Feminist icon

The scuttle butt about passing HCR is focusing more on the House than on the Senate this week. My take is that if Nancy Pelosi wants it passed, it passes. She’s a powerful speaker, maybe not quite the LBJ of the House, but certainly a lot stronger than any Congressional leaders of recent memory (admittedly, Frist, Reid, and Hastert don’t set the bar too high).

One thing I don’t understand is why Pelosi isn’t seen as more of a feminist icon. In 2008, we were treated to months of discussion about Hillary Clinton breaking or failing to break the glass ceiling, how coverage of Hillary was sexist, how this was womankind’s shining moment or worst disaster, and so on. Why isn’t there more discussion of Pelosi in this context? Not only is Nancy Pelosi one of the most powerful people in American politics (I’d put her second, after Obama), she got there the old-fashioned way by winning elections and knee-capping people who crossed her. We’ve never heard anything about her marriage or about how she generated sympathy by crying before a primary.

People in the House are genuinely afraid of Pelosi, to continue along with the whole fear discussion. I know Congressional staffers and they speak her name in whispers (what higher praise can there be?).

Isn’t it kind of big deal that the more powerful legislator of our generation is a woman?

Update. Numbskull writes:

Basically you answered your own question. The ‘feminist icon’ storyline has been minimal. Pelosi is powerful. Ergo, Pelosi quashed the feminist narrative.

I agree, but I’d like to know why having such a powerful female speaker doesn’t also quash narratives like “Palin will appeal to Hillary supporters”.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

136 replies
  1. 1

    Well, Nancy isn’t a national candidate for one.

    I do think she deserves more “feminist” cred than is given.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    Isn’t it kind of big deal that the more powerful legislator of our generation is a woman?

    They made a big deal of it when she first became Speaker. But then the discussion about that kind of died down. I remember seeing photos of her family through the years and her grandkids.

    I think it’s a far bigger deal that they aren’t making a big deal of it. That speaks to her power. She doesn’t want it to be a big deal – no one makes it a big deal. That’s power.

  3. 3
    zmulls says:

    Not only that, but the line of succession has had two high-ranking women for some time.

    VP (Cheney then Biden)
    Speaker (Pelosi)
    Pres Pro Tem (Robert Byrd)
    S of State (Rice, then Clinton)

    Maybe it’s just as well we’re hearing as much about Pelosi’s family as we do Reid’s or McConnell’s.

  4. 4
    celticdragonchick says:

    Isn’t it kind of big deal that the more powerful legislator of our generation is a woman?

    Good. About frakking time.

    When do I get to vote for Laura Roslin for President?

  5. 5
    numbskull says:

    Violet beat me to it, Doug. Basically you answered your own question. The ‘feminist icon’ storyline has been minimal. Pelosi is powerful. Ergo, Pelosi quashed the feminist narrative.

    Maybe she wants to get things done rather than letting various narratives suck the air out of the room.

  6. 6
    Rathskeller says:

    No, no, no. I love that it’s just not a big deal. There are so many battles, it’s nice to notice when some aren’t, anymore. Pelosi has real power — eh. DADT is going away — eh.

    This is in contrast to the weekend Sunday shows, where Krugman was the only one to point out that they could have been talking about 20 million unemployed Americans, instead of what they did talk about, which was 3 out of 4 “stories” that just happened to concern high profile African-Americans — Gov. Paterson, Rep. Rangel, and prominent Washington bulls-eye Desiree Rogers.

  7. 7
    ellaesther says:

    I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about how important anyone who is not the President or Vice President (or running for same) is and can be in our national politics.

    Indeed, the Vice President is potentially the least powerful person around (Cheney obviously being an exception…. And, come to that Biden, who, while no Cheney, clearly has real pull in the Administration), but very few plain-folks people really seem to realize that.

  8. 8
    Anya says:

    My guess is some of the women who worship at Hillary Clinton’s alter love her mainly because they loved her husband. It’s sort a vicariously getting closer to Bill through Hillary. That is why some of the people who worship Hillary cannot see any other woman but her as president. But maybe I am talking about the PUMA faction.

  9. 9
    frankdawg says:

    Let me get this straight. You feel Pelosi is tougher that Hastert, Boner et. al.?

    These are the guys that made LBJ look like a wimp. They threatened Congressman’s children (seriously) to get the votes needed for Medicare Part D.

    Plus they had the DC press to beat dissenting Rs a ‘courtesy’ Nac isn’t going to get.

  10. 10
    Mark S. says:

    My take is that if Nancy Pelosi wants it passed, it passes.

    I don’t know about that. Why don’t we just bombard her office with calls and leave all the other House members alone?

    It is surprising that Pelosi doesn’t get more attention, given that she is the first woman Speaker.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    @frankdawg:

    You feel Pelosi is tougher that Hastert, Boner et. al.?

    Yes, I do. And when people say “but they held votes open for days”, I say “a powerful speaker doesn’t have to do that.”

  12. 12
    Cathie from Canada says:

    Yes, it is a big deal.
    But like Obama’s election “proved” that America isn’t racist anymore and therefore the media don’t think that opposition to him is based on racism, so Pelosi’s achievement “proved” that America isn’t sexist anymore and therefore opposition to her must not be based on sexism.
    Nope, in both cases all the opposition to them is really their own fault — if they weren’t both such partisan, bitchy, uppity, divisive, cold, ball-busting, wimpy, socialist, fascist, hitler-loving, terrorist sympathizers who hate America, why, everybody would just love them.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    Doug J,

    I have come to adore Pelosi, qua powerful woman, first woman speaker, role model–whatever you want to call it. The proof is in the pudding and she’s demonstrated that she is everything we could want in a Speaker as well as being an historic first. But here’s the thing–the notion of a “feminist icon” –that is, something celebrated by feminists, or by women generally, seems to me to be misplaced. Its not feminists who were all excited by Clinton breaking the glass ceiling and making such a strong run for the presidency, it was everybody–because it was a big, national, position that people felt they had the right (as they did) to weigh in on. Clinton’s ascenscion, like Obama’s ascension, was seen as having something to do with the general zeitgeist of the country as a whole. Even people who voted against Clinton because she was a democrat saw her rise as a sign of changing times.

    Pelosi’s rise is much more backroom–its a big deal that she was elected and that she is as good as she is but it doesn’t reflect massive societal change everywhere, but in a small chamber of a few hundred people.

    In addition I guess I want to argue that Pelosi is absolutely a feminist icon in the sense that to anti feminist *iconoclasts* she has a hugely high profile. But her iconic image is a bit muddled by other hated attributes (san francisco, gay people (aieee), liberals, tax n spend etc…) and undermined by the whole “catholic grandma” thing. When you look at the way the right wing has tried to use her as a lightening rod, tried to demonize her, its been a combination of tropes and images that are generically anti democratic politician (she’s a fundraiser, a liberal, hangs out with gays, uses the public purse etc..) and the attacks on her as a woman have been things like “she uses botox (is vain/old/ugly)”

    aimai

  14. 14
    neill says:

    (in my best crazed nicholson voice) This country isn’t intelligent enough for a feminist icon in politics as powerful as Pelosi.

