Admirable Women – The Real Trailblazers

25 02 2011

2008 brought a lot of attention to the role of women in the highest levels of elected office. That’s great – I’m all for furthering gender equity – but we got a bit caught up in how historic a moment it was for women. “Oh. My. God. A woman senator is running for President. A woman governor might be Vice President. Oh, we’re soooooo enlightened.” Yeah, not quite. We’d forgotten that we’ve seen women as governors and senators for a while now and we’d seen them running for President and be nominated as vice presidential candidates before too. Time to take a serious look at all the ’08 hype before we get buried in BS of 2012. I’m not trying to diminish the accomplishments of either of these women, but there are a few things that need clearing up.

Hillary Clinton was sworn in as the junior Senator from New York in 2001 and served in the Senate for 7 seven years until 2009 when she was asked to become Secretary of State by President Obama. So, she served a full term, was re-elected, and was then picked to fill a position within the incoming administration. Yes, that’s impressive. What it isn’t is unheard of – at least the different pieces of it aren’t. Let me explain.

  • Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR), after serving in the Senate for a year to fill the seat left open by her husband’s death, won a special election in 1932 and became the first woman elected to the United States Senate. She won re-election in 1938, but lost the 1944 primary.
  • Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for the office of President of the United States… in 1872. Some say the she doesn’t count because her name was never on the ballot.
  • Ok, if you want to be one of those picky people, fine. Belva Ann Lockwood ran in 1884 and 1888. Her running mate in her first attempt also happened to be a woman.
  • Frances Perkins was the first woman to be appointed to a position in the US Cabinet. In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt named her Secretary of Labor, a position she held until 1945.
  • *In 1972, Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) became the first woman to get delegate votes at national convention for a major party. To date, six women have had that honor – Shirley  Chisholm in 1972, Barbara Jordan (D-TX) in 1976, Koryne Kaneski Horbal (D-MN) and Alice Tripp (D-MN?) in 1980, Martha Kirkland (D-AL?) in 1984, and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in 2008. * (Updated as promised.)

Hillary Clinton is admirable – she’s done a lot and I’ll get into that in another post – but not for being the first woman to run for president, or becoming a famous senator, or being asked to be a high-ranking official in a presidential administration because she wasn’t first. She’s the one that got the farthest along thus far, but there were many who came before her. She took the individual achievements others had attained and strung them all together in one ten-year period – a feat that in itself is admirable.

Sarah Palin has become not only a celebrity, but something close to a deity in the eyes of many of her supporters. I think any sort of rabid political fandom is a little misplaced – they write laws, not pop songs – but the Palin worshipers really take it to the next level not only in their devotion to the former Governor, but also in the level of their disdain for those who aren’t moved to support her no matter how rational or genuine their reasons for not doing so are. To fail to support Sarah Palin is, to many of her diehard fans, to reveal yourself as everything anti-American. Yeah, that’s crazy. So, what has she done. Well, in addition to being chosen by AZ senator John McCain to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election – the event which propelled her into the national spotlight – she served as governor of Alaska from December of 2006 until her resignation in July of 2009. With the fuss that was made over her governorship and vice presidential nomination, you’d think it had never happened before. Well, it had.

  • Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) and Miriam A. Ferguson (D-TX) both became governors in January, 1925. Mrs. Ross, sworn in of January 5th, succeeded her late husband.
  • Miriam A. Ferguson, sworn in on January 25th, succeeded her impeached husband. Her first term was plagued with allegations of corruption and she was defeated twice before winning a second two-year term in 1933. That term was also tainted by alleged corruption. (Might it have run in the family?)
  • The first woman to win a governor’s race without being previously connected to the office by marriage was Ella Grasso (D-CT) who was elected in 1975 and won re-election in 1978. She resigned in December of 1980 due to a worsening battle with ovarian cancer which she succumbed to several weeks later in February 1981.
  • At the time of the 2008 presidential race, Mrs. Palin was one of eight women serving as state governors.
  • The first woman to be chosen as a vice presidential running mate was Marietta Stow, the running mate of Belva Ann Lockwood in 1884.
  • The first woman to be nominated as a vice presidential candidate for one of the country’s major political parties was Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY)in 1984 when she was chosen by Walter Mondale to be his running mate.

Dismiss this all as “Palin Derangement Syndrome” if you will, but while there are some things about her life that are admirable, after comparing her to the other women who actually broke down barriers in politics, I’m not singing Mrs. Palin’s praises. She is also still rather young as far as politicians go, so she may yet accomplish something of merit, but for right now I remain highly unimpressed with the political career of the woman people are comparing to everyone from Washington, to Lincoln, to Jesus. Sorry!

There are many women who have done a lot with their lives before what they did was common or even accepted. Being politically involved and female is a combination that just came about four, or ten, or twenty years ago. We’ve just gotten better at it.

