The Pink Elephant in the Room

| 5/12/2010 3:28:16 PM

Are Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann good news for women in politics? Writing for The New Republic, Michelle Cottle makes an awfully interesting argument:

When you think GOP rock star, who leaps to mind? Eric Cantor? Mitch McConnell? Mitt Romney? Michael Steele? Please. These guys aren’t exactly thrilling the masses . . . . Instead, it’s pugilistic lasses Palin, Bachmann, and increasingly, Liz Cheney who are channeling—and fueling—the passions of the base with their in-your-face conservatism.

On one level, I find this trend disturbing. On another, I cannot help but be impressed by—and even a bit grateful to—these conservative girls gone wild. Say what you will about their ideology; these angry female fringe-dwellers are arguably doing more than anyone to tear down some of the most tiresome stereotypes about women in politics.

You know what I’m talking about: Every few years someone writes a book, publishes a study, or simply drops a quote suggesting what a kinder, gentler, less competitive, more collaborative, less power-crazed, and fundamentally more ethical place Washington would be if only the gals were in charge. . . .

As gross generalizations go, this is, perhaps, more flattering than the one about women being too soft-hearted and weak-kneed to lead. But it’s still largely B.S.


5/13/2010 12:42:38 PM

I might be encouraged if I didn't attribute a significant portion of their success to the fact that both Palin and Bachmann are very pretty. Can you imagine them stoking these fires if they were just sort of average looking, or maybe a little overweight? I remember my Republican Grandfather, wonderful as he was in most ways, saying of some woman speaker he heard: "She was strong and articulate, and boy was she beautiful. There's nothing as effective as a beautiful woman giving a speech."

Ralph Marshall
5/13/2010 9:58:43 AM

These conservative women are doing good by America. We have tied one hand behind our back by ignoring half of our human resources for thousands of years. Even the wackiest idea is valuable when attached to the female personae. Why is this? The first step to solve any problem is to gather information. The more you know, the clearer the solution becomes. America is still the most dynamic human experiment on this planet precisely because we can bring our ideas fully into societal consciousness. Sweeping our idiocies under the rug only allows them to fester unseen. Vigorous dialogue is the cure to these unhealthy attitudes that, in my simple opinion, conservatism espouses. Like a magnet through a cow, these new 'rock stars' of the Republican party are gathering the wackiest and loudest ignoratti into one place, to be passed out the back of the body politic. Let them speak. Let them be loud. Let them articulate their deepest thoughts. Then let us debate the ideologies, not the people.

5/13/2010 7:37:10 AM

So the GOP rock stars are the biggest losers? Well yeah. Male or female the most memorable names in the GOP are the ones who's lack of thinking has let them be caught in the most embarrassing situations. It's tiresome to think that women could put a less pugilistic face on politics? I find that much less tiresome than screeching stupidity.

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