    But she gets the haters… that sez sumptin’

    Also, regarding the male losers of recent memory as congressional leaders, dont fergit that South Dakota wonder, Unca Tom Daschele. (nausea ensues…)

  15. 15
    Tom Hilton says:

    After she was first elected, there was a billboard up in San Francisco with her picture and the message “Congratulations, Madame Speaker”. Every time I saw it I choked up a little.

    But it’s also true that the fact that it isn’t a big deal anymore is a sign of progress.

  16. 16
    Johnny B says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I am at a loss why there hasn’t been more focus on Pelosi as a feminist hero. The day of the 2007 State of the Union, I rushed home so I could hear, for the first time, “Madame Speaker, the President of the United States.” Great day for Democrats, feminists, and progressives.

    I suspect that some of her luster was lost in feminist circles when she didn’t back Clinton for President. I know some who still hold a grudge against her for that. I thought her willingness to chart her own path regarding the election was one of her best traits. It showed how independent she was.

    I also think, for some reason, her political charms do not transfer well on television. Having had the opportunity to see her in a public forum taking questions, some of which were hostile, I found her thoughtful, funny, and engaging. She deserves our praise, as she is probably one of the few reasons that health care reform still has a chance.

  17. 17
    Surreal American says:

    Isn’t it kind of big deal that the more powerful legislator of our generation is a woman?

    No starburst potential, at least according to Rich Lowry.

    Next question.

  18. 18
    Glidwrith says:

    I do remember the right making a huge Wurlitzer over it when she first became House speaker with all the intimations she couldn’t possibly lead without the men under her (so to speak) propping her up. Rather O/T, I posted a “story” to the odious Meg Whitman campaign with how bad a candidate she is and the first comment was “You sound like Nancy Pelosi”. I think that’s quite a compliment!

  19. 19
    Chris Russell says:

    Oh ho! I spy a Richard Thompson fan.

  20. 20
    Warren Terra says:

    @frankdawg:

    Let me get this straight. You feel Pelosi is tougher that Hastert, Boner et. al.?

    Oh, absolutely. Hastert was very weak, and Boehner’s never been anything. The Republican party powerfully enforced party unity in Congress, especially in the House, but it would be hard to say that their official leaders were important players of beneficiaries in this process; instead, it was their electoral gurus (Rove, et al) and especially their ideological/corporate enforcers: Tom DeLay and Dick Armey. And depiste having left Congress, Dick Armey’s still playing that role, perhaps more powerfully than ever, as the string-puller behind the Tea Partiers.

    These are the guys that made LBJ look like a wimp. They threatened Congressman’s children (seriously) to get the votes needed for Medicare Part D.

    They threatened one Congressman’s child with a primary challenge and loss of contributions. A Bloody horse’s head it wasn’t. I don’t know how far LBJ went in his threats, but I can assure you that they definitely extended to using the party nomination porcess and especially leveraging his control of political funding; indeed, his ability to deliver campaign funds was (along with the patronage of Sam Rayburn over in the House) one of his main tools for achieving power as a Senator.

    Plus they had the DC press to beat dissenting Rs a ‘courtesy’ Nac isn’t going to get.

    I haven’t the faintest what this sentence is meant to convey.

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    (admittedly, Frist, Reid, and Hastert don’t set the bar too high)

    Gingrich and DeLay kinda set the bar between ’94 and ’05, with their patented method of throwing around a bunch of money and then dragging the hold outs out back while carrying baseball bats.

    I’d love to see the various styles of Speaker / Majority Leader, though. Pelosi doesn’t strike me as the mafia type, but she corrals the votes as good as any Republican ever has.

  22. 22
    EconWatcher says:

    She’s a tad liberal for my taste (I’m a little to the right of most people here), but I have to stand in awe. She breaks every mold. Her talent for herding cats in Congress seems unparalleled. She had five kids (count ’em, five) while pursuing one of the most successful careers of any living politician in America. [Her dad was a big politico in Baltimore, but how much could that have helped her climb in Northern California? All politics is local–she must have done it on her own steam.] Plus, she’s managed to stay with the same spouse for a lifetime, unlike most of her “family values” opponents.

    She must be a fascinating person. None of the profiles I’ve read have gotten very deep, though. Would like to learn more about what makes her tick.

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    Don’t forget, Pelosi herself isn’t running away from being identified as a woman and embracing the significance of it. She wrote that book, Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters. I think she recognizes she’s somewhat groundbreaking, but just doesn’t want to dwell on that and make it a huge issue.

    Also, her dad was a Congressman. So while she did the hard work herself, she didn’t come to the whole elected official role completely green.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Shinobi says:

    I think while Pelosi doesn’t often get a lot of negative attention from a media point of view I do often hear really negative things about her from individual conservatives. They often will individually use very nasty names for her and talk about how she’s crazy and all this other stuff. I’ve heard a lot of sexist vitriol directed at her from random jackholes.

  26. 26
    Kristine says:

    I don’t believe she receives the credit she deserves because most folks don’t understand the duties of a Speaker. President, they get. A Speaker is much more behind the scenes.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    Well, I don’t know about how men or the dimwits who make up the msm look at Speaker Pelosi, but speaking as a real, live, actual feminist, the person in the American public eye who embodies what it means to be a feminist IS Nancy Pelosi. Hilary Clinton was never an icon of feminism to me and any feminist who took her to be one is either demented, blind, and/or insane.

    Gimme Pelosi any day. And, honestly Doug, does it not occur to you that it’s possible that Pelosi isn’t held up as a feminist icon (and HRC is) by the msm or those who presume to make those judgments for all us in the great unwashed is precisely because she is exactly what a feminist icon should be and that Clinton really is not? Who do you think they’d all prefer us to be, Hilary (the wronged, harridan wife getting by on nepotism or Nancy who cares not a whit about what anyone says and has no problem bringing down the hammer?

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    I agree, but I’d like to know why having such a powerful female speaker doesn’t also quash narratives like “Palin will appeal to Hillary supporters”.

    Because the press is stupid. McCain probably fell for that crap and then his press folks put it out there behind the scenes. Instead of the press doing their jobs and looking into actual demographics and appeal, etc., they just repeated what they were told.

    It is not a surprise that stupid, wrong narratives can take hold and develop lives of their owns. Death panels, anyone?

  29. 29
    jacy says:

    I think the point of “breaking the glass ceiling” is that nobody has to natter on about what a “feminist icon” you are.

    Therefore a real “feminist icon” would never be referred to as such, but would be treated just like one of the “boys.”

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    @geg6:

    Good points.

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    because people who don’t follow politics don’t know fuckall about what a “Speaker Of The House” is, and so they don’t know who Pelosi is, or what she does.

    plus, she doesn’t really seem to be out to present herself as any kind of symbol of anything. she’s a worker, not a flag waver.

  32. 32
    Mark S. says:

    @Shinobi:

    I think while Pelosi doesn’t often get a lot of negative attention from a media point of view I do often hear really negative things about her from individual conservatives.

    I’ve noticed on talk radio the mere mention of her name is supposed to send the listener into fits of rage, in a way that doesn’t work very well for non-dittoheads.

  33. 33
    Maude says:

    She has done a magnificent job in managing the House.
    The last thing Nancy Pelosis needs is to be touted as a feminist icon. She is a person who worked her way up to that position. It’s hard for me to articulate this, but the minute she is seen first as a woman, the weaker sex meme comes into play.
    I do hope in the future, some writes a biography of her.

