The 2012 Election's Lady "Sideshow"

Illustration for article titled The 2012 Elections Lady Sideshow

Former Clinton administration press secretary Dee Dee Myers says that in the 2012 presidential election, women are largely a sideshow. But that's only true if you focus on the presidential candidate; as this legislative season has demonstrated all too well, a female candidate isn't the only "women's issue" at the ballot box.

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Myers writes,

In the absence of a serious figure, like [Hillary] Clinton, the women getting attention as the campaign season begins fall into two categories: provocative but unelectable and provocative but who may render their husbands unelectable.

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She's right about Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin if she runs (though the political and gossip press, and their intersection, are bored with her), Callista Gingrich, and Cheri Daniels. ("The sheer volume of wives makes this group newsworthy," she declares. Alas, she lost Trump's count of three.)

None of these women are going to become president, so they function as mere entertainment or "fodder for debate." But anything interesting that could have been said or learned about these conservative women (the ones who aren't wives of), or their entanglement with the Tea Party, or their lack of intellectual mettle, was likely raked over in the 2010 election or around Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy. The 2008 election was a far more stimulating set of political and philosophical arguments on these grounds.

But we don't need to have a theoretical debate about a significantly less "entertaining" turn of events that affects women: The radical anti-choice agenda that's being pushed in the Republican-controlled House, and in statehouses across the country. Let's remember that it's not just the president voters will decide upon in 2012; Republicans are "optimistic" about retaking the Senate, which has been a partial bulwark against that agenda.

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More broadly: Did voters elect those Republicans out of dissatisfaction with Democrats or the economy, or were they really signing up for a litany of pseudo-science, draconian restrictions, and defunding of women's health services? There's a question that deserves to go beyond the sideshow.

Women 2012: Sideshows [Politico]
Related: Republicans "Optimistic" About Retaking Senate [NYT]
Earlier: What Exactly Did The Presidential Election Change For Women?

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DISCUSSION

PaintedTrollop
PaintedTrollop

A lot of people sat out the last election. Turnout was abysmal. I don't know any liberals or progressives who would vote GOP out of dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party, but I also don't think the DP understands how deep the dissatisfaction is. Obama has been a very centrist>right leaning president, and the DP essentially threw women under the bus with insurance reform. I had to move in 2010. I moved to a new county in NH and had to register to vote. I chose not to re-register as a Democrat, I registered as undeclared, due to my profound unhappiness with the party. I can't say they "left" me behind, but they sure as hell righted me behind. I'd never vote Republican, but at this point, I don't think it matters much who is president. The old Democratic boogeyman "If you don't vote for our shitty candidate, the evil REPUBLICAN will get in" doesn't resonate so well right now. Obama has us involved in 3 wars, increased DoD spending, Gitmo still open, secret prisons still open, warrantless wiretapping still going on, drone bombing about 7 countries right now, and we're borrowing to fund that military empire as well as tax cuts for the wealthy. On top of that, he's in favor of spending billions on guaranteed taxpayer funded loans to the nuclear power industry. Obama's another corporate stooge, who sold his vague pretty talk to voters who chose not to look under the surface.

Will the DP suddenly remember women's votes matter? I'm not optimistic.