S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

To focus on females

- is what Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist says that Democrats need to do. We need to get more women candidates into '08 races. He includes these stats in his piece from which I quote,

According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP*), women hold the following percentages of key elective offices in the U.S.: Governors 18 %; U.S. Senators 16 %; House Members 16.1 %; State Legislators 23.5 %.

The one conclusion all Democrats should be able to support is that the Party and progressive groups should recruit more women candidates and invest more time, training and money toward getting them elected.
The current crop of female U.S. Senators exemplifies why electing women leaders is a good idea. Yesterday, last night and today it will be all about "the all-nighter" pulled by the U.S. Senate. Many of us listened as senators from both sides of the aisle either contributed honestly to the debate or played politics with the process. I was particularly impressed with the two Republican senators from Maine, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe. Senator Diane Feinstein of California, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Hillary Clinton of New York, also made thoughtful and impressive speeches. Reporters Shailagh Murray, Paul Kane and Debbi Wilgoren pulled their own all-nighter at the Washington Post to write the story. I quote from an excellent overall summary of the event:

A handful of U.S. senators sustained a marathon all-night debate on Iraq overnight, alternating speechmaking on the Senate floor with snatches of sleep in makeshift dorm rooms or, in some cases, at homes and apartments a few blocks away on Capitol Hill.

Republicans were determined to block legislation forcing a withdrawal of combat troops. They dismissed the Democrats' overnight effort as political theatrics and vowed to enforce a 60-vote threshold for passing the withdrawal proposal.

Success in getting women elected has taken a great deal of money. When women began to get enough money to mount real election campaigns things started to change in U.S. electoral politics. One of the most significant factors in this new fund raising power was the founding in 1985 of Emily's List. Early on they helped Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton, as we all know, has become a formidable fund raiser. USA Today has the latest figures. Quote,

Clinton has $45.2 million, and $33 million is available for the primary, spokesman Howard Wolfson said. She has more saved in part because her total includes $10 million transferred from her Senate campaign.

Never elected to office - but memorable leaders nonetheless - First Ladies of the United States have exercised power in a variety of ways. My admiring memories of them begin with Eleanor Roosevelt's very impressive life of public service, Betty Ford's example of openness about a life "in Recovery," Rosalyn Carter's advocacy of mental health issues, and Hillary Clinton's transition into elective office. They also include and Lady Bird Johnson's love and activism on behalf of the land and our environment. Lady Bird Johnson was laid to rest Sunday, "near the banks of the Pedernales River," according to Her daughters' eloquent eulogies were memorable moments for us who watched the various ceremonies marking the passing of this great lady. Five former First Ladies attended her funeral. To quote,

Johnson, who died Wednesday at 94, was remembered as an astute businesswoman, a woman who worked to preserve nature and the devoted wife of a president.

"I'm not sure why she was so preoccupied with this, but she always seemed to be wondering if she had done enough for the world, regardless of her own condition," Nugent said.

. . . About 1,800 people, including family, friends and presidents, attended a two-hour funeral Saturday at Riverbend Centre overlooking the Hill Country. People in attendance included former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, first lady Laura Bush and former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Winners of elections someday? Scott Paul at The Washington Note posted "Buzz Cuts: Malaria Activism on Campus" on 7/17/07. From their names it sounds like a significant number on his list are young women. To quote his intro,

. . . I want to recognize some campus activists who will be campaigning to raise awareness and funds to fight malaria. These individuals were chosen from a large pool of applicants to receive a scholarship from The People Speak. I was at the UN Foundation today to offer some tips on how to carry out pragmatic, effective advocacy on global issues.
We can easily imagine that elected leaders might emerge from this group of students in years to come. You never know. But they are getting off to a good start as activists on behalf of a good cause, the way ever so many women now serving their country in elected office got their starts. References:
  1. *Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University
  2. My previous S/SW posts on women in politics and government - Women travel to the Middle East, men talk, War, violence and video, "Madam Speaker", More about leadership and women's roles, Women and the election, Condoleezza, Puh-leeze!, Politics: do emotions drive actions?, Condoleezza Rice's iron.
My links:
Cross posted at The Reaction.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is about the writing process as a sandwich.
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