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The “Strict” 30% Solution?



There was a very interesting discussion on The Confluence last night about the 30% Solution. Some concerns were being raised about always voting for a woman, no matter what. People were calling such an approach the “strict” 30% Solution. As the coiner of this term, I had never heard this variant, and I’d like to address it in this post.

First of all, the 30% Solution is not just about voting. It is important to vote for women in order to achieve it, but in countries where the critical mass has been reached and surpassed, voting was not the only method of putting more women into national office. Some used quota systems, some revised their election procedures – some enshrined the percentage into their Constitution. In other words, the change occurred both at a grassroots level and at a governmental level. Thus, the entire responsibility for the success of this effort does not rest solely on your vote.

In fact, one of my ideas for reaching critical mass earlier is to use our many, many PUMA voices to reach out to the RNC and the DNC, and demand that in 2010, the next slate of new candidates for national office will include at least 30% women.

As many may be aware, John McCain promised gender equity in his Cabinet and a significant increase in the number of women in power by the end of his first term. This makes me think that the Republican Party may be open to my idea, in order to appeal to what could become the largest voting bloc in America – women and men who support them! And if the Republican Party does it, the Democratic Party might feel inspired to do the same.

I am hoping to start some discussion on this idea by posting it here. What do you think?

Second, I am fascinated by the idea, which some PUMAs have put forward, of “vetting” female candidates with a strict set of guidelines in order to make sure only the “right” ones are elected. I understand the idea, but I don’t believe it is necessary for two reasons: 1) We would never agree on the guidelines; and 2) as Bill Clinton said:

“Voting is a complicated process,” the former president said. “We give our allegiances to candidates and parties and issues for all kinds of reasons. We vote for some people because we like them even though we disagree with them. We vote for some people because we identify with them on race or gender.

“It’s not an entirely rational process, and it is different for everybody.”

In other words, everyone will vote their consciences no matter what, and that’s okay. If you want more women in politics, then you should try to vote for as many women as you can. But remember that no one would expect you to vote for someone you can’t stand, for whatever reason.

For example, this year I ended up voting for McCain and Palin. But if I were a “strict” 30%-er, wouldn’t I have voted McKinney/Clemente? After all, that was the all-female ticket – and many PUMAs did vote just that way. Does that make them more committed to the advancement of women than I? Of course not. They voted their conscience, and I voted mine. There is nothing more American than that.

I do think it’s revealing, though, that some people have no problems holding their noses and voting for a male candidate, but seem to be balking at doing the same for a female candidate.

If I didn’t know better, I would say there was something a little bit sexist about that.

113 Responses

  1. Yeah, we need to ask!
    meanwhile, just after reassuring the rich their wealth won’t be touched, the rest of us are asked to “sacrifice”

  2. But what if the woman candidate is a serial killer?


  3. All candidates should be thoroughly vetted, male and female.
    I want to know as much as possible about a candidate before I give them my vote.
    Too bad Obama wasn’t vetted.

  4. Hi. Coming out of lurking. Is anyone here from Georgia (or knows someone from Georgia) I can talk to about the senate run-off race next month? You can leave me a comment on my website to contact me. Thanks!

  5. What if the woman candidate isn’t a good mother? And what if she has too many children? And what if—

    Great post, madamab. It was a very frustrating discussion for those of us who participated.

  6. Catarina,

    True, but I have pretty much made the decision to vote for every woman I can–of course I’ll reconsider if she is a serial killer.

  7. Thanks, Madamab, this is a discussion we need to thoroughly pursue – I agree with BB last night was a bit frustrating – there are significantly differing views

  8. Yes, lets leave “wiggle room” in the vetting process so that we can be sure to vote for women, just not THAT one or THAT one! /s
    No offense, but those who insist on such constraints are missing the whole point of the 30% solution and what electing more women on the national level means for ALL women.

  9. In Carolyn Maloney’s book, she talks about electing women – any women. I think that’s what I was talking about when I said “strict”. The conversation yesterday about electing 30% women was heading in the “we should only vote for women who meet our criteria” direction. I don’t think that was Congresswoman Maloney’s point. She was advocating getting as many women elected as possible no matter what party they belong to or what their personal policies are. The way to make sure that good women are elected is to prime the pump at the local level so that we have excellent women to vote for in both parties.

  10. angie,

    I wish you had been there last night. I’m just not assertive enough, I guess. Or something.

  11. PS — yep, that means as long as the woman reasonably resembles a half-way decent human beings (i.e., serial killers need not apply) — she’s got my vote — regardless of party or the “choice” issue,which has been created by the patriarchy to divide & conquer us.

  12. Hi bb!

    that’s not what I mean by “vetting”

    Look how many people kept voting for Diane Wilkerson for years, even though she’d been in all sorts of legal trouble. It was kept well under wraps until the feds took pics of her shoving cash bribes into her bra!
    I’m not supporting criminals.

