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If Iceland can accept a gay woman as head of state, why does that seem so unimaginable for the United States?

(Cross-posted at Founder’s Blog, 51 Percent and Heidi Li’s Potpourri.)

Time for another thought experiment (admittedly, one not far removed from recent and present realities). Imagine if the United States were facing an unprecedented financial-social crisis, the makings of which had been brewing for years and the solutions to which were far from obvious. Suppose the mood of the country favored genuine unity. Genuine unity, of the sort that Churchill asked of the British people as they faced years of grueling warfare against Nazi Germany; deep social cooperation to solve deep  problems, not just starry-eyed rhetoric penned by a twenty-seven year old.

Suppose that the U.S. had a well-respected political leader available, one with a history of successfully addressing problems of social welfare, the sort of problems that the economic crisis will generate and exacerbate and which will have to be addressed if the the social – and therefore, economic- fabric of the country are to be restitched.

To this point in our thought experiment it might seeem quite obvious that the U.S. would turn to this leader. But now, include these variables: this leader is 66 years old and looks and acts consistent with that age; this leader is a woman; this leader is openly gay and has listed her domestic partner on official websites since such websites have been in place; this leader is a highly ambitious politician, somebody who sought to develop and cultivate her own political following, although also has shown the ability and willingness to work with and across political dividing lines.



Try to figure out which variable would most weigh against this person as the choice to lead the United States in time of such crisis.

Apparently, none of them are preventing Iceland from coalescing around Johanna Sigardardottir as the Iceland’s choice for its next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Europe: The almost equal gender balance of AMs in the Welsh assembly has transformed how politics in Wales is conducted, according to a new report.

73 Responses

  1. ty heidi, great news! making my decision to seek a position elsewhere seem more appealing all the time

  2. absolutely fascinating Heidi Li.

    thank you.

  3. I know that it’s just too easy to “go there” when it comes to women politicians, but, man, that is seriously gorgeous hair.

  4. she does seem to GLOW doesnt she Sweetsue?

  5. I read that Sigurdardottir was a flight attendant before she became a public servant. I think her being gay is not the only variable that would end her political career were she in the US. Her once being a flight attendant would also be a liability and would be used to ridicule her (imagine what the likes of Axelrod would cook up). Just as we saw how Hillary’s tenure as First Lady was ridiculed. So what is at work here? I think it is mostly misogyny but also some elitism. I remember how disparaging of Palin the media/bloggers were as to how she cobbled together a degree by attending community colleges (and also that she fished for a living at some point). How pedestrian and unenlightened! However, this elitism is so much more forgiving when one is male –which brings me back to misogyny….

  6. Meanwhile, back in Washington at The Alfalfa Club dinner, Obama displays his usual egotistical, arrogant, boorish manners towards the hosts and guests there.

    From: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0109/18247.html

    But Change has come to Washington, and the
    Alfalfas may not carry the swat they once did—something Obama wasn’t shy about good-naturedly pointing out.
    “In just the first few weeks, I’ve had to engage in some of the toughest diplomacy of my life,” he said. “And that was just to keep my BlackBerry. I finally agreed to limit the number of people who could e-mail me. It’s a very exclusive list. How exclusive? Everyone look at the person sitting on your left. Now look at the person sitting on your right. None of you have my e-mail address.”

  7. The U.S. definitely needs a woman in charge. I wouldn’t care if she was gay. That doesn’t have anything to do with a brain and common sense.

  8. The US MSM and political powers aren’t ready for a female as VP or POTUS, as we’ve seen. The anything other than hetero would be yet another disadvantage — and so would any age old enough to have garnered that valuable experience.

    OTOH, the US voters have already shown they’re more than ready for a qualified female to be POTUS, even with all the MSM hatred arrayed against that candidate.

    I suspect the actual age could still be a problem w/voters as the US is by large an age-ist society — tho not to the insane level of the MSM.

  9. Hi Heidi!

    Thank you for your kind words downthread. I did reply back to you.

    As for the thought experiment – I WOULD LOVE IT.

    The variable? I’d say that in a collapsed economy, the person would have to have great executive and economic understanding and experience.

    Would a woman like Johanna (regardless of party) with her leadership, her experience and understanding of the country’s needs be able to help us bounce back – ABSOLUTELY.

    If it’s Nancy Pelosi, not so much. She, like President Obama possess zero courage and bold leadership to tilt the tides in favor of the common American citizen like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did.

  10. plainjane31:

    What a pompous dorky ass he is.

    He’s worse than Bush 2.0!!!!!!!!!!!

    No class whatsoever.