  34. 34
    Alex S. says:

    Funny, I also have this “most powerful people”-list in my head and Pelosi is at nr.2 there, too (3rd place: Anthony Kennedy).
    I remember that at one time in 2009, Pelosi had a neutral favorability rating which was, considering the general disdain for Congress, pretty extraordinary. There was a piece at Politico that cited some republican strategists who said that building the 2010 campaign around attacks against Nancy Pelosi might not work because she is a roman-catholic grandmother. I agree that there is some feminist potential that has been unused. On other hand, maybe the real victory is not needing to declare victory anymore. So I find Numbskull’s argument pretty good.
    Feminism was probably the most successful revolution of the sixties. And it seems that social movements succeed by silent victories. The election of Pelosi instead of the persona of Hillary Clinton. The unexpected breakthrough of gay marriage in Iowa, not the Prop 8 stuff. And even stuff like Michael Jackson’s hold on pop culture in the 80’s without being “overtly” black (which probably had a bigger effect for racial equality than his more explicit contemporaries Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson).
    I’d say that social movements succeed by sneaking their agenda into the conventional wisdom.

  35. 35
    Punchy says:

    “feminist icon” sounds like something librul Microsoft will put on their next Windows desktop.

  36. 36
    Frank Chow says:

    It is because she is a progressive and uses botox. Gosh you this post is so out of the loop.

    Now the real questions in DC are…what is Desiree Rogers stepping down mean for feminists everywhere? And if Michelle Obama shows her arms one more time, is she demeaning woman with cellulite?

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    @Chris Russell:
    Man, do I love Richard Thompson. Saw him in person a few years ago – just him and his guitar. Was one of the very best performances I’ve ever seen. It sounded like he had six or eight people up there with him. He was absolutely riveting.

  38. 38
    Face says:

    Not sure you can put the words “Pelosi runs the House”, or some such domesticated bullshit, along side the words “feminist”. Of course, my wife runs the house, too.

  39. 39
    geg6 says:

    @Frank Chow:

    And if Michelle Obama shows her arms one more time, is she demeaning woman with cellulite?

    Well, yes. But that’s not her fault.

    ETA: And I say this as an over-50 woman who has cellulite in places no woman under 40 can even begin to imagine.

  40. 40
    someguy says:

    I dunno. Lindsey Graham’s a pretty powerful woman legislator, if you ask me.

  41. 41
    shaun says:

    Maude (#33) nailed it.

    All things considered (and that is a lot in Washington these days) Pelosi is doing a bang-up job, but do we need to add the “feminist icon” appellation to her resume because that somehow makes her more whole?

    Meanwhile, any time people want to stop calling Hillary Clinton a feminist icon is fine with me. Memories being short, we need to be reminded that she ran an extraordinarily un-feminist presidential campaign that alienated practically everyone except her most sycophantic female followers and blue-collar bubbas.

    Do feminists look the other way while their husbands piss all over their wedding vows? Do feminists resort to Rovian slash-and-burn tactics? Do feminists alienate other minorities such as blacks? I kind of think not, but then the definition of who is a feminist has been blurred beyond recognition so it probably doesn’t matter.

  42. 42
    woody45 says:

    I think it’s a far bigger deal that they aren’t making a big deal of it. That speaks to her power. She doesn’t want it to be a big deal – no one makes it a big deal. That’s power.

    That’s it.

    [Her dad was a big politico in Baltimore, but how much could that have helped her climb in Northern California? All politics is local—she must have done it on her own steam.]

    No doubt but Nancy got her education on Albermarle Street in Little Italy from one of the best. Tommy D’Alesandro knew a thing or two about building winning coalitions and holding them together.

  43. 43
    geg6 says:

    @shaun:

    Sounds like you and I have similar ideas on what constitutes feminism. You ideas are intriguing and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. ;-)

  44. 44
    Alex S. says:

    @Face:

    Hehe! Actually, she could redefine the House as her own household and say stuff like “We’ve got to do some housework”, “This is just housekeeping” etc…. Maybe it subdues the Republicans by oedipal complexes.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    My BIL informs me, “Nancy Pelosi wants to take away my big-screen TV” so I don’t know that he or his fillow travelers are terribly concerned about her her ranking amongst the pantheon of female-type politicians. With some urging I suspect I could get him to opine she’s no Sarah, for dang sure. Not Thatcher neither.

    It is yet another triumph of the right wing, media-dominating noise machine that Nancy Pelosi is axiomatically evil and Must Be Stopped. Opinions formed in a vacuum are spun of the finest angel hair and it means tens of millions of Pelosi haters cannot recite one fact about her. It’s better that way.

    p.s. Feminist icon Meg Whitman sez Nancy BAD.

    http://www.sacbee.com/static/w.....n-unl.html

  46. 46
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    Pelosi does drive conservatives into spitting fits. I attribute it mostly to her effectiveness.

  47. 47
    nogo postal says:

    More “You can’t make this shit up” from today over at Politico

    article headline?
    Pelosi’s brutal reality check

    (how brutal?)

    The Johnny Bros who wrote it pointed out this..
    “The “bullet in the head” factor:”

    Will Nancy execute any Dem voting “No” ?
    or is this just another feeble threat?

  48. 48
    jl says:

    IMHO, the corporate big media are too retarded and 50s retro to address the feminist milestone issue in a mature and intelligent way.

    The media national affairs news stars have attempted to deal with the feminist milestone issue in a silly way, or read GOP talking points (ie, campaign ploys) that are disguised as ‘analysis’.

    Remember how the House was going to be stalled by them cougar petty personal ‘catfights’, involving Pelosi? Then there were attempts to derogatorily ‘feminize’ Pelosi with the lame fashion insults and snark, but she looks much classier than H Clinton (sorry, but true), so that didn’t stick.

    Maybe those attempts were drowned out by the obligatory ‘SF liberal maniac’ schtick, but I think they were there.

    On the other hand, it might only be a milestone for a retro country like the US. Look at some countries in Europe. I think even Japan has had a woman prime minister (but I am not sure and have no time to check).

  49. 49
    Ash Can says:

    @ellaesther:
    @Kristine:
    @cleek:

    I think you three nail it. The position of POTUS is such a high-profile office that it’s considered a huge watershed by feminists everywhere. The flip side of this is that positions that are less prominent but still very powerful tend to fly under more people’s radar. In Pelosi’s case, of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, since there are no extraneous circuses to distract and impede her. (Her fellow congresscritters are impediment enough.)

  50. 50
    DougJ says:

    @shaun:

    Do feminists resort to Rovian slash-and-burn tactics?

    I don’t see why they shouldn’t. That seems separate from feminism to me.

    I hated Hillary’s campaign by the end, but I don’t see how all the shitty stuff she did makes her less of a feminist.

  51. 51
    shaun says:

    geg6:

    Just Google “Kiko’s House,” altho I should warn you that I write very little about feminism because (1.) I want to keep my testicles, and (2.) The term has pretty much lost all meaning for someone for whom 1968 was a transformative year.

