handle a job in the executive branch. People have had female bosses and female employees for a long, long time now. It's 2004, not to put too fine a point on it.

I really, honestly believed that this year, we'd have two female vice-presidential candidates at the very least. Names were being floated very seriously. I'll admit, I prefer Edwards to H. Clinton, but when you're thinking it's going to be Kerry/Clinton vs. Bush/Rice, and it turns out to have nothing...

Well, good G-d. Who's doing your polling, man? Who are you talking to? Americans on the whole are pretty much happy to vote for whomever they think can do the job. Why not get behind the people that, well, the people actually want. I wasn't expecting Bush to dump Cheney, which would look bad, but I thought maybe Cheney would have the brains to step aside and let the Republican that people want step in--someone classy and well-spoken, who has held her own for a long time and earned her place on a major elective ticket. Condoleeza Rice is eminently electable. But it looks like the Republican high command never considered it, despite groundling level support and encouragement. And the Democrats actively messed around with Hillary Clinton's plans.

And the thing is, I don't understand why. In 2004, they can't seriously still believe that women aren't electable--women are elected all the time. But they've gotten into this habit of believing it's impossible, so the parties just sort of go ahead and nominate men.


I'm not of the "get a woman in for the sake of having a woman in" school entirely, but at the moment there are qualified women in both parties and for heaven's sake, isn't it time to get out of this bizarre habit of thought? Once it's happened once, the parties will stop their bellyaching and it will be a normal part of life rather than some novelty shop item. (Which is what I'm sick of. Why do I even need to talk about it as a novelty in 2004?)

Okay. Utopian conservahippie out.
20 comments or Leave a comment
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 22nd, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Somewhere I read, and I wish I could remember the source and provide more detail, that the reason there are fewer women in office than one would think because of the money issue. Campaigning takes so much money, and men are more likely to have it.

I believe it would be a good idea to disconnect money and public service (which is what politics is) altogether. If there were a cap on the amount that anyone could spend in campaigning, and those who wish to run for office could actually campaign on the issues rather than run around trying to raise money, we could get a wider variety of people in general in public office. Which would be a good thing.

By the way, both my Senators are women (Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein) and my district representative is a woman (Ellen Tauscher). Obviously the good voters of the state of California aren't reluctant to vote women into office. :)
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: July 23rd, 2004 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
The fundraising thing was brought up by Bella Abzug back in the early eighties in a book she wrote about running for office. It was reasserted in 2000 (1?) in a book by Eleanor Clift called "Madam President."

simmysim From: simmysim Date: July 22nd, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just assumed that the only reason H. Clinton didn't run as president this election was because she was waiting for the next one. Cause at the beginning of the democrat primaries, they were looking really shaky, and I bet she thought after another four years of Bush anyone who would've been on the fence this time around would be completely over onto her side.

And you should totally listen to my opinion because I know exactly what all the politicians are thinking at all times. >.>;;;;
jetamors From: jetamors Date: July 22nd, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know about Hillary, but Condoleeza's big drawback is that she's never held an elected position. There was some talk of her running for governor of California, but then the recall happened.

I really do hope she becomes governor or senator or something for some state, and eventually runs for the Presidency, because that would be totally awesome. Heck, I'm not a conservative, and I'd vote for her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 22nd, 2004 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is a drawback as far as being a proven commodity in the electorate, but she's held quite a few resonsible jobs and performed prominently in them.

I just thought it would make for a balanced looking ticket--her intelligent, erudite presence as a complement to Bush's kind of jes' folks, down-home shtick.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 22nd, 2004 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Which, come to think of it, may be my real issue. I'd like someone who's outspokenly intelligent. That works with both of the female candidates mentioned, but not with either of the men that have actually been chosen. I'm sure they're both very bright men--they have to be to get where they are--but Edwards has the kind of "I'm the fresh-faced kid" attitude, and Cheney has the air a guy chomping a cigar in a pool hall; both types can be bright enough, but they aren't loudly bright, if you follow.)
minoukatze From: minoukatze Date: July 22nd, 2004 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't really think that it's a gender issue this year, rather a lack of female candidates who could viably take the office. Sure, Rice would be a fine running mate to Bush, but Cheney's a stronger presence (and, as you said, dumping Cheney at this point would look bad). From what I'm reading, Hillary Clinton's considering running in 2008. This year, I think, would have been a pretty bad year for her to run anyway, as she is a very polarizing figure and the menfolk seem more frightened of her than anything else. The race this year is more divided than ever, so having two candidates who are at the opposite sides of the spectrum would be a bad move for the Democrats.

