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Conservative Feminists (Grizzlies or Not) Come Out Roaring

4 years ago
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Thank goodness for Christine O'Donnell. Now we've got someone else to obsess about beside Sarah and Gaga. In just a few days she's got the mama grizzlies of Team Sarah roaring against the male hierarchy of her own party, the Republican gurus who mocked, assailed, and gleefully and scarily shredded O'Donnell and her "nutty" candidacy.
Now, of course, those same male Republican leaders are crawling to O'Donnell's side, offering her money and support (the national GOP gave her $42,000, the maximum allowable donation for its nominees) and making room for her on the big stage at the highly visible and influential Values Voter Summit this weekend in Washington. And, just to underscore her new star power, she reportedly raised $1.3 million in just 48 hours after her victory Tuesday in the race for GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate over the favored party candidate, Rep. Michael N. Castle.
Sure, Delaware is a small Democrat-leaning state that seems in the bag for the Democratic nominee, Cris Coons. Everyone in the circles of pundits and politicos and know-it-alls on cable are kissing off her candidacy and the chance that Republicans could take control of the U.S. Senate. But O'Donnell, ever sunny in public, seems unfazed, betting that she will upend conventional wisdom inside and outside her party.
O'Donnell, who shows off a manner and attitude more in common with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, than with most of the ladylike and stand-behind-their-men Republican women of the past, shrugs off those who predicted her defeat as "eating humble pie.''
With that head of steam and the hard charge of her female backers – especially Palin, her No. 1 endorser – O'Donnell and other conservative feminists (yes, there are conservative feminists) are giving notice they will take down the men in their own party who launch vicious attacks, personal and otherwise, on one of their female candidates. My colleague Matt Lewis, a Politics Daily columnist, on Friday described this state of affairs (conservative feminists playing the "gender card," he called it) as a new phenomenon. And one he dislikes as not in keeping with conservative tenets.
Well, with all due respect, I beg to differ. I think it's terrific that conservative women are howling loud and clear when they spot instances of sexism in their own party. It's not demagoguery. It's sticking up for what's right. Besides, it gets tiring for liberal feminists to carry the whole load. Defending women against personal attacks in a campaign is hardly demagoguery. Demagoguery is when men and women -- especially men and women in positions of influence – write off female politicians as dumb blondes or brunettes, a la Palin, perky or bouncy, cute but empty-headed, nutty or ignorant.
To be sure, O'Donnell is problematic to say the least. She's got major gaffes and serious gaps in her story line. Critics call her unstable and radical (she once spoke out against masturbation, she is accused of gay bashing) and the media have raised key questions about her background and experience. Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, told Fox News late Tuesday night that "there's just a lot of nutty things she's been saying that just simply don't add up." He called her dishonest and plagued by scandals that make her unelectable in November. And Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, echoed those doubts as well.
So here comes Jeri Thompson, the wife of former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, accusing male leaders in her party of sexism in the case of Christine O'Donnell. (It's worth pointing out that Jeri Thompson herself, a leggy blonde considerably younger, nearly 44 years old now, than her prominent husband, 68 now, was a target of snide remarks about her looks, age and brainpower during her husband's short-lived 2008 presidential campaign.)
"Funny, I don't recall hearing similar talk from the likes of Mssrs. Rove and Cornyn after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Joe Miller in Alaska, or Rand Paul in Kentucky," she wrote in The American Spectator, referring to the fact that Brown, Miller and Paul, who like O'Donnell are Tea Party candidates, did not initially enjoy the support of the Republican establishment. "The difference here," she goes on, "is that once the primary was over, the political elites in Washington stood by their men. Why won't they do it for a woman?"
"While they may not be intending to be sexist,'' she continued, "the message, the attitude and whining sure make many in the GOP look eerily like the elites we are trying to usurp. The sexism issues aside, it's time for the Washington GOP establishment to man up and stop sulking over losing – no, getting walloped – by a woman they continue to insist is unqualified despite the fact that she has a pretty big win under her belt under pretty difficult circumstances."
Capping off her attack on sexism, she said, "Perhaps the reaction to O'Donnell is the result of the Beltway Boys' understanding that the movement that has been taking hold across the country really is out of their control. Or perhaps they really are intimidated by a woman who has already proven that she can do it without them."
If I mind anything, it's that the woman candidate in question is difficult to support, but is that the point? I guess that the point here is that conservative women like Jeri Thompson and Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell and a growing number of others around them and behind them are now forging their own brand of feminism and speaking out like progressive feminists have been doing for so long.
And that is a good thing.

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15 Comments

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Sierra

Personally, I'd rather vote for a female Libertarian/Independent female choice. Some of these comments suggest that gender>values, but I heartily disagree. I'd rather vote for a person who actually supports liberty, rather than narrow-minded old fashioned views. I would not vote for an anti-choice,homophobe, no thanks! Hopefully the quality of female conservative candidates will increase... I'm open to voting for any party that supports individual freedom.

September 20 2010 at 8:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
allysmcole

Interesting article even if the author's tone is incredibly patronizing towards conservatives and conservative women. I rejected feminism as expounded by liberals after college when I realized that it didn't gel with anything I wanted for myself as a woman. Sure, I wanted a career and the ability to make my own paycheck and climb my own career ladder. But, I also wanted marriage and kids without feeling like I had bought into a paternalistic stereotype perpetuated by the historical masculine hegemony. (quoting a college prof, there!) Hooray for the new brand of feminists. Finally, some chicks who can carry the feminist water for all the rest of us women who aren't angry embittered man haters who look at motherhood as a disease.

