You won't hear them say it, but the rejection of Harriet Miers was a triumph for feminists. She was scrutinized as rigorously, criticized as mercilessly and treated as harshly as any man seeking to rise in the power structure of Washington.
If Samuel Alito is confirmed, there will be one less woman on the court, but no one can say (although Laura Bush implied it) that Harriet Miers got a hard time because she's female. She was, in part, chosen to replace a woman, but that obviously wasn't a good enough reason.
No one suggested that she got where she got as a lawyer on anything but by her merits as a professional, and it speaks well for her that she was back at work after the humiliation of withdrawal, as well as for the president who continued to take her advice about who should succeed her as the nominee. He got good advice. Sam Alito appears to be the goods the president's friends were waiting for. Now the phony war is over, and the real one begins.
There's a larger lesson here for the feminists. What women fought for was to be treated equally -- no better than men, no worse. Women just didn't know what "for worse" could be. Many women taken in by the feminist rhetoric didn't find the Promised Land. Instead they confronted a harsh landscape of uneven possibilities. We've taken unexpected turns on the way to the 21st century.
More moms are now staying home with their children than working outside the home; it's the sharpest decline in the numbers of working mothers since 1976. In their book "What Women Really Want," pollsters Celinda Lake (a Democrat) and Kellyanne Conway (a Republican) found that seven in 10 women say they would stay home with their kids if they could afford it. Sleep deprivation may be part of it. When the pollsters asked both men and women if they would prefer more sex or more sleep, women overwhelmingly asked for more sleep. Men were dreaming of more sex: "So one difference between men and women is what they prefer between the sheets."