When Republican presidential candidate and tea party favorite Michele Bachmann was recently asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace if she was “a flake,” the moment seemed like déjà vu all over again for some women active in politics.
Bachmann’s response — she was “insulted” — was stern, but it pointed to a larger bias many women perceive in presidential politics.
“Nobody in the GOP establishment is going to hand anything to Bachmann or (Sarah) Palin — just like (Democrats) did not for Hillary (Clinton),” said Amy Siskind, who supported Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. “And it takes a certain type of leader to go out there and have the courage and the guts to say ‘I’m running (for president)’ and I admire Bachmann for that.”
After Clinton’s failed Oval Office bid, Siskind and a small group of women who had supported Clinton decided the best way to break the glass ceiling in presidential politics was to put ideology and partisanship aside and support any woman seeking a top political office — including Bachmann and Palin, two darlings of the tea party movement known for their conservative views on economic and social issues.
But some Democratic leaders dismissed the idea, arguing the electorate is more sophisticated.
“Women don’t support women candidates simply because of their status as women, simply because of their gender,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee.
Wasserman-Schultz said women vote on the issues that matter to them and select the candidate who champions those issues. She pointed out that President Obama has signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, fought for passage of health care legislation that benefits women, has a number of women in his administration and has appointed two women to the U.S. Supreme Court.
By contrast, the DNC head said that none of the contenders in the current GOP presidential field has Obama’s track record when it comes to supporting women and working families and championing equal rights for women, both reproductive rights and rights in the workplace.
Lily Ledbetter. And Obamacare w/Stupak. Two women.
BTW – Women comprise 52% of the electorate. If women always voted for women then women would win every election.