September 19 2010 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
DebKDas

Speaking of Third Parties, I am a Libertarian, in theory as well as practice, and have been s its collo all my life. I also belong to what is described as an "ethnic minority", for what THAT's worth. It infuriates me to see how the Republican Party, along with the Tea Party Express, is perverting everything I have believed in and worked for, and using MY precepts and beliefs to justify THEIR abject moral cowardice. If the GOP is determined to exercise a collective death wish, so be it-- but please do not do it on MY turf.

September 19 2010 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kent

My question is, where were all the feminists during the 2008 campaign when the vicious and utterly nasty attacks on Sarah Palin were in full force--which, I might add included many prominent feminist? It was obvious, that Palin was not considered the proper model of a feminist candidate. She wears skirts and high heels, she hunts and fishes, she's been a mayor, governmetn committe head and Governor, business woamn, and mother--how much more of a woman and feminist do you want? Oh, yeah, I forgot, ONLY liberals can only be feminists! Sorry, but that just shows the mentality of the progressive sexist women.

September 18 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
JEANNETTE

I am a lifelong repbulican, a women, a pro-choice single mother who objects to the continuing loss of freedom that we Americans must endure in the name of political correctness, global warming and tolerance. It seems to me that ALL the powers that be dont want to listen to the MAJORITY of Americans,which means that we must send them a message that ALL their jobs are expendable. If experience means that you can pass a health bill, a financial bill and stimulus without knowing what is in them or even bothering to read it. When you have Senators who try to sneak in a Amensty bill, by attaching it to a defense bill, in order to decieve the people and take them out of the debate, then I will vote for the people with little to no experience at least they will read the bills, because they will have on the job training. We all dont have to agree on all the issues in order to move forward,just on the major ones. All else can be worked out.

September 18 2010 at 1:57 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JEANNETTE's comment
ellingt5

Excellent post!

September 19 2010 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sannapropp

Conservatives may have their social differences, but if we don't stick together, and take back our government, it won't matter what kind of CONSERVATIVE we are. We'll all be extinct soon if we continue down the path of progressives new world order, with the UN dictating our lives, the IRS re-distributing our wealth, and the teacher's unions indoctrinating our children without our consent, and unions killing capitalism. We will lose our freedom of choice, whether it's pro-life, or pro-choice. The RINO's getting beat by the Tea Party supported candidates, are only showing their true colors; lack of integrity, elite arrogance, and poor losers, by turning coat, denying their support, and aligning themselves with the Democrats. It's rather obvious now that they were never representing us in the first place. They were just giving lip service to their constituents to stay in office. If you can't tell if your candidate is Liberal Leaning or Conservative Lite .....deem them too weak to stand in your stead to represent you. Strategizing and spin got us into this "how do we win" situation, how do we play the game....etc., when just voting with your character and integrity for our sovereignty is first and foremost the issue. It is our sovereignty that allows us our differences.

September 17 2010 at 11:23 PM Report abuse +23 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sannapropp's comment
The Martins

Conservatives, fearful and angry mental plodders, are busying themselves by planning their return to the thirteen hundreds. You guys haven't done one positive thing in history, nary a one. Now, go bash a gay, burn a witch or enslave a brown skinned person in Jesus name. It's all you are good at.

September 18 2010 at 5:17 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
Trish

Right obalula...you'd want her to be further violated by the violence of rape...have to suffer the mental anquish of having killed her own child. You think women are so weak that they have to be lied to and told their child is a blob of tissue because "crisis pregnancy" turns women into children who have to have the ultrasound monitor turned away so they can't see what the child in their womb really looks like and what the abortion procedure really does. Women need to be protected from these things. Ummm...WHOSE living in the 50's??? And who on earth said that your daughter would have to raise the baby. Millions of families are waiting to adopt.

September 17 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
ladygreen4

While I'm glad that women are finally getting into the political arena, I have serious concerns about the women currently running for office. From the speeches that they have given and the interviews, they do not come across as someone I would vote for. Their views are toxic towards their own gender. (what else would you call someone who would force a rape victim to bear the rapist's baby?). Please do not get me that rhetoric that "God has a plan for everything". Additionally, they never answer the tough questions, but sidestep them with smiles and repeating the same old thing (remember the headless bodies in the Arizona desert?). When pushed to answer the question (which we all now know was a lie), Sharon Angle ended the interview and walked away. They say that they will change things. They will shake up the system - baloney! Their views are way too narrow. They will set the women's movement back. If they win, women will be forced back to being second class citizens, with no rights but what their husbands or families deem appropriate, making far less than their male counterparts. Please America, wake up! We do not need to move backwards. We need to keep making progress toward a society that values all of it's members and allows each of each to choose for ourselves what is best for us without having someone else vote on whether or not we get to exercise those rights.

September 17 2010 at 11:16 PM Report abuse -23 rate up rate down Reply
Allan

I like her and believe she will win handily in November!

September 17 2010 at 11:08 PM Report abuse +32 rate up rate down Reply
wmhv5

Funny, how the media didn't question the LACK of experience of Obama!

September 17 2010 at 11:04 PM Report abuse +40 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to wmhv5's comment

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