And this is more than just a bathroom I'm making into a historic cultural symbol now: With Boehner's stubborn insistence that he will manage to cut the budget even with that construction project (which includes getting plumbing into that area of the Capitol), he's heeding November's election message, too. Women are responsible and budget-conscious. Women have no patience with a Washington that isn't.
In her post-election analysis, pollster Kellyanne Conway found that "if the bailouts and spending at the beginning of the administration were the tip of the iceberg, health care reform was the tipping point for women in questioning the priorities and fiscal sanity of this administration. Women are the chief health-care officers of their households and control two out of every three dollars spent. They heavily populate the health care industry as workers, accounting for 95 percent of home health aides, 92 percent of nurses, 49 percent of pharmacists, half of medical students. Women did the math, noticing that the new health care reform plan would add 30 million new people to the rolls and not a single new doctor, and a price tag of $1 trillion and counting." Women were almost half of the tea party movement because they, like men, are "concerned" and "frustrated" (not so much "angry" in Conway's analysis) about America's future.
Conway found that "women hardly cared or noticed that there was a female Speaker of the House: "Nancy Pelosi practiced the type of hyper-partisanship, exclusiveness, and lack of transparency that offends women. By the time she lost her post, her approval ratings among men and women were more negative than positive."
Boehner's bathroom project is one practical and symbolic way of, as he would say it, cutting through a lot of this kind of hurtful and unnecessary "crap" in politics and culture. And he'll even have a practical symbol of how far we've come, right near the House floor.
Secretary Clinton, the new, male Republican speaker was listening. It's not the biggest issue in the country or even on Capitol Hill, but it's a symbol of one of the most significant stories of the year: a morning of new feminism in America -- one that has no time for the mourning that liberal feminism has brought into American lives.
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