Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"A woman voting for the GOP is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders!"

And how.

Republican women: A minority in a minority, by Erika Lovley, Politico via Yahoo! News.

Women make up almost 51 percent of the U.S. population but less than 10 percent of the House and Senate GOP — a gender disconnect that could make the Republicans’ climb back to power even steeper than it would be otherwise.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) notices that she’s part of a shrinking minority every time she heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

Republican women in the House say they feel the problem — literally — when their male colleagues nudge them to the front of GOP press conferences to break up the solid lines of middle-aged white men in neckties.

Indeed, Rep. Kay Granger — the first and only Republican woman to represent Texas in the House — says Republican women have to work to make sure they’re even represented at public events in the first place. "We pass the word to make sure we're there at this ceremony or that photo-op, because there are fewer of us and we're spread more thinly," Granger said. "We're working in a very successful manner, and we want to make sure that’s shown."

I would like to be in a photo-op!

While Palin provided a high-profile role model for Republican women thinking of running for office, her experience was a double-edged sword. Lawmakers say the rough treatment Palin received showcased the nastiness of modern campaigns and underscored the notion that women are susceptible to the charge that they’ve been picked to run because they’re a good demographic fit — and not because they’re the most qualified.

Yes, the rough treatment that Sarah Palin received during the 2008 Presidential campaign. No one else received rough treatment. No one else at all.

But the pool is shallow. State legislatures, which often serve as feeders for Congress, are also seeing fewer Republican women step up to the plate. Meanwhile, Democratic training outlets such EMILY’s List have been well-organized and highly successful at recruiting, while Republican womens' groups, such as the National Federation of Republican Women and the Wish List, say they are bracing for another tough election cycle.

. . . "If you believe that a more centrist position for the Republican Party would bring about more success and bring more voters back, then women would help make that happen," [said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics]. "Women bring a voice of moderation that could pull them back to the party."

The Republican Party should focus on bringing in moderate people, not simply matching the Democratic Party by getting more women, or by putting a white lady and a black guy in high-profile leadership positions.


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