    And then there’s Sandi Martinez, goddess help us all, who lost her State senate bid to Susan Fargo.
    I will actively campaign against her next election even if the devil is her opponent.
    She and her Concerned Women for America friends like to hang out in front of clinics with their screaming fetus pics and crosses and harass women.
    The nice fliers she sent out failed to mention those activities.

    I won’t vote for anyone who thinks the government should be involved in reproductive decisions.

  13. I want to know who voted for the Sin-Peruvian Lesbian option.

    I am all for the 30% solution…. but that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for a female blindly. As a no-party-affiliation voter, I am used to research a candidate (as well as can be done in the age of extremely biased media). I am not a one issue voter either. Would I vote for a hard-line antiabortionist? It depends on what level of government, and what the rest of her/his platform is like. Do I for for the pro-choice candidate? Same response.

    I think one of the reasons so many here were not that uncomfortable with Sarah Palin was due to her beliefs not transcending into legislation. She did the opposite on a number of occasions (went with the law rather than her personal believe system while legislating).

    Should a female candidate be vetted? Absolutely! And so should male candidates.

  14. When I think of women candidates my mind automatically conjures up Liddy Dole, Marcia Blackburn, Jean Schmidt, as some who now serve in congress. None of these women were ever onboard with female issues.

    I think we need to encourage women to become more actively involved as candidates, but I would be hesitant to support women like those above mentioned merely for the sake of attaining a 30% solution. These women do not reflect our interests. And though Sarah Palin may have been an attractive candidate, I am not sure just where she would have come down on issues relating to our needs if truth be told.

    So I guess I would have to withhold judgment on this issue until some form of criteria were to be spelled out. Do we want a Bella Abzug or a Phyllis Shafly to represent us?

  15. Angie,

    I wish you had been there last night. Somehow I’m not assertive enough, I guess. Or not direct enough? I don’t know what my problem is.

    Actually the argument last night wasn’t really about degrees of the 30% solution. It was about whether we need to set aside women’s issues as a current goal of PUMA altogether–“for now.” The argument as I understood it was that if we are seen as a “feminist” organization we won’t be able to attract the broad-based coalition that we need. That is so far from how a lot of us perceive PUMA and particularly The Confluence that it was like ships passing in the night or something.

  16. bb
    there was a comment that said the issues of sexism and misogyny would have to be “put on hold”

  17. Bostonboomer,

    You’re plenty assertive enough. The problem is that the feminist movement has awakened once again and has some traction. As in the past people with other agendas are recognizing the strength of this many ticked off women and want to hitch to the bandwagon. I was incensed by the suggestion that we should put our agenda on hold for awhile to attract other groups to the movement and adjust our goals to include theirs. Been there done that. Still not recognized by the constitution. Fooled me once. . .

  18. In defense of the Diane Wilkerson elections, she was running in a heavily AA district here in MA. As dakinikat can attest, the same mindset that continually overlooked her transgressions is the same mindset that keeps reelecting Wm. Jefferson back to congress from LA even if he is also under indictment.

    As Washington, DC has shown with its infatuation with Marion Barry, you can get away with most anything in a community who insists on overlooking out and out corruption based on color.

  19. Pat,

    As madamab said in her post, we will naturally all continue to vote our conscience. I would never let anyone else tell me how to vote. But I have made the decision to vote for women in the future whenever I can. Of course if the woman I simply can’t support, I’d abstain. But overall, I’m convinced by the argument. I like samantha’s mom’s notion of “priming the pump.”

  20. bostonboomer: No argument there. Women need to be represented.

  21. Pat
    I see your point – I’m quite familiar with Wilkerson’s district.
    I just don’t share that mindset and would want more accountability from a candidate.

  22. “But what if the woman candidate is a serial killer?”

    Well, Ted Bundy was once assistant to the chair of the Washington state Republican party. He was rewarded for his help in getting Gov Evan elected by being appointed to the Crime Prevention Advisory Board, too.

    So…..I don’t have a problem voting for any female serial killers. Equality is equality, LOL.

    When we start having too many female serial killers in office, I’ll might tighten up my requirements a bit.

  23. Catarina and Pat,

    Even in the case of Diane Wilkerson, I think a man who was just as corrupt might be more protected by the Party. I admit, I don’t know that much about the case.

  24. yttik,


  25. To me there’s a big difference between a candidate like Palin, who I voted for, and a candidate like Martinez.

    Making abortion illegal and restricting birth control is Martinez’s life mission. I listened to her and a few of her rabid young supporters ranting in a meeting last week. It was horrific and clear to me that they didn’t have anyone’s best interests at heart.
    Also discussed at the same meeting was how allowing gay marriage would ultimately cause the destruction of America.
    Fuck these fundies-they’re mentally ill.

