Yesterday, we learned that voters were polled on whether Barbara Boxer or Carly Fiorina has better hair. Even without the 2008 election's bombast (Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin), the past year has been rather rocky for women in politics. Some lowlights:
1) Public Policy Research's question about the really important stuff in the California Senate race had its own illustrious background: Carly Fiorina being caught on camera calling Boxer's hair "so yesterday."
2) Further proof that some women need no help from men to commit gender fails, Colorado's Jane Norton recently attacked her opponent, Ken Buck, in the Republican gubernatorial primary by saying he wasn't "man enough." He responded at a public event that Coloradans should vote for him, "Because I do NOT wear high heels." Having successfully baited Buck, Norton is currently fundraising with the tagline, "Ken Buck may think a woman's place is in the house. We know a woman's place is in the Senate." Too bad her policy positions would limit women's choices.
3) "I did not go out with her, but other guys did." — Noted Heterosexual/Disgraced Democrat/Guy Who Wouldn't Bone Elena Kagan But Knows Others Did Eliot Spitzer, on the current Supreme Court Nominee. Also, one word for political commentators: Softball.
4) Sarah Palin helped get people talking about women in politics this year with her prescriptions of "tea party feminism" and supporting conservative "Mama Grizzlies." So far, the best outcome of all this are some really great, righteously angry refudiations, including this one.
5) Last August, Hillary Clinton was thrown on the defensive when a Congolese student asked her what her husband thought about China's contracts in Africa. She snapped, "Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. So you ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband." Everyone gave her shit about it. On the plus side, Hillary Clinton is our Secretary of State.
6) Former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas governor told The New Yorker in June, "The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas. If those were my only options, I'd probably be FOR same-sex marriage!" Meanwhile, the right tried to paint her as a bogey(wo)man and made sport of mocking her appearance. And Pelosi continued to kick ass and pass health care reform anyway.
7 With her championing and signing of SB1070, Arizona governor Jan Brewer helped prove, yet again, that female politicians can be as bigoted as male ones. Fortunately, the courts have had a thing or two to say about that. Unfortunately, the law appears to have made her more popular in her state than ever.
8) An aide for David Vitter, Republican Senator from Louisiana, pled guilty to attacking his girlfriend with a knife in 2008. Also: the aide's job was to work on women's issues. Also: Vitter claimed he didn't actually work on women's issues, he worked on abortion issues. Duh.
9) Proving that Democrats can also cover up for woman-abusing aides, yesterday, New York governor David Paterson was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in connection with pressuring the abused girlfriend of his aide not to press charges. He and his administration were, however, held culpable for "errors in judgment" for repeatedly pressuring a woman whose partner — in the governor's inner circle — "tore off her Halloween costume, choked her and shoved her into a mirrored dresser" not to press her case. According to the report, "It is hard to reconcile this conduct with the governor's expressed commitment to the cause of domestic violence prevention."
10) Almost anything Michelle Bachmann has ever said. Or done.
What'd we miss?