  52. 52
    geg6 says:

    @DougJ:

    Well, for one, I don’t know any feminists who use racist tropes of any kind. We are all much too thankful for how the civil rights movement blazed the trail for us that I simply was astounded at how casually and easily her campaign fell into that. Because you just don’t go there if you are a feminist who understands your history.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    One thing I don’t understand is why Pelosi isn’t seen as more of a feminist icon. In 2008, we were treated to months of discussion about Hillary Clinton breaking or failing to break the glass ceiling, how coverage of Hillary was sexist, how this was womankind’s shining moment or worst disaster, and so on.

    Hillary Clinton is the Mostest Woman Ever and, until Obama came along (not to mention Sarah Palin), everyone knew that she was slated to be the first woman president of the United States. Also, had Obama selected a woman to be his running mate who was not Hillary, he might have fractured the party.

    Secretary of State Clinton’s supporters saw her as special, co-president and heir presumptive. Some looked forward to the twin stars returning, this time with Hillary as president and Bill as co-ruler, even though they had to abandon the Constitution and common sense to indulge this fantasy.

    Odder still, even though Hillary is pushed forward as a feminist icon, she equally satisfies a romance novel fantasy as a woman who is in part validated because she is married to a powerful man and is obviously (supposedly) a power behind the throne who is partly responsible for his success.

    Pelosi’s rise is still in Clinton’s shadow.

  54. 54
    SapphireCate says:

    Echidne loves her some Nancy

    [ETA: ok so it was one of the poster’s at the goddess’ place. apologies and libations]

  55. 55
    shaun says:

    geg6:

    Like I said, memories are short. Clinton did a lot of stupid things, but alienating a goodly number of black voters who had not yet gone over into Obama’s column through surrogates in the run-up to the South Carolina primary is near or at the top of the list. South Carolina “made” Obama; in retrospect it “broke” Clinton.

  56. 56
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    I love Pelosi.

    The one time I met her, she was amazingly patient and civil. She was at a town hall in San Francisco on environmental pollutants (as endocrine disruptors), which brought out every weirdo hypochrondriac in the city. She listened patiently to their long-winded complaints, wheras I’d have grabbed the nearest fireax and started bashing heads.

    I was there because it was the time before we entered Kosovo, and I felt there was an imperative to step in. As there was a lot of reflex anti-war sentiment in SF, I wanted to give the pro-intervention side. She listened to me respectfully, and gave me more time than I expected. She’s also smart as a whip: was in command of all the information on the topic.

    I like the fact she’s low-key, and is focused on getting shit done rather than camera-hogging.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that she gets elected by 80%+, I’d happily donate to her campaign. So I give my money to Jerry McNerney in the central valley instead.

  57. 57
    ruemara says:

    Dougj, because men don’t get women. SATSQ. There are some that will suck up to the lead cheerleader because she’s pretty and popular and some that could care less about her because we’re older than 15. Ergo, Palin couldn’t carry Hillary’s shoes and isn’t fit to dust Pelosi’s whip.

  58. 58
    Maude says:

    @geg6: Thanks for what you wrote. I’m always a bit nervous about writing anything about Hillary Clinton, but here goes.
    As First Lady, she was in charge of a massive health care reform failure. She played Queen For a Day after the Monica mess. She used that pity for her etc. to help get her into the Senate. Without Bill Clinton, she would have been able to do the Senate run.
    When she cried in NH, words fail me.
    She is narsisstic. If people look up the full definition, it is plain to see.
    Oh, and I see your celulite and raise you mine.

  59. 59
    GVG says:

    I’ve always hated those announcements of the “first” women or black or whatever this or that. After the first few, it came to seem fakey. It also seems like a lazy cop out by the media. I’d prefer Peloisi be treated as normal. I do think we are getting there although a lot of the conservatives are reacting with irrational bile which resembles the demonization of Hillary that happened in the early 90’s. However I notice this thread is being very flattering about what a great speaker she is. I think that is a little premature. She hasn’t yet accomplished any of the admittedly hard things that we need at this point. I can see that the speakers job is hard, still, I’m not yet impressed and have complained about her quite a bit. To me equality means holding her to the same standards as anyone else. So far she hasn’t delivered health care reform. We’re closer than anyone in my lifetime but there are no prizes for close.
    There will be other tests too later on. I have no interest in making a fuss over “the first woman speaker”. I’d rather just have the substance. I also think that is what will really cement equal opportunity is getting stuff done. Later on people won’t even remember to take gender into account.

  60. 60
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I don’t understand is why Pelosi isn’t seen as more of a feminist icon.

    Think of it this way; who rivals Hillary as the female most vilified by the right in America? When they want to get their misogynist based riled up about something what female’s face do they put in the attack ad? There’s your feminist icon.

  61. 61
    jl says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): Thanks. I forgot to add that true observation to my comment!

  62. 62
    Jeremy says:

    Maybe it’s because not enough people know who she is or what she does. The only people who follow her are political junkies.

    She’s powerful, but so are a lot of people who don’t make national headlines on a daily basis like Hillary Clinton did for a while. Power does not equal fame. Maybe Pelosi just isn’t famous enough.

  63. 63
    Brian J says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Isn’t that also a positive thing, though? It’s not a stretch to see a lot of politicians as some of the most vain, self absorbed people around, yet I don’t know if anyone could describe Pelosi that way with a straight face. She seems to concerned mostly with fulfilling her role in Congress, which is exactly right.

  64. 64
    BC says:

    I think we just got used to a woman being Speaker, just as we have gotten used to a black man being president. Remember, she was elected Speaker in 2007, a lifetime ago in our world where everything that happened prior to 2008 is ancient history. Both of these are good for us as there will never again be a debate as to whether a woman can wield power in the House or whether a black person can be trusted to be president. I live in Montana and can tell you that for a lot of the women here, Nancy Pelosi is absolutely a role model. Not for Democrats only, but for women, regardless of party affiliation. Look at her history: moved up through the ranks, did not get anything that wasn’t earned. I always had a soft spot for John Murtha, despite any ethical problems he may have had, because he was such a staunch supporter of la Pelosi. I also like that her husband has become the “wife” that all powerful people need in their lives to take care of the mundane chores, even to the extent that he chooses and buys her clothes.

  65. 65
    debbie says:

    Pelosi’s in nobody’s shadow. She’s just been chewed up too much as a symbol of the dreaded San Francisco liberal. It’s a sign of the right’s inability to discuss actual issues that she’s constantly being slammed for her alleged plastic surgery/botoxing. She’s a real survivor. And she hasn’t had to weep on camera.

  66. 66
    geg6 says:

    @Maude:

    You’re welcome. Don’t be nervous to tell the truth about Hilary. I mean, I don’t hate her and, often, admire her. But the idea that she is some kind of feminist icon is ridiculous and completely refuted by anyone who takes a look at her life. She’s certainly an example of a certain kind of woman, especially of her particular age group. But a feminist icon? Not even a little bit. Her accomplishments so far in life (those tied to her own ability and effort alone) are completely overshadowed by those of Pelosi. The crying in NH and the chest pounding over whether or not she got shot at were the giveaway that she is not a real feminist to anyone who wasn’t paying attention up until then. And then when she and her campaign started with the racist dog whistles, well…

  67. 67
    onceler says:

    Huh? the Palin supporters = Hillary supporters meme was pretty well crushed by the 2008 election…I have heard nothing of it since.