    Voters should be aware of this stuff so they can make their own decisions.

  26. SOD,

    The line is probably different for everyone. PUMA is a loose coalition of people who joined together because we couldn’t support Barack Obama and we were angry at the way he won the nomination. We differ in many other ways. We don’t have to march in lockstep. We own our own votes.

  27. Since I’m not a member of any political party, I’m not sure how much influence I could have in getting them to put an emphasis on adding more women as candidates at all levels — but I like the idea a lot.

    At this point I’m inclined to vote for any woman who isn’t a criminal (or suspected of it) — but that could change.

    The 30% solution is a priority with me.

    But so is spite. I’ll never vote for Kathleen Sebelius again — how could I vote for a woman who twice called me a racist? And I’ll never (given the opportunity) vote for Claire McCaskill.

  28. SOD

    interesting about whether or not there will be endorsements!

    madamab-is that part of your vision?

  29. Frankly, I will also be voting for any out GLBT candidate when I can.

  30. Madamab,

    I agree with everything you posted. It seems that women are subject to more scrutiny than men. Not right and not fair. Look a the number of people that held their nose and voted for Obama even though they did not agree with him. Just disgusting.

  31. So women shouldn’t be held to standards b/c Obama wasn’t?

  32. catarina, Do you really think a woman with Obama’s (lack of) qualifications could run for a major office? And Doesn’t the idea of pushing for women to run in primaries at all levels get us to the vetting issue?

    We would (ideally) often get to choose between two women. And certainly could choose the “better” one.

    I had to hold back a snort there. Because in my current mood, I actually don’t see any politician as being “better” than another — they pretty much all suck.

  33. The common goal is to get more women into government. It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. I think madamab is the person to explain her idea. Maybe you should read her original posts about Carolyn Maloney’s book–or read the book yourself?

    I’ve reached the point where for me it is about getting some political power for women. That’s what it is about for me. I can’t explain how I feel any better than that.

  34. OT but of interest to Conflucians who have expressed a particular distaste for this individual for some time:

    FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Alan Colmes will relinquish his role as co-host of Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year.

    In announcing his decision, Colmes said, “I approached Bill Shine (FNC’s Senior Vice President of Programming) earlier this year about wanting to move on after 12 years to develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network. Although it’s bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I’m proud that both Sean (Hannity) and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years.”

    He’s probably moving on to MSNBC where he belongs. B-bye Alan. You will not be missed.

  35. Me too, BB. I’m voting for members of oppressed or suppressed groups first on every ballot until we’ve reached parity. That’s just my goal. Each person owns their own vote. I thought that was one of the most powerful rhetoric to come out of this PUMA movement. Everyone has to choose their own criteria.

    For my money, women’s progress and the sexism that holds us down is the most important issue I face. As a woman and mother of daughter, I have to work on that.

    Thanks for the great post, madamab. Those other avenues are important too.

  36. I love the idea of having women with a range of beliefs in office and power. I’ve held my nose to vote for so many guys over the years (and I’m not doing that any more) — why should it be so upsetting that given the chance to choose between Senators John Kerry and Elizabeth Dole (an impossible choice, I know) — I’d choose Dole? They both suck. But Dole is a woman and for the next few years, that matters to me.

  37. If the common goal is to get more women into office I think that there are many things to be done than to just vote for the woman. To get more women to run for office we need to get more women interested in running, get them some training in how to run a campaign and possibly have a pool of experts out there to offer advice to women candidates.

  38. Katiebird,

    That is the way I feel too. In that disagreeable example you gave, I would probably vote for Elizabeth Dole over John Kerry. What has he ever done for me? Absolutely nothing.

  39. I know that there are some women in Congress and the Senate who are quite repellent. But, if you get 30% of women in the legislature will the more progressive women who promote women rights pull more of the conservative women along? Will the more conservative women fall in line due to peer pressure from the other women?

    Just thinking out loud.

  40. I’m with you, SOD, and thanks for not telling me to go read a book.

    Is there a group in the works?

    What is it’s function? Will it endorse candidates? Fundraise?
    Sponsor debates? Collect signatures?

  41. SOD,

    The 30% solution is based on scientific studies. When women reach 30% participation in any country, their issues are more likely to be addressed. Here is MadamaB’s original post on the subject.


    For me, I have no problem with the radical solution of voting for any woman on the ballot. You may have reservations about that.

    I wish I didn’t have to leave the discussion right now, but I have to run to a class. I’ll be back in a couple of hours and hope the discussion will still be going on.

  42. Catarina,

    I didn’t mean to be dismissive and tell SOD to “go read a book.” Sorry! It’s just that I haven’t read the book myself and madamab doesn’t seem to be here right now. I should probably get the book and read it, but I’m already sold on the idea, and I have stacks of books to read already.