  11. O/T — Angienc2, are you there? I have a quick question for you. I am having a dolma emergency.

  12. Hi Heidi…did you by chance see the ERA idea angie and I came up with last night (well,…it was about 2am, but not a bad idea.)

    We were thinking that to start a new ERA movement, a series of full-page ads, stark white with big bold letters stating:

    “Under the Constitution, Women in the United States Have only One Right

    The Right to Vote”

    Most women do not understand this and it would be a great way to get attention. Or maybe it was just one of those 2am ideas. 🙂 What do you think..?

  13. Sorry – I missed the first mention of the idea. I love it. 51 Percent could be very useful in this campaign. One area in which I have expertise is the issue of Constitutional rights and how they are or are not given elevated protection in certain instances or for certain groups.

    Can you and Angie contact me directly and we can brainstorm about this?

    The website is going to have a spot called “Download Central” where ads, fliers, handouts etc can be downloaded and printed out for people to distribute and use as they like.

    I’d love to have a number devoted to the ERA.

  14. 51% – And I’m certain that all of the ads, fliers and handouts will be very well written and beautifully designed.

  15. will do Heidi

  16. Jadzia, on February 1st, 2009 at 5:18 pm Said:

    O/T — Angienc2, are you there? I have a quick question for you. I am having a dolma emergency.
    I’m not Angie and I’m not Greek but I have rolled a few in my life..what is the problem?

  17. Jadzia, on February 1st, 2009 at 5:18 pm Said:

    O/T — Angienc2, are you there? I have a quick question for you. I am having a dolma emergency.
    I’m not Angie and I’m not Greek but I have rolled a few in my life..what is the problem?

  18. sarahfdavis, on February 1st, 2009 at 5:46 pm Said:

    You know, I have the certainty myself.

  19. SHV: The rolling went fine, or about as fine as it could go given that my 2 year old was “helping.” I just did the simmering and am keeping them “holding” until dinner (I’m on the West Coast — it’s still mid-afternoon here). Here’s my question: Are they stored in the poaching liquid, or dry? I just took them out of the pot and put them in a Tupperware until dinner, but I am worried that they’ll be dessicated by then.

  20. Jadzia, on February 1st, 2009 at 5:59 pm Said:
    I have always taken them out and covered them. If they are no -meat then they are usually served cold…if they contain ground lamb they are served warm (slight re-heat in the micro-wave)…Angie may chime in and says I’m full of sh*t but that is the way a non-peri-Mediterranean does it.

  21. OT but I just saw this link on Yahoo re Work at home jobs( hiring now). Was that sm77 and who else who needed that kind of a job?


  22. I’m not Angie and I’m not Greek but I have rolled a few in my life..what is the problem?

    I’ve rolled a few too, but I prefer a bong.

    Should we be talking about this stuff here?

  23. Sorry, myiq. Thanks, SHV! Getting back ON topic, I read the article about the Welsh assembly and loved this quote, by an “anonymous male” politician:

    “We have fierce disagreement in group meetings but it is conducted with the complete absence of chest thumping and table thumping.”


  24. myiq2xu, on February 1st, 2009 at 6:07 pm Said:

    Michael Phelps would.

    Now get back to thought-experimenting.

  25. All I can say is that the new Golden Viking Prime Minister of Iceland has to start from scratch. Now everyone needs to get out of her way so she can do her job.

    And the description of the ‘thought experiment’ made me think of Hillary.

    Obama said it was time to put the toys away. I’m still wating for him to do that. He keeps trying to hypnotize his audiences with word suggestion. They either fall for it or get ticked-off. He did it again at the Alfalfa meeting/dinner.


  26. This country talks a good game about freedom and rights but when it comes to action to improve the lives of women and children not so much.
    Every social program for them has to fight for funds and beg for services that should be available to all.

    Nancy Pelosi is to women’s rights what Captain Ahab is to whales.



  27. Yeah he does word suggestion on his audiences. He says a string of words and then instructs his audience to do something..at Alfalfa dinner he told them to look to the right and then look to the left…that is inducing a hypnotic state. He pauses at the right moment when he speaks, which is always after he makes a subtle suggestion.
    For obama it’s not just words. It’s hypnosis.
    People need to be informed.

  28. plainjane31: THANK YOU for the heads up!

    I’m looking at them right now.!

  29. Interesting tlak about whether or not the US is ready for a gay/lesbian pres.

    There has been much talk about O not being the straightest guy out there. Hmmm, wonder what the reaction might be if it turned out that those in the ‘know” really did know. 😆

  30. sm77, on February 1st, 2009 at 6:44 pm Said:
    plainjane31: THANK YOU for the heads up!