I agree about us needing to just get a woman in the office to start the ball rolling, but we're going to need someone more outspoken and stronger than what we've seen to break that particular barrier. I think that a woman in the White House isn't unheard of in this day and age, but I just think we haven't met her yet (though Barbara Mikulski would have my vote:).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 22nd, 2004 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. I guess I think of Cheney as being almost anti-presence. It's like that old guy reading the newspaper in the subway station. He's there, but I don't really feel him, you know? Rice has more charisma and presence, as far as I can tell.

I know there are a lot of men--and women--who dislike H. Clinton's politics (I'm one of them), but I don't know if I'd chalk it up to the menfolk being scared of her as a woman. Scared of her as a Clinton, yes. But as a powerful woman? I don't think so, not really.

And even if they are... come on, there has to be some advantage to the country having nearly two percent more women than men! (49.1% to 50.9%, according to the 2000 census.) Maybe I can't find a date on Saturday night, but at least I'm in a voting majority. ;P
minoukatze From: minoukatze Date: July 23rd, 2004 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Scared of her as a Clinton, yes. But as a powerful woman? I don't think so, not really.

Actually, that's more of what I meant:) I think that were it another Democratic female candidate, there wouldn't be as much of an issue. The conservatives (men and women) in my family are VERY conservative, and while they speak of Bill Clinton with disdain, they seem to get outright furious at the thought of Hillary. The men seem particularly contemptuous of her. It's odd, but that's my experience.

lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: July 22nd, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have to concur with some of the other posts; it's a question of finding a woman who is electible and wants to do it. Many female politicians don't want the job, are too polarizing, or haven't had enough experience in elected office (there's a reason why Hillary ran for the Senate). It'll happen though, sooner rather than later.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 22nd, 2004 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think the polarizing issue is that much of an issue for the parties--after all, the two candidates running for the top spot are about as polarizing as you can get.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: July 22nd, 2004 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps the GOP's plan is--if Bush reelected, of course--to have Cheney step down, his poor health and all--and put Condi in using the 25th Amendment? No Democrat is going to vote against a black woman, and Republicans would obviously go for it. I know nothing about anything, of course. Just a thought.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: July 23rd, 2004 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)


Utopian conservahippie? Would you mind defining that? I call myself a compassionate libertarian, much to my extremely liberal birth mother's consternation and alarm. Condaleeza has the same drawback as Elizabeth Dole did--years of public service, but no elected office. You can have our governor grandma in Utah--Olene Walker. She says she's a republican, but she spends money on education like a democrat. Of course, she's a lame duck. We'll know who the new gov is in a few months. But Enid Greene is running for Lt Gov. That's how Olene got the position, so she might season our mix a bit.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 23rd, 2004 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics

My self-defined political designation, in three parts.

Utopian: Definitely believe in the notion of trying to improve the world whenever possible. There's a Jewish notion, tikkun olam, which means "reparation (or restoration) of the world," which is a pretty guiding force for me. That leads me to liberal positions like spending vast amounts of money (if necessary) on early elementary education, belief that "all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," and I believe that the world is moving inexorably toward the freedom to express those rights. I believe in art and music. And I want to restore the world.

Conserva-: I believe that the past is unfairly maligned, judging it on arbitrary contemporary standards and finding it lacking because it didn't conform to ideas taht hadn't occurred to anyone yet. I believe there is a canon of literature/history/etc that everyone should be educated in, because it's created the world as we know it. I'm sorry that certain groups (including women) weren't included in it, but as utopian as I may be, I can't go back and make Abigail Adams president instead of John. I believe in defense spending. I am a religious person, and religion-bashing infuriates me. I believe we are at war with people who declared war on us. I dislike moral relativism, and particularly dislike specious moral comparisons. And I hate tribalism above all things--you go fit in that tribe, and you go to that one, and if I paint a stripe on my head and you paint a stripe on your hand, we'll need to hate one another. It's stupid and self-destructive. I'm also anti-drug, and think the free-sex revolution has done more damage than any other well-meant innovation in history. And in case you didn't notice from that, I don't consider "judgmental" to be the worst thing you can call a person. ;)