  43. I think that Riverdaughter envisions we would continue to support candidates with donations and by writing about them on the blog–as we have done in the past. Those of us who live in particular states could recommend candidates for the group to support. For example, recently I argued that Martha Coakley would be an excellent replacement for John Kerry if he were appointed to SOS. Of course it looks like we’re stuck with Kerry now…

  44. bb
    I thought you were telling me to go read the book!
    I’ve been madly distributing the WEDO stuff madamab linked to in her post.
    It’s brief, to the point, and I “get it”
    It doesn’t answer any of the questions about what we PUMA’s are planning to do as a group to make the 30% solution happen.
    That’s where I have questions.
    Talk to you after class!

  45. For me it’s like this:

    Any woman has my vote by default and has to do something to lose it.

    Any man will NOT have my vote by default whether due to party or ethnicity — he will have to EARN my vote.

    What will make a woman candidate lose my vote?
    I don’t have a full list yet but definitely proven corruption is on the list. If she has proven untrustworthy, if she has proven that she will use sexist attacks against other women — that will probably lose my vote too.
    Disagreeing with me on issues though will not necessarily lose her my vote. What the other party should do then is smarten up and run a woman against her who agrees with me on issues. Then I can choose the better of two women.

  46. crap
    vicc, you sure are persistent. or maybe obnoxious would be a better word!

  47. I thought that Sino-peruvian lesbians did their PhD’s in architecture.

  48. vm


    I love that-a woman has my vote by default too!
    men, not so much.

    corruption and sexism are issues for me as well after what just happened this past year and I refuse to turn a blind eye.

  49. I am not sure how I feel just yet about the 30% —- I feel so betrayed by NOW, NARAEL, etc. I feel so betrayed by women who only think about “abortion” and that’s all they see us women as — a reproductive right —- and not a valued part of the food chain.

  50. The Republican party needs to embrace women. Right now they are the party of white men. White men are a minority in this country. It’s not a recipe for success.

  51. Yes, yes, YES!!!

    The Republican Party needs to reinvent itself, so they’re the ones to lobby for this. Democrats aren’t going to change a thing as all that wimmin hating just worked so wonderfully for them.

    This is how Norway got teh wimminz in Govt. Mind you, they’re 30+ years ahead of us … but we’ve got to start somewhere, right?

    A system of gender quotas was first adopted within the Socialist Left Party and the Liberal Party as far back as the 1970s. Today virtually all of the major Norwegian parties apply a gender quota system in nominations to elections as well as to the make-up of party-governing bodies at all levels. This quota system is voluntary and self-imposed.


  52. Why do we need the 30% solution? Why is it important to vote for women no matter what? A good reason to do so is to stop the Democratic myth building that only they are for women. If the myth continues we will never have 30% women in office and we will never have one as President. I wandered over to TalkLeft today and low and behold BTD has a post where he proclaims Obama to be a Feminist!


    This really needs to stop!

  53. As far as I am concerned, it”s only male candidates who have to prove themselves on the abortion issue. I don’t care if that’s a double standard, honestly.

  54. Sad news for anyone holding their breath for Republican Reinvention.

    Won’t happen any time soon.
    The hard core conservatives blame John McCain for their party loss.
    They want Mike Huckabee for 2012

  55. now, ladies-NARAL and NOW totally suck-we know this.

    But don’t get all crazy and hand the keys to your uteruses over to the boys, k?

  56. Yes, Votermom -that’s perfect.

    So too is BBs/RDs suggestion about writing about candidates on the blog.

    No Way -woman or not-to vote for Pelosi (or her daughter).

    I also like the idea of not voting for those people who have gone to elite schools all their lives.

  57. SOD

    maybe the Repubs will have a fake primary like we did and put Jindal in place..

    I saw a survey that showed over 60% of Repubs wanted Reverend Mikey.
    Can you imagine?

  58. Again, Indians have addressed this issue by having quotas for women. Looking at the elections here and with what Hillary and Palin had to go through, it will take decades before we have women on national ticket and reach parity in the Congress, let alone reach any kind of critical mass. It will take that long to undo the mess a patriarchal system has created. We need quick and fast solutions and I don’t mind a quota system. I am still surprised at the lack of dismay among women about what happened in this presidential elections. They gave away the farm without using their leverage. They want to pretend they are sophisticated (with that “not this woman” line) but they are no less backward than many other cultures they look down on.

  59. Thank you madamab for clarifying some points, and for posting those links at my blog. I’ll read them tonight when I get home.

    I personally am willing to support any initiative that puts more women in power. In my local elections I typically vote for women, regardless of party, unless their views are in such opposition to mine that I just can’t do it.

    The only opportunity I’ve had to vote for a woman on the national ticket before 2008 was when Liddy Dole ran for Edwards’ seat. No way I was voting for her. She was a complete disaster as our Senator.

