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"The Year of the Democratic Woman"

By Michael J. Smith on Friday January 5, 2007 07:39 AM

Yesterday this bit of burble from The Nation landed in my email inbox:
The Year of the Democratic Woman

History will be made on Thursday morning with the US Capitol serving as a backdrop as Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as the first woman Speaker of the House. Pelosi was unanimously elected Speaker last November to serve in this position that is third-in-line to the Presidency.

But what is being touted as "The Year of the Democratic Woman" extends far beyond this important victory.

The piece is by Katrina van den Heuvel, and she goes on to note Barbara "Paiens ont tort" Boxer's committee chairmanship, among other triumphs:
Minnesota elected Amy Klobuchar as its first-ever female Senator.... Anti-war candidate Carol Shea-Porter is the first woman ever elected by New Hampshire.... In all, eleven Democratic women will serve in the Senate and fifty in the House.... Sen. Dianne Feinstein ... will now chair the Rules and Administration Committee.... Sen. Patty Murray (WA) will become the fourth-ranking Democrat in the Senate as ... conference secretary.

In the House, no woman has chaired a committee since 1997 and, thankfully, that pitiful streak now comes to an end. Representatives Louise Slaughter, Nydia Velazquez and Stephanie Tubbs Jones - all members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) - will respectively chair the Rules Committee, Small Business Committee, and Ethics Committee.... The CPC - the largest caucus in Congress - is chaired by Representatives Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee... and it includes other strong and tested progressives like Jan Schakowsky, Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Maxine Waters. In fact, 22 of the 64 CPC members in the last Congress were women and that number is expected to rise in the new Congress.

I'll leave it to readers more familiar with some of these stalwarts to comment on their "progressive" credentials. What interests me in Katrina's rose-colored scorecard is the implication that more women in Congress, and particularly as committee chairs, is a Good Thing for reasons that go beyond the obvious goodness of getting closer to gender equality generally. Names like Margaret Thatcher, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Golda Meir, and Hillary Clinton come to mind. Naturally one is glad to see women invading the traditional male professions of mass murder and systematic immiseration -- hey, fair's fair -- but those who are on the receiving end will have to rejoice for reasons of pure altruism rather than benefit to themselves.

Katrina concludes, a little cagily:

If the 110th Congress is to fulfill its mandate for change it will do so in no small measure through the new and much overdue leadership of Democratic Women. Now let's just hope that the history-making Speaker reflects the Nancy Pelosi who often scored 100 on progressive scorecards, not the equivocating Nancy Pelosi who failed to gain the endorsement of her hometown newspaper.
The "if" is a very big "if," and one wonders whether it has crossed Katrina's mind that the two Nancys are in fact one Nancy?

Postscript: the email that brought this bit of seasonal cheer also included a "sponsored message" -- what would once have been called an "ad":

Darfur's Women & Girls Need Our Help

In Darfur, Sudan, women and girls as young as eight years old are being raped and sexually assaulted on a daily basis as part of a calculated strategy of genocide.

We cannot let these atrocities continue.

Click here now to sign the Save Darfur Coalition's petition urging President Bush and UN Secretary-General Annan to take immediate steps to stop the genocide.

Nice product placement. War for Women! There's a slogan for you.

I wouldn't object to the Nation taking ads from the Darfur war-drummers if they took ads indiscriminately, but of course they don't. I'm sure they're quite selective. So the Darfur crusade gets a pwoggie blessing and a bit more mindshare among The Nation's elderly readership, and The Nation's echoing coffers get a little transfusion from the Israel Lobby reptile fund.

Comments (3)

js paine:

speaking of ads

a small unprovoked ad
for my pard and fearless editor


"The Nation's echoing coffers
get a little transfusion
from the Israel Lobby reptile fund"
( mjs)

that's english
fired out
at its best

right here every day
at "stop me..."

Well, all I can say is that's it's a good thing I'm one of those guys who keeps a pile of blank VHSs around and saves as much of NBC News' good stuff as I can.

I think it's time to break out my Fall '02 interview footage of The Nancy on NBC Toady after her election as House Minority Leader, in which she proundly annouces how her party "stands shoulder to shoulder with President Bush", in keeping with the heady, giddy, Kool-Aid-fueled atmosphere of those run-up-to-Iraq days.

Oh, and btw, just what do you mean, with that crack about the Darfur "war drummers"?

What's wrong with you, Smiff? Don't you want to stop the genocide in Darfur? Don't you want to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur? Don't you think we need to do something to stop the violence in Darfur? As the Clintonoid liberal Kool-Aid guzzlers implored us during the Serbian "crisis", "We can't just do nothing!"

(phrases in bold for all you "Bullshit Bingo" players)

But, seriously, folks...I've never seen quite such a DOA, non-starting, legless "issue" as Darfur. All the "news" I've gotten out of there lately has been Africa Action press releases and "Save Darfur" issue ads during Meet The Press (unless you want to count NBC's Ann Curry "reporting" breathlessly from the back of a speeding Hummer). I'd say it ranks right up there with stem cells and flag burning among the all-time greatest totally bullshit, time-wasting non-issues. I like to think of Darfur as sort of the Chandra Levy of foreign policy issues.


A sane point of view on the Darfur situation you're not likely to hear much of, what with the moral panic and all.

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