Hey, GQ has put out a new list of "The 50 Most Powerful People in Washington," and there's some good news: A lady is in the top ten. To absolutely no one's surprise, the woman is Hillary Clinton, bad-ass Secretary of State and all around powerful person extraordinaire. She landed the number five spot.
The rest of list is filled with all kinds of people, not just lawmakers. Yes, there are Congressmen (Rep. Eric Cantor is number one) and Senators (Sen. Mitch McConnell is number two—in both the literal and figurative way), but there are also presidential advisors, lobbyists, journalists, tastemakers, and even a baseball pitcher (Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals). You know what there's not a lot of though? Women!
Of the 50 spots on the list, only eight of them are occupied by women. Two of those spots have women sharing the title with their husbands. (Heather Podesta, who runs a lobbying firm as does her husband Tony, and Lissa Muscatine, who co-owns the lovely bookstore Politics and Prose with her husband Bradley Graham.) Three women (Svetlana Legetic, Jayne Sandman, and Barbara Martin) share one spot for all being influential party planners. That leaves four women—in addition to Hillary—who are powerful enough to stand alone: Kathy Ruemmer, White House Counsel; Nancy Hogan, Director of Presidential Personnel; Patty Murray, Senator from Washington State; and Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick and Fox News talking head. Besides Hillary, the highest ranking woman, Heather Podesta, comes in at number 23.
Now, Congress is certainly heavily skewed in the male direction, as are many of the parasitic professions in Washington, but at this late date in history there are plenty of powerful women in Washington. And this is not to say that any of the ladies who did make the list don't deserve this honor (if being a Washington insider is really considered an honor), but it does seem rather curious that this list is so light on the ladies—and all while GQ managed to make room on there for such male hotshots as restaurateur José Andrés and Bill Daley, the former Chief of Staff for President Obama who is not even in D.C. anymore…
I am by no means an obsessive watcher of Washington social ladders, but even I can think of a few ladies worthy of cracking the top 50—hey, even the top 20 (here are some excellent suggestions). Anyone named Biden or Obama was out of the running, so that excuses the absence of the very powerful Dr. Jill Biden and Michelle Obama. But what about the other obvious choice, Nancy Pelosi. She's certainly one of the most well known members of Congress, and even though she's not Speaker of the House anymore, she could probably out-power half the people on the list, including Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida, who comes in at number 43. Here are his main sources of power, according to GQ: "Cuban-American. Handsome. Married to former Dolphins cheerleader. 2012, VP. 2016, The World." Maybe, but at least until he is actually chosen as a VP candidate, I'd venture that Pelosi could beat him at any power game with her eyes closed.
Then there's Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Does that count for nothing? She should probably be somewhere above James Alefantis, who is a "restaurateur and Bon Vivant" and was ranked number 49, second-to-last on the list? In his defense, he does sound cool: "When it comes to D.C. radical chic, Alefantis is unsurpassed. If you don't know him, you aren't wearing your scarf right." But, please, Wasserman Schultz runs an entire political party.
Finally, excuse me, but how is Valerie Jarrett, trusted friend and senior advisor to President Obama, missing in action? You cannot seriously tell me she is less powerful than the "Capital Weather Gang," a group of meteorologists who blog for the Washington Post and rank at number 38. I'm sorry, but no.
And I'm sure there are dozens of other ladies who could easily fill spots on this list, but you know what, at this point, maybe we ought to just be thankful that they didn't include any zoo animals. (Although, to be fair to all species, the D.C. Zoo does have a lovely female panda who's probably very well connected.)