Even though a female veep candidate is so 1984, I’m excited by the prospect of having a woman a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.  Not quite excited enough to vote for John McCain, but excited nonetheless.


For some of us who were saddened by Hillary Clinton’s loss, it’s not that Hillary was all that, though she was a perfectly good candidate and would’ve made a competent president.  It’s gender, stupid. 


Many people here and elsewhere thought I shouldn’t care about a candidate’s gender.  Shame on you, they told me.  But obviously citizens have been caring about presidential gender for all of our nation’s history, so why am I getting dinged for it?


A female president would immediately change the political landscape in the most visible possible way.  And with it, the “ambition gap” would begin to narrow.


Women do just as well as men in elections, when they run.  But not many do, and they tend to restrict their efforts to local and state level politics.  Only 16% of our nation’s Senators are female.  Similarly, 16% of the House is female.  And Governors?  You guessed it: 16%. 


Why are women so reluctant to run for office?  The reasons are clear enough.  Unequal child care responsibilities is a big one.  The lack of role models is another.  A female President makes one whopping role model for a bright young woman looking to make a mark. 


And here’s the thing, folks.  As long as “women’s issues” are a marginalized special interest, they will NEVER be satisfactorily addressed.  When women have equal representation, when women hold half the power positions, women’s issues will not be women’s issues anymore, they will be everyone’s issues. 


What makes Clinton’s defeat devastating is that there’s no one on deck.  16 female Senators, eight female Governors… a grand total of 24 women who could possibly be considered credible candidates for President.  If you take Clinton out of the running there’s 23.  Not one of them has the national prominence to get anywhere.


Except, now, Sarah Palin. 


If you’ve been here before and you’ve been reading the news today, you know that Sarah’s political views don’t match mine.  Indeed the media has been screaming about her “pro-life” sentiments all day.


Side rant:  Every reporter who mentions Palin’s views points out that she “proved” her pro-life stance by giving birth to a baby with Down Syndrome.  The implication being that any pro-choice woman would abort a fetus with DS in a second.  This is not true.  Speaking as a steadfastly pro-choice woman, I would not have done so.  I wanted children, I love my children, and I would’ve wanted and loved them just as much if they had DS.  Pro-choice doesn’t mean “pro-abortion as often as possible.”  It means “this gut-wrenching decision is not yours to make for someone else.”  End side rant.


So, sorry Sarah, I can’t vote for you, but I’m glad you’re on the ticket.  You gave me a little bit of hope today.


The White House Project







  1. I agree but really wonder if a woman has to be a former beauty queen to make it to the top. I think this is the reason along with family concerns that women don’t run.   I’m not voting for her because she is not a democrat and is a creationist.  A journalism major, she took it upon herself to tell scientists that they should teach creationism.  Sorry but someone who is that unaware of data does not have enough smarts to be vp–take a look at what we have now and see more of the same. Her hubbie has connections with the oil industry so what will that do for moving towards alternative energy? I respect her choice to have her Down Syndrome baby and would have done the same. In fact I did not even have prenatal testing when pregnant and old because I was not considering an abortion no matter what.   But without good health care not all people will be able to make that choice. In fact, had my child had DS it would have been terrible for us now because my health insurance covers less and less as time goes by and Down Syndrome children have many health problems. Saving for retirement would have been tricky.  Heck–it already is difficult.

  2. Thank you for not voting for her.   Everything else aside, McCain is 72 with a real chance of health issues interupting his presidency.  I don’t want an untested inexperienced anybody knowing nothing about foreign policy with their finger on the nuclear trigger.   Back to moose hunting with her. 

  3. My first thought when I heard was: “Wow, John, what a way to attempt to sway female voters!  Are you trying to level the ‘minority’ playing field?”  Then I read about her, and thought, “Well, that’s not going to change the mind of any woman I know.”I’m with you.  Pro-choice is not pro-abortion ad naseum.  I hardly condone abortion as a form of birth control.  And her stance about DS, omg, I shook my head.  Really?  *shakes head again*Nope, she still won’t have my vote.

  4. The statistic for Down Syndrome abortion is actually surprisingly high – if an amniocentesis or other test predicts Down syndrome the end result is abortion more than two-thirds of a time.  A 2004 study put it as high as 90%.  Now factor in that half of American women self identify as pro-life and you’ve got a substantial fraction of pro-lifers out there who apparently don’t “walk the walk”.  That Sarah Palin had pre-natal confirmation of Down syndrome and chose not to have an abortion puts her in the substantial minority. 

  5. I don’t know… with her lack of support for women’s issues, it doesn’t really feel like a victory for women, you know ?  I too declined prenatal testing when I turned up pregnant at 37, but that was my choice.  To not have a choice… that would be intolerable.