    I’m looking at them right now.!
    Unfortunately half of the US is probably looking, too.

  31. rise_Hillary, on February 1st, 2009 at 6:25 pm Said:
    Whether it’s hypnosis or not, it sure is petty , self-aggrandizing, and spit-in-your-eye to everyone there.

  32. I wonder how long it will take for those who have to work with him to get fed up with his behavior.

  33. Joanelle
    Several media outlets are wondering the same thing about him and about his appointees:

  34. Bruuuuuce!

  35. Meanwhile, the MSM is slobbering over the fact that Obama gave Matt Lauer a pre-Superbowl interview, revealing such important facts as Obama’s support for the Steelers (it is fine for YOU RD, but this does not seem newsworthy re the President); and his hopes that there will be a college football playoff game. Honestly, the adolescent boyz worship of the kewl kid is truly appalling. Meanwhile, in an administration that seems increasingly full of tax evaders and grafters, here’s this on Daschle: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hKcJEw8d1rCegiLNxA85ewoJyqBgD9633R3G0

  36. It’s ok Heidi

  37. Heidi Li, on February 1st, 2009 at 8:17 pm Said:

    Heidi , I guess Obama also outed one of his secrret service guys by saying that he had a son playing in the NFL or maybe in tonight’s game. I tried to check it to see which, but it’s not there anymore. Surprise.

  38. Are any of you conversant with constitutional law — more so than is our ConLaw major SPOTUS (selected potus)?

    Somewhere (TL in the pre-Koolaid days?) I read that what we call the “right to vote” is not actually specified as such in the Constitution. (starts searching for online texts of the doc in question…)

  39. http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/02/01/heres-the-beef/

    See the belt-tightening at Obama’s party.

  40. Pumain Seattle–The 19th Amendment to the Constitution says that the right to vote cannot be abridged because of sex. So, in a way, it’s sort of a backhanded right.

  41. Hmm. (after perusing part of the text of the Constitution and of Amendment XIX for a while) Maybe I was thinking of the right to vote directly, instead of voting for electors who then pick the POTUS. Never mind.

    But curious that some amendments had 7-yr limits for ratification by states. Other amendments did not have limits. For example, amendment XXVII was originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992. That’s over 200 yrs later!
    Texts can by found:
    for any so interested.

  42. Ack, Sorry about the excessive italics up there.

  43. And thanks, grayslady. I posted before re-loading & reading.

  44. Discrimination takes on a different hue in Japan.


    Not all see the craze as harmless fun, and the Japanese now have a term, “bura-hara,” meaning blood-type harassment.

    And, despite repeated warnings, many employers continue to ask blood types at job interviews, said Junichi Wadayama, an official at the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry.

    “It’s so widespread that most people, even company officials, are not aware that asking blood types could lead to discrimination,” Wadayama said.

    “It’s simply sham science,” he said. “The idea encourages people to judge others by the blood types, without trying to understand them as human beings. It’s like racism.”

  45. PumaInSeattle, on February 1st, 2009 at 8:57 pm Said:
    IANAL..but from my reading, the right to vote is not straight forward. “vote” is not mentioned in the Constitution, the nearest “thing” is in Article I sec 2.. the House of Rep. as “chosen…by the people of the several States. Voting is addressed by Amendments XV, XVII, XIX, XXIV, XXVI, but there is no affirmatively granted right to vote.

  46. SHV, what you are describing sounds like the concept (or problem?) I was trying to track down. Thanks.

  47. As msakel on HL’sP commented, “And to think Canada has a constitutionally-entrenched gender equality clause since 1982….shame…”

    Yet another good reason to move up north. I work in nursing, so my job skills would transfer just fine. Unlike back in the mid-90s when RNs were being laid off right & left to “save” money. Sure saved money, but then patient mortality and morbidity rates shot up. Ooops.

  48. PumaInSeattle, on February 1st, 2009 at 9:30 pm Said:

    SHV, what you are describing sounds like the concept (or problem?) I was trying to track down. Thanks.
    A few more “crumbs” for the trail…The SCOTUS affirmatively addressed the “right to vote” in 1962 Baker v. Carr, 1964 Reynolds v. Sims, Then the SCOTUS “dropped a t*rd in the punch bowl” in 2000 Bush v. Gore. SCOTUS ruled that there was no constitutional right to vote in presidential elections.

  49. [i]plainjane31, on February 1st, 2009 at 6:07 pm Said:
    OT but I just saw this link on Yahoo re Work at home jobs( hiring now).[i]

    That listing for WorkingSolutions/transcriptionist sounds like a recipe for repetitive strain injury. You’re hired as a contract worker — so, no medical bennies for you.

