STORY #1: Year of the hardass
I recall reading about the first “Year of the Woman” in Susan Faludi’s Backlash; at that time, she wrote, women’s issues were being kicked off political platforms in favor of “family issues,” and difference feminism (which claims that women are inherently more nurturing, consensus-building, whatever than men) was in vogue. This time around, neither women’s nor family issues are a big deal, and a good portion of the top female candidates aren’t interested in playing house with government money.
In Manitoba, the NDP deals with underrepresentation by requiring a certain percentage of female candidates for nomination. In the U.S., meanwhile, voters are more interested in choosing who will advance their agenda than who will add visual variety to the campaign posters. Three of the most successful female candidates were committed to advancing the Tea Party agenda. And that’s how women win, the same way men win: by telling voters what they want to hear.
STORY #2: Year of that woman
It’s shaping up that in the case of Republicans, part of what they want to hear is “Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) likes me.” OK, fine, so she hasn’t evidently bothered to educate herself about the issues, and half the country is either afraid of her or pities her. But when it’s not her office at stake, she has an electoral instinct second only to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. I’d nominate her for Republican National Committee chair; she’d have an easier go of that.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has a similar touch with his endorsements, although with less fanfare. I have said several times that he would be his party’s best option for a presidential challenger, and I haven’t been proven wrong yet. The article mentions former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) as well, but we don’t even need to consider him. He’d be a whipping boy.
STORY #3: Year of the redux
Meanwhile, the media has just picked up on the fact that the other guys have a “former” with a magic touch of their own: former President Bill Clinton. Neither Bush could do a thing for any Republican candidates, so Democrats won the sweeter plum of having a relatively successful ex-president on their side. It’s a good thing that President Obama isn’t bothering to do this anymore; unlike Palin, his political instincts come out when he’s the one running.