  6. My husband and I discussed what would happen if my amnio came back “bad”. Our thoughts (and we still hold them) were that we are NOT suitable people to raise a mentally challenged child. The child would have had a miserable life, we would have been miserable … our decision was to terminate the pregnancy if it came back positive for any mental problems, but to continue if the problem was purely physical. And in this Palin woman’s case – her husband is some kind of oil big-wig and she’s govervnor of Alaska? Yeah, right, why doesn’t someone ask her how much time she actually spends alone with her child? That would elicit a lot more meaningful answer, I think. Ten bucks says she’s got a full-time nanny (at least one) and a housekeeper and who knows what else!! But she’d condemn some poor woman, making minimum wage, to either stay home and accept welfare or send her child to sub-standard day-cares. Yay, great choices, there.No Aid for you! Bad Democrat! Don’t ask again, or no food for two weeks!(And if they open up Alaska for oil drilling, Canada is going to have a hissy unlike any seen before from our big friendly polite country. I guarrr-on-tee!)

  7. I’m with you on the side rant!!!  Oh, how that pisses me off!  I saw an article about that long before she was announced on the ticket…months ago.  My mother noticed it because we had a…discussion…about this very issue and DS when I was pregnant with number 3.  Our numbers came up high for DS, and we decided not to have an amnio, because I am prone to miscarriages.  I can’t imagine how awful I would have felt if I had the amnio, confirmed the baby was healthy and normal (which she is) and then had a miscarriage.  AND, as I said at the time, if the amnio confirmed DS, I would have had her anyway, so it was a lot of risk for nothing.  I am pro-choice.  My mother, who is PRO-LIFE, completely disagreed.  She would have had me get the test, and then abort if it came back positive for DS.  It just goes to show…it’s NOT about the baby.  It’s never been about the baby.  It’s about women controlling their own reproduction and the politicizing of a woman’s body.  Let’s all give her a pat on the back for having a DS baby!!  It makes me mad enough to vote for Obama.  Almost.

  8. Yeah, that’s what I thought when they brought up the whole “she didn’t abort the baby that had Down’s Syndrome” (by the way, stupid media, it’s called Trisomy 21 nowadays, so read some damn books before you go yelling about how pro-life and angelic she is. Of course, this brings up an interesting point: Do you vote for the 2 men, one of which is African-American (I had a whole rant about the difference between black and African-American that I won’t get on here), or do you vote for the “old man” (you know age is going to come up somehow), and the woman? This is the first election I can remember that has had both parties with candidates that had “strikes” against them.  It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.  My money’s on the fact that the pro-life, uber woman vice-president is less of a strike than having an African-American president.  After all, she’s “only” vice-president.

  9. Very intriguing observation from a non-supporter’s point of view.  We used to comment on each others’ blogs back in the day when we were posting replies to Socrates’ Cafe.  I was going through some old posts, about three years back, and trying to see whose sites are still active.  Glad to see you’re still blogging here.  

  10. Women are not a minority.  Yet they still don’t rule the world.  I can’t wait till that changes.  Then Laura Bush can run things.  Oh wait.  That’s not really what I want.

  11. On those 23 without “the national prominence to get anywhere,” I agree that there don’t SEEM to be any such, right now.  And that explains why the primary battle was so fiercely contested, not just by the candidates, but by the supporters as well.It would be good if we would try to understand each other’s passion.  Which is not to say we’re not doing that.As for Palin, we all seem to agree here.  Nevertheless, the reactions from the other side suggest that “partisan politics” is still alive and well.

  12. The implication being that any pro-choice woman would abort a fetus with DS in a second.I’m not sure that is the implication.  I mean, it may seem that way to someone outside the Republican party, but I think what it really addresses is the religious right’s concern about having a pro-life ticket.  Evangelicals tend to view McCain as insufficiently zealous on that issue.  Palin is obviously pro-life, and evangelicals would have a hard time characterizing her as being only nominally pro-life or pro-life out of political expedience, given the circumstances.  That’s just one right-wing extremist’s take, however. 

  13. @madhousewife - I think this is exactly the point.  At first, it seemed the Republicans chose a woman to scoop up the Hillary voters or maybe some of the Independents, who might be inclined to like the idea of a woman on the ticket.  But upon further reflection, I don’t think that’s the case at all.  I think they chose Sarah to woo *their own base*, because they know none of the true conservatives think much of John McCain.  Which is just so completely odd, if you think about it.  I mean, who ELSE are the true conservatives going to vote for, regardless of their opinion of John McCain??  Of course they’re going to vote McCain!  They’re certainly not going to vote Obama.  And then the beauty of the Palin nomination becomes clear:  perhaps they are afraid Obama is going to “get the vote out,” particularly among the youth and other people who might ordinarily stay home.  So they need Palin to ensure all the evangelicals will actually go to the polls.It’s the only logical explanation I can find.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s