These are a couple other links.

A list of women presidential and vice presidential candidates , a list of women state governors, and a fact sheet about women in government as of 2011 from the Center for Women in Politics.





That’s It! Sarah Palin, Get The Hell Out Of My Living Room!

1 12 2010

TV personalities are invited into my living room. If I like them, I might grace them with my viewership and make my one woman contribution to their ratings. I might make it a point to watch a show regularly, if it appeals to me. I might even purchase episodes or DVDs. I’m even fussy about my news broadcasts because some anchors are just too damn annoying. If something isn’t entertaining to me for whatever reason, so long. I’m like Luke Skywalker and the remote is my light saber – I will use the force.

But it doesn’t always work.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to avoid the Kardashian sisters completely. They’re just everywhere. I am happy to say I don’t know much about them, but I can tell you their names and probably which are married and other useless bullfunky like that. They’re inescapable. Like football. I’m not a fan football in the NFL sense, preferring the football that actually involves a foot coming into regular contact with the ball, but I can still tell you who won the last Super Bowl. Also, because I was born in America and went to high school, I know the basic rules of the game. Some people and things are just like that. Last year, whether you wanted to or not, you got to know more than enough about John and Kate Gosselin as the nation watched their marriage crumble while the reality television cameras rolled on. In the world of politics, everybody heard all about South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and his Argentinean “soul mate” and saw John Edwards take Bill Clinton’s famous extramarital activities one step farther by insisting that he did not father a child with that woman – which was proven to be quite false indeed. We all heard so much about those events and everyone was saying “Enough! Please!” Well, I’ve reached my media saturation point with someone else.

Dear sweet God Almighty, am I so damn sick of Sarah Palin!

This begged for a picture, but I am in full Palin Overload at this point, so this is as close as I'm getting to putting her picture up here. Bullwinkle is my Sarah Palin Stand-In.

She’s highly opinionated, she’s rabidly conservative, and she is everywhere I look. She needs to get out of my living room – now – but changing the channel isn’t much help. She is mentioned in nearly every US news broadcast. (I’m so thankful we get BBC.) Turn on any Discovery Channel subsidiary and you’ll see the ad for her reality show at least six times in any given hour, so she’s effectively invaded Mythbusters. Browse the internet for anything political and there she is. Her tweets and facebook posts make news in a way many government officials who were actually elected to a particular office can only dream of. She even turned Dancing With the Stars, something else I avoid, into a battle between the right and the left. Did Bristol Palin get as far as she did because of who her mother is (because it’s certainly why she was on the show to begin with)? Did she lose because of all the Palin-haters out there furiously voting against her? Oh, the conspiracy theories abound. Then there is her position as an analyst for Fox News and her reality show fame. You can’t lob a political statement anywhere without it running into some issue she’s been pontificating about over the past few months. Add to that the fact that my own father thinks she’s the best human being to grace this planet since, I don’t know, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, maybe Jesus, and it’s official – I’m trapped. The American political discourse has turned into Palin World, and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of her. Sarah Palin has been the center of national attention more times in two years than Dubya was in his eight years in the White House. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my Palin fatigue. It’s nice to know the entire country hasn’t gone mad, but it’s disappointing to think about how many people may very well be voting for “that reality show lady” in 2012.

And before people start to screech about my obvious liberal bias, let me point out that I haven’t even mentioned her views and where they differ from my own. This isn’t even about ideological stances, it’s about media overexposure. It’s like that song on the radio that you hear all day long and sooner or later you start to not like it. Sarah Palin is getting over-played fast and, with two years until the next election, I think she runs the risk of going overboard with the self promotion even with those who are more inclined to like her. Her strategy of inundating the country with all Palin all the time could backfire. She has high disapproval ratings as it is and in polls conducted by both Quinnipiac University and CNN she loses to Obama in a hypothetical election by eight points – more than his margin of victory against John McCain in 2008. That is not an insignificant thing to overcome and becoming a pop culture nuisance isn’t going to win people over, it’s just obnoxious.





“Great” Moments in Modern Politics – the Good, the Bad, and the WTF of Political Photos – Part 2 The Bad – Silly Faces Edition

10 04 2010

Enough with the nice stuff. It’s time for a montage of our world leaders not looking their best. There’s a wealth of material out there, but I’ve tried to be fair. I’ve tried to avoid, very successfully I feel, to avoid those dreaded “-isms” (sexism, ageism, there are so many -isms). If you find some “-ism” or other that I’ve missed, let me know. I posted good pictures of these people earlier. Now it’s time for some good-natured mockery. I’ve tried to be an equal-opportunity insulter, but people like the Clintons and Dubya had so many more pictures that it’s hard to not look like you’re bashing on them.

