You think my summary is inaccurate? I'll show you inaccurate:
You know how ladies, when they don't get what they want, can go a little crazy? Am I right, fellas? Right now, they're pretty upset about losing their first chance at a female president. This would have empowered little girls, shattered sexist beliefs about female incompetence and forced men around the world to view a woman as an agent of power instead of a sex object -- all of which, it turns out, are important to women even though they buy Star magazine. Ladies are complicated.
Ha ha! That's gold, Joel! Gold! Some women buy into patriarchal ideas about sexuality, and yet women do not want to be viewed as merely objects for male enjoyment -- boy, that's a tough one to figure out! Them women, so silly!
It gets worse.
Because women do most of the voting, and the shopping and the TV watching and the book reading -- porn really must take up a lot of men's time -- they need to be placated. Which shouldn't be hard. You know how when your dog dies, your wife wants to get a puppy right away? That's what America has to do. We need a replacement Hillary.Yes, he just said Hillary is like a dog. Snark would be superfluous.
Because while women are sad that Hillary Clinton seems poised to lose the Democratic nomination, they're even more dejected that there appear to be no women with enough political stature to run for president next time. That's why Barack Obama and John McCain need to pick female running mates. Either that or we're going to have to find some money in the federal budget for 150 million flower bouquets.First, this isn't even true. I can think of a half-dozen women who would be viable Democratic candidates for the presidency. Did Kathleen Sebelius get caught in bed with a dead boy or a live girl when I wasn't paying attention? Did Janet Napolitano turn out to have shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? Is there any reason to oppose Barbara Boxer for the presidency, other than the fact that the right has been demonizing her for years because she's a liberal woman? How 'bout Maria Cantwell? Or Claire McCaskill? Or Patty Murray? Or...well, you get the idea. Okay, granted, there is a dearth of viable female candidates in the GOP, but that says a lot more about the GOP than women.
Second, I love the little dig at women. Why, if Barack Obama doesn't pick a woman to run with him, we'll all have to buy some baubles and trinkets for our women, or else it's going to be a cold election season on the couch. Am I right fellas? Huh? Huh? We've all been there, right?
Jebus. I know a number of women whose favorite potential vice presidential candidate is John Edwards. Hillary being a woman is a point in her favor if you're opposed to the unbroken streak of men who've been president, but I don't know anyone, male or female, who is backing her because, and only because, she's a woman.
Most Americans only notice politicians in a presidential campaign (who's more famous: House Minority Leader John Boehner or Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Dennis Kucinich?), so a female vice presidential candidate would instantly become a front-runner in 2012 or 2016. This plan is so foolproof it even worked for a little while for Joe Lieberman.Well, yeah. With the notable exceptions of Dick Cheney, Lloyd Bentsen and Jack Kemp, the vice presidential candidate usually runs the next cycle out. And look at the front-runners going backward in time: John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, George H.W. Bush, Fritz Mondale, Bob Dole, Sargent Shriver, Hubert H. Humphrey, Richard Nixon....
Wait a second. I'm going over that list, and I only see two presidents. Well, three if you count Gore, but still. It seems like being the vice presidential candidate -- whether you win or you lose -- isn't exactly a direct path to the presidency. Heck, only five of those men even got the nomination of their party the next cycle. And all five of them actually won the vice presidency. (Bob Dole did eventually get the nomination, twenty years after he ran with Gerald Ford.) And Nixon had to lose once and make one of the most improbable comebacks in American political history to avoid being one of the losers.
Also, you astute readers may notice a name missing from that list. If you said "Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-N.Y.," you win the prize. Yes, the only woman ever to run on a major party ticket was not a leading prospect for the presidency in 1988. Or ever. Granted, this had a lot to do with the fact that she was tied to Walter Mondale, who's a good and honest man and a lousy presidential candidate. Take 13 electoral votes nationwide and you're bound to find yourself on the outs.
But this is a major strike against Stein's brilliant plan: it won't work. Should Barack Obama pick Janet Napolitano as his vice president (and she'd be a good choice) and then lose in November, she wouldn't be in any better position to win the nomination in 2012 than she would be if she stayed in Arizona and ran the state. Yes, if Obama wins, and Napolitano (or Sebelius, or Murray, etc.) becomes the Vice President, she'd be the probable nominee in 2016 -- but being vice president is no guarantee of being president. Ask Al Gore, Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale, or Dan Quayle.