    I also know quite a few women who didn’t vote for Bev Perdue or Kay Hagan because of the PUMA principle; they both endorsed Pampers early, and for no good reason.

    I wonder how people feel about that. Did anyone vote against women this year because of their backing BO?

    I wrote on my blog, and here that my concern, more like a fear, is women voting against women’s interests in the name of their party. I say this in the context of the “Women for Change” Senators that were so willing to stab Hillary in the back, months before the Convention. It was painful to see them gush about the Misogynist-elect when they knew full well what he did.

    Now I’m understanding that this is not the yard-stick. I keep seeing things in the context of 2008. I’m not going to be letting go of my anger about what happened to HRC for a long time. It’s the prism through which I see a lot of what’s coming down the road, and why I hope we devote a lot of energy up front to getting our ducks in a row as a political force. I don’t want to get sandbagged again.

    And I like the idea of petitioning the parties to run more women on their slates. The more they run, the better. Considering the energy Gov. Palin created this year I suspect the R’s are already thinking about this. I’d like to say the same for the D’s, but who knows where they’re going to land.

    I’m just tired of ideologues, regardless of their gender. But then, I’m an idealist. Maybe too much for my own good.

  60. Somebody try to hijack this thread?

    For a group that only consists of 2-3 people and their sockpuppets we sure get lots of attention

  61. Jmac,

    I don’t consider the Democratic Party the party of women either. Frankly, Dems, as Janet Jackson said a while ago “What have you done for me lately?” The only thing you can say about the Dems is that they are the party of men. Doesn’t matter what color you are, as long as you have a d*ng. (a little crude, but still the truth)

  62. state … I absolutely believe that Jindal will be the frontrunner in 2012. It’s like “I see your Obama and raise you a Jindal.”

    So annoying!

  63. But just think if Hillary/Obama had won! The Repubs would’ve been falling over themselves to recruit women and minorities.

    Huge missed opportunity :0(

  64. Hi! (waving) I had an eye appointment this morning and can’t see squat this afternoon.

    May never vote for another man again.

    (back to lurking)

  65. I can easily vote for a woman with whom I disagree, if my choice is her or a male candidate. I voted for Palin, and it felt good.

    I have also voted for plenty of men who were my 2nd, 3rd or even 4th choices. And voting for men never helped any so called “woman’s issue” that I can remember. And most women I know are in the same camp regarding health care, war, education. So even as a default, forgetting about abortion, we end up having common ground on many issues.

    As for the women currently in office, perhaps as such a minority, they had to choke down some things they might rather have supported in order to get elected by the majority.

    I accept and expect campaign rhetoric in opposing forces even if both candidates are women. But one thing I cannot forgive, and that is any woman using sexism as a tool to promote herself over another woman.

    And that goes for you, Nancy, Maureen, Campbell, Rachel…….

  66. Okay, there are a number of problems with this conversation. Foremost is the fact that we’re mistaking correlation for causation. The studies in question did not establish causation- they found that a high representation of women in office was CORRELATED to better representation of “women’s issues” (quotations, because frankly, I can’t think of any issues that are of concern only to women). Both the representation of women’s issues and of women in office could both have been driven by a third variable: for instance, a more equitable society. This isn’t to say that electing more women won’t help. But we do need to stop thinking that it is the only thing that needs to happen.

    Secondly, we are conflating pushing for more female candidates with voting uncritically for them. That’s a mistake. It is a perfectly valid strategy to vote for women across the board, regardless of policy stances or party affiliation. But it isn’t the only strategy, because “women’s issues” are not only respected by female candidates, and because not all female candidates are big on “women’s issues”.

    It is worth noting that there will be a Republican running in every race, and every one of them is likely to have a Republican perspective on women’s issues. So given the choice between having a male republican candidate and a female republican candidate, both of whom are anti-choice and anti-ERA? I’d rather that republicans vote for the female republican candidate. It’s unlikely the Republican party is going to start running Democratic candidates, after all. I’d like to see BOTH parties start running more female candidates. My voting patterns will still be determined on a case by case basis, but at least this way I (and everyone else in the country) has a better chance at having the option of voting for a woman. But voting for and having the option of voting for are two different things.

  67. Catarina, you might be right about the Repubs running Huckabee in ’12, but he’s going to scare away most anyone that’s not a Jeezus freak. I’m feeling like Obama’s unbeatable in ’12 as he’ll just blame everything on the mess the Bush admin left behind.

    But come 2016 (eeeeee, that makes me feel old), both parties will be in a panic to reinvent themselves. Finally, the year of the woman?

    Sorry … didn’t mean to ruin anyone’s day. Just my humble opinion.

    I’ll shut up now.