***I’m Smiling Because My Handlers Told Me To***
Every politician, no matter how nice they may seem, has a fake smile that they employ when they have to deal with throngs of people whom they do not know and will most likely never see again. So who has the best one?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Somewhere along the way, someone told Hillary Clinton that she should smile like a cartoon character.

Apparently, they also told her to smile like a chipmunk. This is bad, but in an almost cute way.

Joe Biden

And remember, he’s just a heartbeat away from running the country. Does anyone else feel slightly less safe?

David Miliband

No comment. It’s just that bad.

Dubya

The Odd-Man-Out and no doubt on many levels.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Is anyone else reminded of The Sound of Music?

Rahm Emanuel

“A clue, Sherlock!”

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Je me sens joli. Ah, plus joli.” (Translation – “I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty.”)

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton: The Sometimes-Embarrassing Mom of US Politics.

And, my favorite,….
Dmitri Medvedev

сыр! (Translation – “Cheese!”)

***Pouting Is Such Sweet Sorrow***
Anyone who’s pouting looks funny. Political figures pouting is just that much more amusing.

Dubya

Door 1 : Dubya 0

Hillary Rodham Clinton

You know when someone says or does something dumb and you look at them and think “Idiot!” That’s the look.

Barack Obama

“What did the Vice President say now?”

Sarah Palin

That’s advanced level pouting. Nicely done!

Barack Obama

Pouty POTUS.

Angela Merkel

“Er hat gesagt was?!” (Translation – “He said what?!”)

And the King of the Political Pout…
Bill Clinton

Awwww, poor baby!

***Politics FAIL***
This is what happens when the mask of political poise slips just as you’re thinking “Oh, damn!”

John McCain and Ted Kennedy

John McCain and the late Ted Kennedy listening to Joe Biden.

Dubya

One “Bush-ism” too many in that speech.

Bill Clinton

The international gesture of “Not my fault”.

David Miliband

LOL. Just LOL.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Ok, I’m gonna grab Bill’s butt now.”

Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Facepalm in 3… 2… 1…

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

I don’t know who said what, but it looks like it was bad.

Angela Merkel

This was almost my pick, but my choice for this category is…

Hillary Rodham Clinton

because it’s so bad it’s almost endearing and nearly almost cute which is an accomplishment considering the subject. “Cute” and “endearing” aren’t words usually used to describe her.

Un-curb Your Enthusiasm
Running countries and so on is important work, but it can also be tiring.

Bill Clinton

Somebody tell him that looking like that isn’t helping her.

Gordon Brown

I’m not sure if Prime Minister Brown is bored or if that’s his usual expression.

Bill Clinton

Is she holding his hand to keep him from escaping?

Vladimir Putin

Mentally counting up all the places he’d rather be.

Bill Clinton

He simply can’t sit still and be quiet for long periods of time, can he?

Dubya

Nap time.

Bill Clinton

This man has made looking bored an art form, but my favorite bored politician picture is…

Diane Feinstein

Stop talking and let the poor thing go home!

You Can See The Wheels In There Turning
It’s entertaining to watch those with power trying to not look confused when they are… and failing.

David Miliband

Secretary Clinton seems to have no trouble enjoying her maple taffy at a G8 meeting in Quebec Canada, but Foreign Minister Miliband appears to be have been completely flummoxed by the snack food.

Dubya

“Uhhhhhhhhh….”

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I didn’t just forget my speech. Nope. Not me.”

Joe Biden

Forget something, Joe?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The (momentarily lost) Secretary of State.

David Miliband

“Huh? Did someone say ‘banana’?”

Dubya

Dubya’s attempt at diplomacy.

David Miliband

“Hmmmmmm……”

Bill Clinton

“Hillary, Sugar, what was I supposed to say again?”

Joe Biden

Mental Vacation.

And now to crown the King of Confusion
Dubya

Honestly, who else could it be?

What?!
Because sometimes even they’re caught by surprise.

John McCain

This type of shot makes me nervous. We’re sure he’s ok, right?

Hillary Rodham Clinton

“What?!”

Nancy Pelosi

I didn’t think her face could show that much expression.

Nicolas Sarkozy

“Ce n’etait pas moi!” (It wasn’t me!”)

Dubya

“Naw!”

Barack Obama

That face is great!

Dubya and John McCain

CPAC unveils the Rush Limbaugh swimsuit calendar.

I can’t decide which of these photo I prefer, but the subject of both is the same.

Joe Biden

In all honesty, is there a more amusing person in DC?

Laughing With You
See? No hard feelings.

Dubya

David Miliband

George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gordon Brown

Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi

Joe Biden

Isn’t it nice to see everyone getting along?

Posted for Still4Hill.