Sure, Sen. Jim Webb, the former secretary of the Navy, might make Obama look a tiny bit more commander-in-chiefy, and Mike Huckabee might make McCain appear a little more gay-hatey, but those are calculations you make when you don't have a nation of ticked-off women to contend with. In 2003, Kobe Bryant wasn't worrying about whether he should pass more to Rick Fox or Derek Fisher; he was just looking for the biggest damn diamond he could find.So at this point, Stein is saying that Barack Obama and John McCain have raped some other nation's women, and now they're going to try to win back the love of our nation's women by buying a big, inanimate bauble, which will be a woman on the ticket. I'm not sure how this analogy could get any more offensive to everyone, but it's impressive in its horribleness.
Luckily, there are lots of good female veep options for both candidates, though they have to be careful not to pick someone so old that they will die in eight years and therefore be ineligible to run for president. That's usually a tough find in a politician -- the one job we, for some reason, let old people do -- but it turns out women live a ridiculously long time. Sure, Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein will turn 83 in 2016, and Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole will turn 80, but that's prime aqua aerobics time. If women of that age couldn't run a meeting, there would be no functional condo clubhouses in Fort Lauderdale.Okay, Shakers, quick! You have a choice between Dianne Feinstein on the ticket or having your legs chewed off by a ravenous wolverine. Which do you pick? It's unanimous -- ravenous wolverines for everyone!
I mean, I know I'm a man and I'm just hoping Obama picks some chick so the ladies don't get all foot-stampy, but Dianne Feinstein?
You see, I may be just a man, but I know women who are politically involved, and none of them want just any old woman to gain office. I don't think the people on this site would be thrilled with President Kay Bailey Hutchison, no matter how female she is.
But there's also a pick of young chicks.Oh, fuck me.
For Obama, it could be Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, spunky Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill or Washington Sen. Patty Murray. And if he really cared about making ladies happy: Oprah Winfrey. Congressional sessions will be a lot more exciting if the Senate president is pointing at people and yelling, "You get a tax rebate! You get a tax rebate! And you get a tax rebate!"Ha! See, women love them some Oprah.
Now, I've already mentioned every woman on that list save Landrieu (see: Feinstein), and I think there are good arguments to be made for them. Napolitano is the governor of a Mountain West state, obviously is able to win votes among Latinos, has a solid record and executive experience. Sebelius has managed to get re-elected as a pro-choice governor in Kansas. 'Nuff said. McCaskill doesn't add experience to the Obama ticket but she does hail from the swing state of Missouri. Murray doesn't have the regional pluses of McCaskill or Sebelius or Napolitano, but she's been in the Senate for 16 years, and would add experience to the ticket.
Note, none of these women are viable candidates just for their femaleness.
McCain could go with Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, fightin' Condoleezza Rice, former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman or -- in a choice designed to please both genders -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is the best-looking non-Romney governor in our nation's history.Snowe, Whitman, and Rice are pro-choice. Good luck with that, John. Hutchison is from Texas, a state that the GOP has a hammerlock on, but she'd at least be marginally qualified. Palin is probably the only candidate on the list that would be a decent pick, but you'd better be sure she's free from the corruption that seems endemic in the Alaskan GOP. And she is from Alaska, which is not exactly a swing state in an important region.
So on the GOP side, that's two viable women. Which is a couple more than I expected.
Will a female vice president really satisfy women? Of course not. But what does?Damn straight. Those women won't be satisfied until they have full equality. And that would be crazy!
The point is that we'll be showing them we understand that their frustration is legitimate, and that we're hearing them, and that we're ready to listen. That stuff will totally buy us until November.Yes, fellas, your women will totally put out, if only we can convince McCain and Obama to pick female veeps.
I laugh because the alternative is to cry.
Listen, there are strong female vice presidential candidates, at least on the Democratic side. I think an Obama/Sebelius or Obama/Napolitano ticket would be strong. Both are capable governors, both from regions of the country where they could help the ticket, and -- yes -- the symbolism of picking either would help heal some of the bad blood in the Democratic party right now.
But while both are legit candidates for vice president, neither would, by herself, make every woman in America happy and joyful. Women aren't opposed to Obama because he's a man; when they oppose him, it's for a variety of legitimate reasons, like his level of experience, his dog-whistle call outs to sexism, or his wishy-washiness when it comes to fighting the GOP. And just picking a woman for vice president won't make those problems go away. It's better than a sharp stick in the eye, but it's not a strong, clear and heartfelt apology for sexism, and it's not an unflinching defense of reproductive rights.
You see, Joel, women aren't upset about Hillary losing because they just want some dame in the White House. They're upset because they're worried Obama won't have the same level of commitment to women's vital interests as Clinton will. Women care because they want to be actually equal in our society. And this column is a step in the wrong direction on that front.