  68. On the upside of Summers appointment, it looks like three of the five person ecomonic team thus far are female. They should be able to disabuse him of the notion that females and numbers don’t mix pretty fast.

  69. There’s a whole helluva lot we need to “ask” of the parties!

  70. myiq2xu, on November 24th, 2008 at 2:50 pm Said:
    You crack me up!

  71. Palin will have my vote in 2012 if she runs again. I like her and I think that I have gotten to my “tipping point.” It’s time to let a female get a crack at problem solving. At the very least she won’t pretend I’m frivolous and that reproductive choices are being made frivolously. Her group seems to grasp the concept that this is not about women just being to lazy to be put on birth control but about incidences like domestic violence or economics. I appreciate that and look forward to seeing if we can find a middle ground.

  72. NARAL and NOW do suck. They have been the ones handing the key to our uteruses to the boys. Not me.

  73. I don’t think it will be Huckabee. Jindal sounds more likely.

  74. Sandra S. – With all due respect, I disagree with your first point.

    You will have to prove the existence of some other reason for womens’ issues coming to the fore every single time more women are elected in government. I doubt that each of the 22 countries that have reached and/or exceeded the 30% critical mass all have some common factor that no one has yet discovered.

    Shtuey – thank you for listening.

  75. And catarina – Carolyn Maloney herself does not tell people how to vote, or advocate a “women-only” voting strategy. See my interview where I asked her about this (scroll down – it’s the final question).

  76. Oh, and SOD – I think that the “how” IS very important and should be discussed.

    That said, I think we should stay away from endorsing any particular candidate as a PAC, unless that candidate has been thoroughly vetted. But as for our own votes, we should do what we feel is best.

  77. SOD – I think quotas will be hard to push in America. While they are clearly the most successful strategy, we are very independent here and do not take kindly to being told we “have” to do anything. That being said, I wouldn’t have any problem with trying to implement them.

    As I stated above, my idea is to get many more women in the pipeline by using our power as a possible voting bloc to pressure the Parties into putting more women candidates on their slate in 2010. That would be one step.

    We could also work with WomenCount.org to get more women in local elections.

    This is all up for discussion and the details do indeed need to be worked out. I am not sure if PUMA is going to be an advocate of this approach, but it seems to have fired some imaginations.


  78. I’ve been voting for women whenever I could for a couple of decades — though there were few on the ballot. In the last year I did not choose one woman who clearly did not have the experience for the job (my alleged primary reason for voting FOR Hillary) along with her incredible intelligence and knowledge. Deep down I think, of course, that I really, really did want to see a woman in the Presidency. In the general election in my state, I chose McCain/Palin, skipped a couple of races because I didn’t like any of the options, and then voted for as many women as I possibly could after looking at their qualifications. (In the end, I only left one woman off the list because I knew she would adversely affect the school textbook problems we have in this state.) I felt good about having the opportunity to vote for so many women. Many of them won, too.

    Anyway, I do think we must reach critical mass and that includes influencing the parties to run women. (Also, way back when, the Republicans were the party of equal rights for women.)

  79. madamab, I love what you’ve had to say pretty much every time you’ve touched a keyboard. But its basically impossible to firmly establish causation in social sciences research. My point isn’t that the 30% solution won’t help, my point is that it seems far more likely that underlying societal values of respect for women and egalitarianism are driving this greater representation, rather than the simple physical presence of women. I’m not arguing whether this is a good idea, I’m wondering whether we should also be exploring other courses of action to pursue simultaneously that would help change the underlying values of American society on a memetic level.

  80. what if the woman candidate gets really bad cramps…
    Or how about if her daughter doesn’t listen to her and so she gets pregnant at an early age? What if her husband cheats on her? After all our new first lady said “you can’t run the white house if you can’t run your own house”.

  81. If everyone could take a brief break I’d appreciate some prayers for my family. I just got off the phone with my sister. Yesterday, my brother drank and then took 60 clonopin. He is in a hospital on a ventilator. There is talk about a Do Not Resuscitate order being given.

  82. sandra s… voting for women (and I plan to vote for ONLY women, so my g-damn party better start nominating some more of them) is the ONLY way women will get equal power.
    Hell men have been doing it for centuries.
    What will change society is MORE WOMEN IN ELECTED OFFICE.

  83. Sandra S. — regarding your knowledge of social science research — why did society adopt such disrespectful memes for women. (I know the stereotypical attitudes, but why did these profoundly tyrannical memes come about ? I keep thinking it must be much more than the patriarchal leadership alone. (Am I getting too far off-course on this question?)

  84. {{{{CWALTZ}}}}

    I am so sorry. I will pray for you and your family. Please let us know what happens

  85. Sandra S. – We will have to agree to disagree on the social causation angle.

    However, my vision for PUMA is not limited to just the 30% Solution. I absolutely agree that many different avenues will need to be pursued in order to help elevate the status and respect for women in America. There’s the media angle – holding them to account for the misogyny; the government angle – getting the ERA ratified; the education angle – getting women into the history books and making sure our young girls know about the important contributions women have made to society – etc. etc. etc.