  68. 68
    Nicole says:

    @shaun:

    Do feminists look the other way while their husbands piss all over their wedding vows? Do feminists resort to Rovian slash-and-burn tactics? Do feminists alienate other minorities such as blacks? I kind of think not, but then the definition of who is a feminist has been blurred beyond recognition so it probably doesn’t matter.

    By those standards, Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Cady Stanton weren’t feminists, either.

  69. 69
    Brian J says:

    @Frank Chow:

    Cellulite? Michelle Obama is nearing 50 with the body of a 30-35-year-old.

  70. 70
    Brian J says:

    @debbie:

    It’s also a sign of the inanity of their attacks that nobody who isn’t already sympathetic to what they are saying that conservatives have been largely unsuccessful at turning her into The World’s Biggest Bitch, a la Hillary Clinton in the 1990s. Perhaps this is because Pelosi has a relatively lower profile than Clinton had, but whatever the case, they wish to demonize her, yet it doesn’t really work.

  71. 71
    shaun says:

    nicole:

    Are the women who were super pissed off that Clinton did not get the nomination and vowed to vote for McCain feminists?

    We could go on and on and it would be the death of this comments thread.

    This is what I wrote then and it’s even truer in retrospect:

    http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com.....drome.html

  72. 72
    geg6 says:

    @Nicole:

    So your claim is that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Eleanor Roosevelt used their husbands’ infidelities as their springboard to political relevance, as Hilary did? You know, by playing martyr and trying to get other women to support them because, hell, we all have been done wrong by our men?

    Hmmmm, that’s not what my history books say about those women.

  73. 73
    numbskull says:

    @Brian J: Next wingnut meme:

    “Michelle is a body snatcher!”

    Subtext: “She has the body of a 30-35-year-old. Whose is it and why won’t she give it back!!”

    Sub-subtext: “Snopes approved!!”

  74. 74
    goblue72 says:

    Because she didn’t get where she did by being the hard-driving Radcliffe/Yalie super-nerd like Hillary, being smarter than all the boys in her high school, getting profiled in national magazines for your valedictory speech, etc.

    She’s too old school for the tastes of boomer yuppies. Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro didn’t go to Harvard or Yale (or Brown or Smith or Wellesley…). She went to a nice Catholic high school and then to a nice small Catholic women’s college. She got married, moved to SF, and raised her kids.

    And in her spare time, as the daughter of a Baltimore machine politician, she volunteered for the drugery of all drugeries – working on local Democratic ward commitees, organizing house party fundraisers and crawling her slow way up the local Democratic machine ladder. Which included becoming friends with the powerful Congressman Phil Burton, the Don Corleone of Northern California politics – and more importantly, friends with Phil’s wife Sala, who suceeded to Phil’s House seat when Phil keeled over with an aneurysm. Then, after her kids were all out of the house, and with Sala’s official blessing, Nancy ran for Phil’s old seat after Sala passed away shortly thereafter.

    Nancy’s the product of the machine. Its how she learned politics at her daddy’s knee keeping track of precinct and ward captains, and its how she wiggled her way into a House seat.

    Personally, I think its fantastic – I like my politicians with a little bit of the stink of backroom cigar smoke on them. (Not that Nancy would get stink up her Armani pantsuits by getting near any lit cigars, mind you) Means they know how to find a guy’s balls and squeeze them till he squeals. But her kind of resume doesn’t exactly speak to the subset of college-educated boomer women who see a bit of themselves in Hillary.

    And can we all stop referring to Hillary as a harridan. Its sexist and unecessary. Besides, if I was Hillary – studied and worked my brains out in a man’s world just to get stuck with a sad sack of a husband who would up getting his pecker slurped by some overweight nobody intern and then having it broadcast on the evening news – I’d be a little peeved too.

  75. 75
    Susie says:

    Who do you think they’d all prefer us to be, Hilary (the wronged, harridan wife getting by on nepotism or Nancy who cares not a whit about what anyone says and has no problem bringing down the hammer?

    Pelosi comes of a political family and is a rich woman. There is no question that she is the most effective Democratic speaker since Jim Wright but she ascended to the top with considerable advantages. As to why Pelosi doesn’t have a higher national profile or “iconic” status, as other posters have observed the Speaker of the House, male or female, is a relatively obscure figure compared to major national candidates for the presidency.

    The feminists I know think highly of both Pelosi and H. Clinton as strong, accomplished women who have broken new ground and don’t play one against the other. (It seems clear you hang out with a different group of feminists, though. In my experience feminists don’t employ terms like “harridan” without irony.)

    I lived in San Francisco when Pelosi was first running for Congress and I voted for her Democratic opponent, Harry Britt. Liberals didn’t think much of Pelosi at the time. She’s changed my mind about her since and I think she’s done a fine job as Speaker. She did sterling work in the last Administration blocking Bush’s plans for Social Security.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6:

    She’s certainly an example of a certain kind of woman, especially of her particular age group. But a feminist icon? Not even a little bit.

    I would be very interested to hear more about what this means.

  77. 77
    geg6 says:

    @goblue72:

    FTR, when I used the word “harridan,” it was in the “voice” of those who like to characterize her in the MSM. I still think working your way within the machine through your own hard work and moxy is a better feminist example to other women. But Hilary was never a harridan. Personally, I would have liked and respected her more had she acted more the harridan than the passive aggressive abused wife.

  78. 78
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Alex S.:

    And it seems that social movements succeed by silent victories.

    I think there is an interesting relationship between cultural changes which tend to be slow and rather invisible except in retrospect, but which are difficult to resist over the long run, and the overlying political system which goes through a sort of punctutated equilibrium and which is more open to being temporarily redirected to fit the agenda of whoever is lucky enough to be Jane or Johnnie on the spot when things suddenly go *snap*. The former are like the slow movement of tectonic plates and the latter are the earthquakes which result. Pelosi and Obama each rising to the top of their branches of govt reflect deep seated changes in our society, but there have also been some small political earthquakes along the way.

    Next up: SCOTUS, which is long overdue for a demographic makeover.

  79. 79
    Ash Can says:

    In the interest of keeping things simple here,

    Feminism

    Main Entry: fem·i·nism
    Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1895
    1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
    2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

    — fem·i·nist \-nist\ noun or adjective

    — fem·i·nis·tic \ˌfe-mə-ˈnis-tik\ adjective

    (From Merriam-Webster Online)

    That’s feminism. Everything else is incidental or supplemental.

  80. 80
    Phoebe says:

    I’m going to get her book for my stepdaughter, after I read it first. I liked what I saw in the Amazon “Surprise Me!” excerpt.

  81. 81
    shaun says:

    ThatLeftTurnInABQ (#75):

    Truer words were never spoken.

  82. 82
    geg6 says:

    @Ash Can:

    That’s all well and good. However, the subject is feminist icons, not feminism. Not the same thing.

  83. 83
    Jack says:

    I think you must be forgetting all the way back to 2006 — it was a pretty big deal that she was the first female speaker back then. I think she definitely got credit for being a feminist icon. Now she has a job to do and that is what is news.

  84. 84
    Tax Analyst says:

    @DougJ:

    @frankdawg:

    You feel Pelosi is tougher that Hastert, Boner et. al.?

    Yes, I do. And when people say “but they held votes open for days”, I say “a powerful speaker doesn’t have to do that.”

    I think the point is that Pelosi is a more effective speaker, especially since she is dealing with Democrats, a group with much more diverse political situations than the GOP.

