Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific
Research Institute [go
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in Action: A Female Candidate
A PC world onto itself...
[Sally C. Pipes] 10/6/04
The presidential election of 2004 is upon us, with incumbent
George Bush squaring off against challenger John Kerry. The issues
have been Iraq, Vietnam, swift boats and the National Guard,
not the absence of a woman on the ticket, on either side. That
absence has drawn few complaints but is a subject worth pondering.
Twenty years ago, in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman
nominated by a major political party as its candidate for vice
president of the United States. Angela Davis, it might be recalled,
ran for vice president with the Communist Party of the United
States in 1980 and 1984, with Gus Hall at the top of the ticket.
of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 brought choruses of "it's
about time" from feminists, along with polemics about men
as the problem in politics, and predications of greater days
ahead with women at the helm. That would be due to women's allegedly
superior sensitivity and insight.
Women's Hall of Fame (see www.greatwomen.org), into which Ferraro
inducted in 1994, explains that while
the Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost, her candidacy "forever
reshaped the American political and social landscape." Two
decades later, it's hard to see how.
Women were already prominent in American politics, business,
academia and entertainment. Aside from Ferraro's merits or demerits,
a female candidate for high office was probably overdue and a
welcome development. But since 1984 neither major party has advanced
a woman for president or vice president. In 1988, Democratic
candidate Michael Dukakis opted for Lloyd Bentsen, a ticket that
shared the same fate as Mondale-Ferraro. Voters apparently do
not discriminate on the basis of gender.
Ferraro makes frequent appearances on television but is no
contender. Angela Davis is now holding forth at
the University of California at Santa Cruz and always described
in the press not as a failed Communist vice-presidential candidate
but a "social activist." Of course, the Communist Party
she aspired to lead has practically ceased to exist, some 70
years too late.
Nationwide the prospects for another major-party female candidate
for vice president, let alone president, seem rather slim pickings.
The most likely prospect is Hillary Clinton, now conveniently
a junior senator from New York. She denies seeking the presidency,
but as one wag put it, never believe anything until it's been
It can be argued, of course, that the energetic Hillary has
already served two terms as co-president. One can imagine the
uproar if Ronald Reagan had in 1980 placed Nancy in charge of
reforming Medicare or Social Security.
On the international scene, the record of women as national
leaders is decidedly mixed. Current conditions make the rise
of Benazir Bhutto to prime minister in Pakistan, and first female
national leader in the Muslim world, seem almost miraculous.
Margaret Thatcher turned around an ailing nation, and brooked
no nonsense from an Argentine military junta. Rather different
is the behavior of Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, who caved
in to kidnappers and pulled Philippine troops out of Iraq.
One can't imagine Lady Thatcher doing such a thing. Nor Jeanne
Kirkpatrick, who certainly never backed down from anti-American
bullies at the U.N. Jeanne Kirpatrick is not, by the way, in
the National Women's Hall of Fame. But tennis player Billy Jean
King is member, and of course feminist celebrity Betty Friedan.
Regardless of actual merit, a place on the honor roll is doubtless
reserved for the first woman actually elected vice-president,
or president. That may happen, perhaps even before we have a
male senator in California. CRO
2004 Pacific Research Institute