    There is also election reform, the breakup of media monopolies, and restoring the Constitution. Those issues are of paramount importance to many PUMAs.

    That is why I think PUMA has such great potential. There are already so many talented people and deep thinkers and activists in our movement. Why not have an umbrella organization that is dedicated to certain goals, and then people who believe in those specific goals can band together and pursue actions to make them a reality.

    I am hoping this type of organization is where we are going. I would like to be inclusive, not exclusive.

  86. {{{Sending good vibes to CWaltz}}}}

    That is just terrible. I am so sorry to hear that.


  87. Thank you. He has a good soul. How we grew up and the alcoholism just seem like they are too big a hurdle for him to overcome. He had tried to do this twice before. I’m devastated that we were unable to get him te help he needed.

  88. CWaltz – I hope you are not blaming yourself. This was his decision.


  89. NEW POST UP – Open thread!

  90. New thread, lighter subject

  91. Madamab — I basically agree that the major issues you cited need to be addressed by the Pumas — and I lean toward an umbrella organization, too, although I noted yesterday that some truly discounted that idea. Still, women’s equality, the Constitutional and media issues as well as election reform all pertain to women and the future of everyone in the country. It seems to me that the Pumas are capable of determining the common goal and prioritizing timely actions in several areas.

    I still like the idea, too, of it as the un-Party, but stimulus for a powerful coalition and huge voting bloc.

  92. (((CWaltz)))

  93. Yesterday, amidst the cacophony I suggested, repeat suggested, a measuring stick for “causes” to be taken up by us. And yes, even though I am junk-challenged, I consider myself Puma.

    For any cause, I suggested a measuring stick of logo, pathos and ethos. For instance, this is the way it would work in analysizing Madamab’s 30% solution.

    Logical — the 30% solution means better decisions and better solutions for everyone.

    Emotional — people, repeat people, not just women, feel deeply about it.

    Ethical — at the basis it is the way we treat one another when we decide we belong together. Treating people fairly is the right thing to do. Electing or appointing more women is right, just and ethical.

    I really want us to have a common language to analyze causes because without a common language we will spend lots of time talking past one another. Perhaps I’m beating a dead chihuahua here, but I really feel strongly on this.

  94. You have our deep prayers, cwaltz, this is a very hard thing for anyone to go through and we wish the best for you. We have experienced this with a friend (he recovered) and we also have been through DNR twice with brothers. Very hard.

  95. CWaltz, I’m so very sorry and your family members are in my thoughts. Please take some time for yourself.

  96. CWaltz, you’re in my prayers.

  97. {{{{{CWaltz}}}}} I just got home and saw this. I’m so terribly sorry. I will be praying for you and your family. Please take good care of yourself in this difficult time.

  98. cwaltz, I would not wish addiction on my worst enemy. My son is an addict and alcoholic. His drug of choice is Heroin. I give up, he has been to many many programs and I no longer dread the day someone calls me to tell me he is dead because I know I can not do a damn thing to change it. It it happens it happens and if it does not, I am no longer living as a captive to his unwillingness to do what is needed to change his life.

    I hope your brother survives and that this time something clicks in his head and he gives it all up finally.

  99. CWaltz
    I don’t know you, but you have all my empathy… A friend of mine lost two of her children to suicide. Please take care of yourself and, if you cannot talk with family or friends, as it was and still is for my friend, seek out those on the “outside”, ok? Please.

    Best Regards,
    _ _

  100. What catarina is not saying about that poll. 61% said Huckabee should run but 64% said that Palin should run.

    Final preference was not actually polled in the one I saw, but when it is, Palin comes out on top.

  101. Cwaltz, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s situation. I hope that things turn out okay, and that your brother comes out of this getting the help he needs with his family’s support.

    Madamab, your vision of PUMA sounds about perfect to me, and I’m proud to consider myself part of this movement. I’m just being nitpicky, and clearly it isn’t helping anything.

    Alwaysthinking, I have no idea why misogyny is so memetically strong. I think it has to do with the fact that men really benefit quite a lot from male privilege. But at the same time, we are all hurt in myriad ways by sexism. I think one way to win male allies to our cause and to find a strong meme to promote more egalitarian values is to do a cost benefit analysis of gender as it functions in our culture. As projects go, that’s pretty huge in terms of scope. But in the long run, its work that is well worth doing, I think. If we can show people quantitatively that sexism hurts us all, we might win some support. I think the bottom line really is that we all need to embrace the best of both genders. Everyone can benefit from nurturing personality traits like assertiveness and compassion and rationality and communicativeness. I think Sandra Bem had the right idea when she talked about raising gender aschematic children. Let me know if you want me to go into this, as its potentially off topic.