    I’ve was quite impressed with Pelosi way before she became speaker and she’s done nothing to lower my opinion since then.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @goblue72:

    Because she didn’t get where she did by being the hard-driving Radcliffe/Yalie super-nerd like Hillary, being smarter than all the boys in her high school, getting profiled in national magazines for your valedictory speech, etc.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Bush, Obama, Kerry, numerous Kennedys all have had Ivy League pedigrees, and Big Dog Bill Clinton worked his Yale and Rhodes Scholar connections to his advantage.

    Personally, I think its fantastic – I like my politicians with a little bit of the stink of backroom cigar smoke on them. (Not that Nancy would get stink up her Armani pantsuits by getting near any lit cigars, mind you) Means they know how to find a guy’s balls and squeeze them till he squeals.

    I see your point here and like how you concisely detail Pelosi’s old school approach to gaining political power.

  86. 86
    Joel says:

    My republican but not-quite-wingnut fil, a great guy overall, bitches often about Pelosi. High praise indeed.

  87. 87
    Nicole says:

    @geg6: ECS’s husband never cheated on her, as far as I know (not that I was there). I was referring to comments she made in the wake of the women’s suffrage movement getting thrown under the bus by the black (men’s) suffrage movement after the Civil War. I couldn’t come up with a Rovian-tactics example immediately, so I had two examples, not three. Sorry if that confused you.

    Shaun’s original comment, unless I misread it, was “do feminists look the other way when their husbands piss all over their wedding vows,” not, “do feminists use their husband’s infidelities as springboards for their political careers.” Unless I misunderstand divorce laws, ER was still married to FDR at the time of his death and I don’t think ever made any sort of public reference to his infidelities.

    Hillary was not my pick (it was Edwards, and boy did I feel dumb later, but I went for who I thought was the most liberal of the 3 contenders), but I don’t think she ever used Bill’s infidelity as a springboard- I think that’s something people who didn’t like her anyway projected onto her. Absolutely she used her profile as First Lady, but as someone else pointed out, Pelosi used her political pedigree, as would any other politician worth her salt.

  88. 88
    Echidne says:

    I’m pretty sure that I wrote about Pelosi some when she first became the Speaker.

    To me a feminist icon is someone who really works her butt off to make this world a better place for the next generation of baby girls, and that’s a little bit different from being the First Woman in something. The latter is laudable, of course, because the Firsts always had a tough road to get there. But it’s not the same as being an icon. Perhaps it’s a sign of advancement? Something to celebrate? But not an icon.

    I may be splitting words here, of course.

    And yes, one can measure the advances by noticing that newspapers no longer put headlines like “WOMAN elected to something or other.” It’s become a common thing in some fields. At the same time, 17% representation for women in the Congress does not make the U.S. look good in international comparisons.

  89. 89
    Nicole says:

    @shaun:

    Are the women who were super pissed off that Clinton did not get the nomination and vowed to vote for McCain feminists?

    All of your examples seem to follow the line of thought that “feminist” = “being a good person.” I don’t see where tolerating infidelity, playing dirty hardball, making racist comments, or voting in a fit of pique are inherently feminist or anti-feminist because they have nothing to do with feminism. Being a feminist and being a good person are both equally laudable goals (I aspire to be as excellent as I can in both areas, and often fail), but they are not synonymous.

  90. 90
    Jenn says:

    Wow, this thread is pissing me off.

    I respect the hell out of Nancy Pelosi.

    I respect the hell out of Hillary Clinton. Do I like everywhere her campaign went, no. But she is smart, ambitious, powerful, and has worked incredibly hard on behalf of this country for a very long time, and I believe she deserves respect. It seems like some folks are saying that because she was married to a powerful man, she’s supposed to, what, live in the frigging kitchen for the rest of her life? I sure don’t see how that’s a feminist perspective. There’s no doubt that being married to Bill helped her political career, but there’s also no doubt that she worked damn hard to deserve to be there. And I certainly never perceived her as “playing the martyr.” There’s a reason she’s known as a “workhorse,” in both her time as a Senator and in her current position of Secretary of State. Bill’s extramarital whatever has no freaking relevance whatever. And the PUMA faction has no relevance whatever, either. There are idiots in every group.

    If you prefer Pelosi to Clinton, and think that the former is unfairly overlooked, peachy. Pelosi rocks. But it’s perfectly possible to build Pelosi up instead of tearing Clinton down.

    If I’m misinterpreting folks’ comments, apologies, but that’s sure how they’re coming across to me now.

  91. 91
    PeakVT says:

    Isn’t it kind of big deal that the more powerful legislator of our generation is a woman?

    She’s a legislator and not in an executive position. That makes it hard/uninteresting for our lazy media to cover.

    Now, if she were to bare her shoulders a bit…

  92. 92
    shaun says:

    Nicole:

    Amen.

  93. 93
    Ash Can says:

    @geg6:

    ::headdesk::

    Never mind.

  94. 94
    goblue72 says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t think I suggested those were bad things. Merely as to the question as to “why Hillary = feminist icon” and not Pelosi, just that likely for a lot of college-educated boomer women (who likely make up a large portion of those women who work in the media megaphone world), Hillary’s bio feels a bit more familiar – that of playing by the “meritocratic rules” – study hard, get into good college, study hard, get corporate job, work hard, get married, work hard, be a “Super Mom” juggling career and family, and then get finally shafted when its “your turn”.

    As opposed to Pelosi, who is a just a bit out of the boomer cohort (born 1940), didn’t compete on the “meritocratic track”, and instead was the nice Catholic girl licking envelopes at the Democratic party ward commitee meetings. She’s just a bit too “old boys network” culturally to resonate as much as a Hillary does.

  95. 95
    geg6 says:

    @Nicole:

    Well, ECS and her hubby lived apart for a large time period early in their marriage, so infidelity was a definite possibility (not to mention that he totally disagreed with her feminist point of view).

    And I disagree with you on Hilary’s use of Bubba’s infidelities to further her political career. Not to mention the fact that she wouldn’t have had a political career at all had Bubba not been president. And to this day, Hilary has shown no aptitude for the reality of politics. She’s a smart woman who does best when given a specific job to do. But her political instinct is to fall back on the handicaps of her womanhood and how she’s been wronged. Feminism is not victimhood and that is what Hilary has played on, knowingly or not, her entire political career.

    Nancy worked her way up through the San Fran political machine, from a very low level and with some tutelage from her brother-in-law who was on the board of supervisors for the city. Yes, she was born into the Baltimore machine, but the two machines are not the same and, often, not sympathetic to each other at all and certainly do not operate the same way. Regardless, she cut her teeth at the bottom and worked her way up the hard way. This at a time when women weren’t exactly machine pols. She got her hands dirty and showed the male dominated machine in San Francisco that a woman could be just as tough and smart.

    Nancy was cutting her teeth on those machine politics while Hilary was lawyering for Walmart. I know which woman I’d choose as a mentor, if I had to choose one.

  96. 96
    Brad says:

    @Chris Russell: Some irony in that I’m listening to Farirport’s “Quiet Joys of Brotherhood” on my iTunes as I’m reading through this thread….

  97. 97

    I agree, but I’d like to know why having such a powerful female speaker doesn’t also quash narratives like “Palin will appeal to Hillary supporters”.