  50. SHV, Aha! That SCOTUS 2000 decision sounds like it. A real sack o’ sh*t, that. But they damned men and women with that particular turd.

    Hmmm. Do we need to *(!# words like “turd” since they are colloquialisms for vulgarities? May now be considered vulgarities themselves.

  51. And obviously since I’m commenting so much, I must NOT be watching the StupidBowl. (ducks and runs for cover)

  52. Hmmm. Do we need to *(!# words like “turd” since they are colloquialisms for vulgarities? May now be considered vulgarities themselves.
    I don’t know but I don’t like being in spammy with Tr0lls.

  53. I got in a nice Puma zinger tonight.

    The conversation between my husband and elementary school-aged son veered toward Alaska, and thence to Sarah Palin and “I can see Alaska from my house”. After an appalling transmission of misogyny from father to son, the topic changed to Those Other Stupid People, the 38% who believe the world is 6000 years old.

    I got up, put my hand on my son’s back, and said, “The former president of Harvard, who is now in the Obama administration, thinks women can’t do math as well as men. So you see ignorance isn’t just in the lower classes, it’s in the upper classes, too!”

    He looked at me, then his dad, then said, “I think I’m done with my supper,” and cleared his place.



  54. PumaInSeattle, on February 1st, 2009 at 9:43 pm Said:

    Yes, when I posted that I wasn’t sure if anyone could actually get one of the more decent sounding ones, like one with benefits.

  55. ugsome> You should also have pointed out that this Harvard educated President thinks there are 57 states in the union.

  56. sm77 and others looking for a job:
    Gov. is holding job fairs in some parts of the country:

  57. ugsome — I believe Sarah did not actually say that; it was mis-reported. Imagine.

  58. SHV — typing “turd” did not land me in spamland (at least above time) with drooling Obots. I quote reality facts at them and that’s like garlic against vampires. ‘Cept Obots make a whole lotta noise when their brains try to wrap around logic before they burst.

  59. No, Sarah Palin did not say “I can see Russia from my house.” Tina Fey said it. Fey was referencing a rather lengthy answer Palin gave Charlie Gibson about US relations with Russia, which was heavily edited for broadcast by ABC. If you read the full transcript of what she said – she doesn’t say anything that’s not true. The point Palin was actually making is that Russia is an important partner for the US in many respects because it’s American’s next-door neighbor. In fact, I think Palin’s point was a very important one. Russia is not just some far-distant land you have to travel across oceans and all of Europe to get to. It’s right next door to us. Tina Fey summarized it with “I can see Russia from my house” and the media at large, and Obama-supporting public at large, widely attributes it to Palin.

  60. I was looking at birthday cards today, and there was one which had a front with a caricature of Hillary sitting behind a desk with the sign, “President of the United States”. The inside of the card said, “See, there are scarier things than getting older.” What the heck was that all about? I think the card was from American Greetings.

  61. Who owns American Greetings?

  62. Hey Confluence gang,

    Where is the “We told you so” headline on Daschle? Or, am I behind the times?

  63. Puma-SF,

    From their website:

    Founded in 1906, American Greetings is the world’s largest publicly owned creator, manufacturer and distributor of social expression products. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

    It looks to be a family company gone public since the Board Chmn., CEO and President and COO are all named Weiss.

  64. Well, I surfed the web a little, and I found another version of the card I saw by American Greetings. So the card with the Hillary spoof has at least two versions. Same crappy message.

  65. Ha! I’m laughing with you, ugsome!

  66. Who is “ghost2” ?

  67. Who is “ghost2″ ?

    The sequel to ghost

  68. Morning, y’all. Puxatawney Phil has seen his shadow. Bundle up.

  69. Belated warning: above linked site is conservative. I don’t think they understand “follow the money.”

  70. Someone pointed out that Phil couldn’t help but see his shadow with all the tv lights around.

    Poor Phil; let him sleep in peace.

  71. plural, agreed. Definitely animal abuse. Humans just can’t seem to leave well enough alone when there’s a buck to be made. Leave no money making opportunity unturned is a national motto!

  72. chatblu, on February 2nd, 2009 at 7:47 am Said:

    Morning, y’all. Puxatawney Phil has seen his shadow. Bundle up.

    that’s real interesting because I’ve notice the Goldfinches on my feeders are already starting to turn back to gold from their drab winter gray.

    I sent the American Greetings at their corporate headquarters an email letting them know that at least one of us out here found it offensive.

    ERA Today

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