  102. votermom: “For me it’s like this:

    Any woman has my vote by default and has to do something to lose it.

    Any man will NOT have my vote by default whether due to party or ethnicity — he will have to EARN my vote.”

    This is where I stand right now. It’s something I’d decided on months before I found the Confluence and read about the 30% solution.

    Men have been doing this for EVER. Why should women be held to a different standard? Frankly, to keep them in patriarchy’s thrall.

    It was very frustrating last night to be distracted by a straw woman “r@cist serial killer” argument. As I pointed out then, Cynthia McKinney WAS accused of being a r@cist, as was Hillary! Every female candidate running was smeared during the election.

    The sexist free-for-all was a disgusting spectacle. It must be addressed and we need to find effective vehicles for denouncing the entities (MSM, DNC) and the individuals (Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann) who instigated and perpetuated the attacks on Hillary and Palin AND their supporters. Further, we must continue to hold these misogynist drum beaters’ feet to the fire.

  103. CWaltz, I’m holding you in the light.

  104. Republicans will never go for a mandate that would create such quotas – also, it the Supreme Court has declared such quotas, even voluntary ones, to be illegal.

    If memory serves me correctly, the cases were Grutter v Bollinger, and Gratz v Bollinger. The irony, it was Sandra Day O’Connor who wrote the opinion.

  105. Sandra S. — I am very interested in what you’re saying. I don’t know whether others on this blog have that interest, but I would love to hear it! Maybe MadamaB or Riverdaughter could give us some guidance here.

    It seems to me we have been fighting so hard and so long and moving forward only by tidbits. I do think we have to advance this most important cause on multiple fronts — and what you’re saying could offer important substance.

  106. Hi, I do not know how many people are participating or reading this thread anymore… I have recently been learning about the PUMAs, and I am interested in what direction the PUMAs will take now that the election is over.

    The first thing that really attracted me to the PUMAs is that everyone abandoned their political parties to follow their moral standard. “Principle before party” as the slogan goes. The second thing that attracted me was the pro-woman stance; I think I finally have a feminist group I can admire and wish to participate in.

    Now, I’ve read the thread about the Tipping Point, and I have read some other recent threads. I would like to offer my own hopes/ideas for the PUMAs after reading the thread.
    I think what our country really needs is for a new political party to gain power. I think both parties are so deep in corruption that a new party – not reform – is really what’s needed. The problem is too big for the reformers in each party to solve entirely. A new party that has as much momentun and appeal as the PUMAs – 18 million in just a few months – will take away the voting base of the Democrats and Republicans.
    Now, each party has a variety of agendas – a social agenda, an economic agenda, a foreign policy agenda, etc. The majority of us agree the social agenda should be pro-woman. All agendas have equal importance within the party. Someone early in the Tipping Point threat mentioned having a few subgroups dedicated to different issues within the PUMAs; I think this is a great idea.

  107. cwaltz, holding you tight from here. xxxooojoanie

  108. Alwaysthinking, if you’re interested you should email me at pippini at gmail dot com. We can talk in more depth there.

  109. Why reinvent the wheel? There are already groups that work to recruit and fund women. Now, they even have such groups on the right as well as the left.

  110. I live in a city who, while not yet at 30%, is nearing it. We have 22% women local councillors and the Lord mayor is a woman. The quality of life has increased consideraly since she took office.

  111. After this campaign season, I am more committed to voting for women–no matter what party they are–than ever. I voted for McCain/Palin because I liked Sarah Palin; I was not necessarily like-minded on some of her policies, but I liked her style, her character, and her history of ‘coming from the people’ and not from an elitist background. I liked her authenticity, her openness, her genuine honesty–even when it’s gotten her in trouble. I also voted for her in reaction to the nightmarish sexism and misogyny from the media–which continues it’s offensive campaign to this day.

    I am now predisposed to support women candidates over male candidates in the future. I no longer have a party; but I have a gender. And, I intend to vote gender in the future, just as black voters voted race in this election. So, if the Republican Party wants my vote, they should consider that gender will be my overriding cause from here on out. I am sick to death of seeing old white men standing on stage, or sitting in front of congressional hearings, or seated in the congressional seats during those hearings, or issuing statements on government policies. But, I’m also sick of hearing about race, race, race from black voters, journalists, and pundits. It’s women, women, women for me from now on.

  112. I draw my 30% line at Liddy Dole and Jean Schmidt.

  113. I’m glad to see the Coultergeist post has been pulled. Thereis a great article in the Nov. 6th Berkeley Daily Planet “the Road to Social Change Doesn’t go Through Character Assaination” sorry I can’t link. Shame we can’t discuss that Coulter post really.

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