    Um… did you *really* just ask why the Republicans say lame-ass bullshit that might help grab the news-cycle, regardless of how stupid it might be if you think about it?

  98. 98
    geg6 says:

    @Jenn:

    I respect Hilary, now, more as Sos than at any other time. However, I am not, never was, and never will be a Hilary fan. She did use her husband’s infidelities and sympathy from them to get where she is. And she used wingnut and racist memes as a candidate for president. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I give her a pass on things I don’t respect about that. I sympathize with how the wingnuts went after her and her husband, but that doesn’t a feminist icon make, IMHO.

    I would never have voted for her for POTUS. I’d have sat out the election. But that’s just my opinion and I certainly don’t expect anyone, let alone a majority, to agree with it.

  99. 99
    eemom says:

    The crying in NH and the chest pounding over whether or not she got shot at were the giveaway that she is not a real feminist to anyone who wasn’t paying attention up until then. And then when she and her campaign started with the racist dog whistles, well…

    I’m late to this, um, party, and I think that arguing this topic is a no-win situation, but that’s never stopped me before.

    IMO, this quoted point is key. To the extent I would ever regard anyone as a “feminist icon,” that kind of behavior is an absolute disqualifier. You don’t get to exploit the fact that you’re a woman to get what you want and then claim to be a “feminist.” To my knowledge, Nancy Pelosi has never done that.

    And that, btw, is why it’s such a sick joke for anyone to utter the word “feminist” in the same sentence as “Sarah Palin.”

  100. 100
    SPK says:

    Pelosi may be a feminist icon but her approval ratings with the public at large since becoming Speaker have consistently been dismal. She has no accomplishments to point to as Speaker, so what’s to laud her for? Hilary used her husband to get practically everything she acquired up to and including her Senate seat, so she’s only a role model for those who believe feminism includes achievement through manipulation of men through sex or marriage. Some role model.

  101. 101
    Barbara says:

    It is striking how Nancy Pelosi doesn’t get held up as being an icon — for whatever it’s worth, I assume it’s because she has been in the House for long enough that it didn’t even seem like a big leap — just a helluva smart move — to make her Speaker. And the position of Speaker has always had less public cachet than President or VP.

    Regarding Hillary Clinton: I used to get a little (or even a lot) peeved about her using WJC as a stepping stone, but I had to try to understand it from the perspective of my mother, a passionate Hillary supporter. Why is it okay for Evan Bayh or Robert Casey Jr. to assume the mantle of their fathers? Why is it only wives who get pushed back for using their connections?

    Well, I am not a big fan of Bayh or Casey either, and I think heir apparent politics is a problem, but I have to agree that it’s unfair to hold women to a higher standard.

  102. 102
    Mike says:

    All Republican Speakers have ruled with iron fists and brooked no dissent. Tom DeLay, while not speaker wasn’t called The Hammer for nothing. By comparison, Pelosi is weak and has to negotiate votes.
    Apparently, recent history for you is the past 5 minutes.

    geg6: “… She [Hilary] did use her husband’s infidelities and sympathy from them to get where she is…”

    Ignorant bullshit. She got to where she is by working twice as hard as any man, dumbass.

  103. 103
    Maude says:

    @geg6: Take Bill Clinton out of the equation. Where would Hillary Clinton be?
    I call the PUMAs who would have voted for McCain than Obama as the chip on the shoulder crowd.
    This discussion is important. The fact that Obama is prez and Pelosi is Speaker, speaks volumes about major, there’s no going back, change. Yeah, that’s change we can believe in.

  104. 104
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @geg6:

    Not to mention the fact that she wouldn’t have had a political career at all had Bubba not been president.

    I don’t agree with this. I don’t think she would have made it as far as she has, or at least she would’ve been lucky to make it to the Senate, but I could see her being either a longtime Congress critter or a major player (AG or even governor) in Illinois politics, if she had never gone to Arkansas.

    And to this day, Hilary has shown no aptitude for the reality of politics.

    This I do agree with. I’m reading that Halperin book, and looking past all the gossip and obvious payback, what’s clear is that those of us who thought that (the) Clinton(s) was/were complacent, arrogant and entitled were grossly underestimating the case, and Mark Penn was an even bigger asshole and more incompetent than the primaries suggested.

  105. 105
    DougJ says:

    @Nicole:

    FWIW, I wasn’t trying to tear Hillary down.

    Also, FWIW, I have a hard time disagreeing with others’ criticism of her campaign.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @Maude:

    Take Bill Clinton out of the equation. Where would Hillary Clinton be?

    I don’t know. Where?

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m reading that Halperin book

    Talk about sourcing.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @SPK: Two very compelling arguments.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    @SPK: Pelosi’s approval ratings are far higher than any other Congressional leader’s, and only one that even comes close to Obama’s.

    Haven’t seen a recent poll for ol’ Krazy Train Biden, though.

    I guess anytime a woman leads a group that is mostly men, you can attribute any success to ‘ability to manipulate men’.

    The House has passed plenty of good legislation, or do you think Pelosi is responsible for the WH and Senate too?

    Other than that, good points.

  110. 110
    AxelFoley says:

    Can I make a confession?

    I kinda got a crush on Speaker Pelosi. I don’t wanna disrespect her by calling her a MILF, but I’m just sayin’…

  111. 111
    CalD says:

    My take is that if Nancy Pelosi wants it passed, it passes. She’s a powerful speaker, maybe not quite the LBJ of the House, but certainly a lot stronger than any Congressional leaders of recent memory (admittedly, Frist, Reid, and Hastert don’t set the bar too high).

    Mrs. Pelosi is nobody’s pushover for sure. But I also haven’t exactly seen her whipping up 100% of her caucus in the House for much of anything controversial lately. If she were forced to do that for every single thing anyone really cared about as Harry Reid has been, I rather imagine you’d be bad-mouthing her as snidely as you do Mr. Reid. Don’t you?

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    @Jenn:

    I respect the hell out of Hillary Clinton. Do I like everywhere her campaign went, no. But she is smart, ambitious, powerful, and has worked incredibly hard on behalf of this country for a very long time, and I believe she deserves respect. It seems like some folks are saying that because she was married to a powerful man, she’s supposed to, what, live in the frigging kitchen for the rest of her life?

    I don’t think she has to live in the kitchen. But she chose the path of being a supporter to a powerful politician. This took her out of a more active path, by her own choice.

    But she tried to sell herself as an apprentice president on the basis of her proximity to the White House, and some of her supporters bought this line of hokum and tried to put a feminist wrapper on it.

    Bottom line: The First Lady (or First Dude) does not exist as far as the Constitution is concerned. They aren’t in the line of succession and should not pretend to be. I would be very suspicious of any spouse (or sibling or child) who tried to sell mere residence in or proximity to the White House as qualifying them, no matter how smart or ambitious they are otherwise.

    And by the way, some Republicans tried to sell this line: “Dubya’s daddy was president. Dubya obviously soaked up know-how at his daddy’s knee.”

    How’d that work out?

    I sure don’t see how that’s a feminist perspective. There’s no doubt that being married to Bill helped her political career, but there’s also no doubt that she worked damn hard to deserve to be there.

    I agree here. Her work as a senator and secretary of state stands and should be judged on its own merits.