-hippie: I'm a tree hugger. I can't get past that. I'm madly in love with the world, both the cities and the natural areas, and I want it protected. I'm happy to sit around and sing Kum-Ba-Ya with people (as long as they're not out to kill me, of course), and I tear up at songs like "I'd like to teach the world to sing." I believe that love is the answer. And so on. It's a mindset. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 23rd, 2004 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: politics

Where I differ from the libertarians is that I think the community matters as much as the individual, because the community is the institution by which we pass our culture and values and so on. I'm a big believer in government projects (like space exploration or building libraries), because everyone has a stake in what we do as a country (or a state, or a municipality), and the government is the only organization that actually provides that mutual stake, since it's the only thing we're all equally a part of. I believe that there are a lot of things that don't need to justify their existence--for instance, rather than just believing that the government exists for protection, I also think that it exists for education and preservation. I think that cities and towns (civitas) exist in order to support things like libraries and schools--an accumulation of human knowledge and experience, made available to the people who live there. I think that's why there are cities and towns at all, rather than random homesteads. So it drives me crazy when people want "justification" of why the library owns six million books, and some of them may only be used once a year. Hello? The point is that it's available to be used that once. That's what makes a city necessary and desirable.
matril From: matril Date: July 23rd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm just so glad to know there's at least one basically conservative thinker living in Boston. I can't really classify my political beliefs under a single party, but I tend to lean more conservative in most regards, and I'm just a bit scared to be moving to Boston (and right around the time of the Democratic convention, no less!). It is posssible to survive there without being super-liberal, right? ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 23rd, 2004 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, quite possible. You have to deal with a lot of liberal politicking, but free speech is pretty valued as well.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: July 23rd, 2004 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not entirely sure Americans will vote for a woman for president or even simply vice president.

I'd like to think so, but I bring up the idea with people all the time and they shoot it down.

Remember, though - 2008 is set up to be a female-heavy political year, if (and when *g*) Bush wins this election. He'll be out, and Cheney's not a viable candidate. Condoleezza Rice is the most likely and most electable (other than Colin Powell) person in the Bush administration who stands to benefit from a successful second W. term. The Dems haven't floated a serious contender that could bring down Hillary Clinton, and I don't think well enough of her to believe that she's not seriously considering a run. So.... Rice v. Clinton, 2008.

Some people think it's farfetched, but I think it not only possible but likely. Especially as concerns Hillary.

Don't despair too greatly, Fern. The parties can't ignore the women leaders in their ranks forever, and there are more and more of us becoming active all the time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 23rd, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to think so, but I bring up the idea with people all the time and they shoot it down.
I bring it up all the time, too, and since my grandmother's 80-odd-year-old husband died, I haven't heard anyone say that they doubt a woman could do the job, or wouldn't vote for one. Most people I've spoken to are really anxious for it (some willing to vote Republican even if they're Democrats if the Republicans run a woman and the Dems don't).

I think H. Clinton's plan was 2008, but the running theory is that the Kerry campaign is trying to get control of the Democratic party away from the Clintons. If they lose, then it might not do much damage to her plans, but if they win, then they're thinking about sixteen years--eight for Kerry, eight for Edwards. By the time they're done, Clinton will be out of the public eye.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: July 23rd, 2004 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm constantly fighting a "women don't need to run for president" mentality in both political and social settings - it's mostly guys, but I've met women who think it too. They're fine with women at every level but that one. I know women (I think of them as girls, but they're old enough to vote) who would vote for a woman regardless of who she was or what she stood for, just to have a woman in office. Both mentalities bug me, the latter flat out scares me. As it is, I bang the wardrum all the time for a woman president (of course, I'd like her to be a Republican, but in my heart of hearts I will be glad to see women break down the last barrier regardless of party).

Our different experiences lead me to think that a woman on either ticket would be an extremely polarizing and interesting event to witness (but then, I think we know it would be regardless). Like you, I think it's about time, and I fully expected to see a woman prominently placed on one of the tickets for this election. We came awfully close in 2000 with Elizabeth Dole and I thought it heralded a bigger change.

I think there are enough Clinton people left in the Democratic party leadership that a Hillary run is entirely possible - *if* Kerry loses this November. Otherwise, I've no doubt that the leadership would prefer a sixteen-year Kerry/Edwards dynasty. Either way it makes things very interesting for the Republicans, and it also makes the Republicans the more likely party to place a woman on the ticket in '08.
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