The year of the conservative woman
By Bruce Walker
Pundits have already picked up on the theme of the June 8 primary: female candidates made some remarkable gains. The next senator elected in California, for example, will be a woman. The talk sounds like November 1992, when political articles touted five victories of female candidates in Senate races in California (two races, actually, in California), Illinois, Washington, and Maryland. This was proclaimed the "Year of the Woman."
Eighteen years later women are doing quite well in politics. But this success is not like the so-called "Year of the Woman" in 1992, which was actually just the "Year of the Democrat Women." In 1992, the five women who won were leftist Democrats. Democrat women have not done very well at all. Senator Blanche Lincoln celebrates squeaking by a leftist Halter in very conservative Arkansas, with nearly everyone predicting she will lose her seat in November. Patty Murray and Barbara Boxer, three term incumbents from very blue states, both face very tough races against Republican candidates in five months. Or consider the biggest electoral story so far in 2010: the astonishing victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, in which he defeated her, Ms. Marcia Coakley, the sitting Attorney General of this bluest of all states.
This is turning out more to be the Year of the Republican Woman. Nikki Haley has an excellent chance of becoming the first female governor of South Carolina with her thumping victory in the primary. Sharron Angle also has an excellent chance of knocking off Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In California, two successful women, Whitman and Fiorina, will carry the Republican banner for governor and senator. Susana Martinez is the Republican gubernatorial nominee in New Mexico, and if she wins, as polls show likely, Martinez will be the first female Latino governor in American history. In neighboring Arizona, Jan Brewer has become a hero to Republicans for standing up with grace, wit, and courage to the leftist establishment media and to President Obama. In nearby Oklahoma, polls show Congresswoman Mary Fallin as likely to be the next governor. If Senator Hutchison had won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Texas, then voters in November across the entire tier of states bordering Mexico (and also Oklahoma) could have elected Republican women as their governor.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, however, did not win and that is the subtext to the political story. Governor Perry, the man who defeated her, was considered by voters to be a genuine conservative while Hutchison was considered more as a RINO. The same sort of distinction occurred In upstate New York last November, when Doug Hoffman ran far ahead of Dede Scozzafava in a House special election – he was not the official Republican candidate, but he was the real conservative candidate, and in a Republican district, Hoffman ran far ahead of Scozzafava.
Ideology, not political party and much less gender, guides voters today. Feminists do not lift a finger to help Sarah Palin when she is pilloried with the vilest sort of harassment. Michelle Bachman, another rising star in the Republican Party, is getting notice precisely because she is an articulate, brave and joyful conservative – but none of the dreary groups pretending to champion women is touting her for higher office or, even, for re-election.
The salient fact about nearly all the rising starlets in the Republican Party – Palin, Bachman, Angle, Haley, Brewer, Fallin, and Martinez – is that each is conservative. (Whitman and Fiorina, the two California Republicans, are not conservative, but both of these Republicans, like Scott Brown, are conservative for their state.) Susana Martinez proudly proclaims herself as pro-life, a supporter of the Second Amendment and a conservative. Sharron Angle was supported by the Tea Party, and probably won because she was so conservative. Jan Brewer, like Nikki Haley, has a very clear conservative position on every important issue. Mary Fallin has voted for the conservative position 96% of the time, according to the American Conservative Union's congressional voting scorecard.
Conservatives, obviously, have no problems with women. Indeed, an increasingly large number of conservative leaders are women. Conservatives have problems with leftists and their policies. The snow job of the left, the myth that somehow conservatives and Republicans are against women, is falling apart at the seams. The use of identity politics or special interest politics, the perversion of representative limited government proposed by the left, may soon run into some stormy seas.
Women are, in many ways, more naturally conservative than men. Bad and dangerous schools, for example, are more likely to arouse direct action by mothers rather fathers. Pornography, juvenile promiscuity, and related social issues are at least as troubling to women as to men. The avalanche of abuse thrown at Sarah Palin shows how much leftists fear strong conservative women. But Palin, like Bachman and Brewer, are unperturbed. These women, along with others who will win office in November, are changing the face of American politics.
Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.