    There’s a reason she’s known as a “workhorse,” in both her time as a Senator and in her current position of Secretary of State.

    I agree with you here as well, although my current judgment would be that she was an OK senator and so far is a mediocre Secretary of State. Working hard is not the same thing as being superbly talented. And here there are some who want to endow her with an extra halo of ability because she was First Lady and married to a president.

    Bill’s extramarital whatever has no freaking relevance whatever.

    No argument here at all from me.

    If you prefer Pelosi to Clinton, and think that the former is unfairly overlooked, peachy. Pelosi rocks. But it’s perfectly possible to build Pelosi up instead of tearing Clinton down.

    For me, it’s not about tearing Clinton down. But people like Senator Dianne Feinstein and Speaker Pelosi, and even Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius always ranked higher for me than Secretary Clinton. And I think that Obama might have considered Sebelius for the VP slot if other Democrats hadn’t been insistent that Clinton was somehow more entitled.

  113. 113
    Nicole says:

    @DougJ: I never thought you were, and I agree she ran a crappy campaign, especially at the end. My argument was simply with how she did or did not respond to Bill’s infidelities being taken as a judgment on whether one is a feminist or not. I’m feminist enough to think that fidelity, or lack thereof, in a marriage is the business of the two people involved and not a reflection on their political beliefs. Not to mention, a lot of men who voted for laws to advance the cause of women were cheatin’ dogs, but I’ll take the laws they voted for, thanks.

    (Like I said, I voted for Edwards, so that shows what I know.)

  114. 114
    Nicole says:

    @shaun: Fun back-and-forth, Shaun; I enjoyed immensely. Thanks. :)

  115. 115
    Admiral_Komack says:

    “DougJ asks a simple question. Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi treated as a feminist icon?”

    -‘Cause she ain’t Hillary Clinton. (snark)

  116. 116
    Nicole says:

    @geg6: I think you still maybe have missed the point I was trying to make earlier, which is that one’s reaction to infidelity in marriage, along with the other examples, do not necessarily have anything to do with whether one is acting as a feminist.

    I like Clinton, I like Pelosi. Glad they’re both in politics. It’s not any kind of choice on my part.

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: DiFi? Really?
    Pretty much all that needs to be said.

  118. 118
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @SPK:

    That is just factually incorrect. She has gotten just about everything passed through the House that she worked on. Just about everything. The fact that these things have not become law has nothing to do with Nancy, and EVERYTHING to do with Senate Republicans.

  119. 119
    Admiral_Komack says:

    shaun

    “geg6:”

    “Like I said, memories are short. Clinton did a lot of stupid things, but alienating a goodly number of black voters who had not yet gone over into Obama’s column through surrogates in the run-up to the South Carolina primary is near or at the top of the list. South Carolina “made” Obama; in retrospect it “broke” Clinton.”

    -Word.

  120. 120
    Tax Analyst says:

    @Brachiator:

    For me, it’s not about tearing Clinton down. But people like Senator Dianne Feinstein and Speaker Pelosi, and even Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius always ranked higher for me than Secretary Clinton. And I think that Obama might have considered Sebelius for the VP slot if other Democrats hadn’t been insistent that Clinton was somehow more entitled.

    If you sub in Boxer for Feinstein I with you on this. Feinstein has kind of pissed me off the last several years or so.

  121. 121
    Nicole says:

    Take Bill Clinton out of the equation. Where would Hillary Clinton be?

    I have no idea, but it does remind me of a joke that made the rounds back during Bill’s first term- the joke goes, Bill and Hillary are driving through Hillary’s hometown, and they stop to get gas. The gas station owner says, “Hi, Hillary!” and to Bill’s surprise, Hillary greets him by name, gets out of the car and talks to him awhile. After they pay for their gas and drive off, Bill says to Hillary, “Who was that?” and Hillary says, “Oh, that was an old boyfriend of mine from high school.” Bill laughs and says to her, “Just think, honey, if you’d married him you’d be running a gas station” and Hillary answers, “No, honey; if I’d married him, he’d be President.”

    So, I think the rule with the Clintons is, whichever one is holding office, it’s all due to the other one. Because, of course, they couldn’t possibly have gotten anything on their own.

    On the horse racing form I like to frequent, someone, in a thread about the upcoming showdown between Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, managed to bring up Paula Jones. Seriously, the right-wingers will never, ever get over the Clintons. Ever.

  122. 122
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    DiFi? Really? Pretty much all that needs to be said.

    Actually, no.

  123. 123
    Honus says:

    I love Nancy. And for 68, she’s hot. All kidding aside, she’s tough as nails and very impressive, especially given the powerfully financed invective directed her way.

  124. 124
    Honus says:

    I love Nancy. And for 68, she’s hot. All kidding aside, she’s tough as nails and very impressive, especially given the powerfully financed invective directed her way.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Finally something we can agree on. DiFi really needs to FOAD.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne: Damn you. Damn you…

  127. 127
    Lauren says:

    Is there a feminist icon list somewhere I’m not aware of?

  128. 128
    LB says:

    @Cornerstone:

    A partner in a major law firm in Chicago?

  129. 129
    Nellcote says:

    @CalD:

    But I also haven’t exactly seen her whipping up 100% of her caucus in the House for much of anything controversial lately.

    She’s passed nearly 300 bills that are just sitting and waiting for action in the Senate right now.

  130. 130
    Frank Chow says:

    @Brian J

    I was being sarcastic. Will stress that more next time ; )

  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    @Nicole:

    “Just think, honey, if you’d married him you’d be running a gas station” and Hillary answers, “No, honey; if I’d married him, he’d be President.”

    Funny joke, and it hits smack into the family romance that Bill and Hillary were co-presidents, soul mates, husband-and-wife political twins.

    But of course, this mythology is right up there with the lazy myth, easily refuted by the facts, that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote all the Beatles’ songs together, and in happy harmony.

  132. 132

    Pelosi isn’t a feminist icon because she’s the real deal: a successful political operator at the top of the food chain. Who got there by winning elections and being tough as nails.

    Hillary Clinton is a smart lady, but she got where she is because she married Bill. I think that’s why we keep being told what a feminist icon she is. Because she isn’t. (I think she’s a very capable secretary of state, and probably would have been a very capable president. But she would never have been in contention for either except for Bill.)

    That’s how you know when you’ve arrived. When your opponents take you seriously, and your supporters take you for granted. And nobody mentions your race or gender.

  133. 133
    silentbeep says:

    @Jane_in_Colorado:

    “That’s how you know when you’ve arrived. When your opponents take you seriously, and your supporters take you for granted. And nobody mentions your race or gender.”

    Heck yeah. Nancy kicks all kinds of ass and makes me proud to be a Californian (not my representative though, but still…)

  134. 134
    SPK says:

    Sister Machine Gun: Actually, since the Democrats had 60 Senators, it has everything to do with the Senate Democrats. And that also had to do with the feeling by a number of those Senate Democrats that the public didn’t support a number of items as passed by the House.

  135. 135
    SPK says:

    Machine Gun: Since the Democrats had 60 Senators, you would have to say the blame lies with them for not passing Pelosi’s bills. And also perhaps that some of those Senators perceived that a large segment of the public did not support the items Pelosi got passed through the House.

  136. 136

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments are closed.