Patrick Hynes

Did a majority of Americans vote for Democrats on Nov. 7th, 2006 because they were sick and tired of men running the show? Did America decide it was time to smash the "marble ceiling"? Of course not. We know from exit polling and post-election data that corruption and frustration regarding the war in Iraq had reached their tipping points, and Republicans fell victim to the voters’ anxiety and anger. Nevertheless, you would be forgiven for mistaking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s swearing in festivities for a historical reenactment of the Seneca Falls Convention.

Introducing Pelosi at her big coming out party, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (C-CT) laid it on a bit thick. “When Nancy takes the gavel tomorrow, she takes it for all of us—for every little girl who wondered what they could be when they grew up. And tomorrow we’ll find out the answer: anything you want to be!”

Pelosi had to shout over former Texas Governor Ann Richards’s favorite song, "Don’t Fence Me In" when it came time for her to speak. "That was Ann’s favorite song … and that’s women’s message: Don’t Fence Us In!"

It went dreadfully on like this. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus gushed with approval. Presumably typing with one hand and clutching a damp, mascara-stained tissue in the other Marcus wrote, "The key to ensuring future Pelosis is a workplace that accommodates women—and men—looking for ways to shuttle in and out of work or to craft flexible schedules that let them be good employees and good parents. … Who better to help accomplish this than a female speaker?"

As for me, I would prefer a speaker—male or female—who places victory against the jihadist enemy higher on his or her "to do" list than setting policies “to ensure future Pelosis.” But we all have different priorities, I suppose.

"Nothing irritates male voters more than to have a woman politician belligerently point out the obvious: that she is a woman," one prominent Republican pollster in Washington told me. "In focus group after focus group, we see support from white men nosedive when female politicians from either party deliberately suggest that their gender makes them better suited for high office."

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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