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The NYTimes editorial fearmongering women for Obama

Maureen Dowd, one of only two females out of 12 op/ed columnists at the NYTimes

I guess the ladies will have to rescue Obama after all.  Today’s NYTimes editorial is all about those meanie Republicans who want to reinstate the Mexico City Rule and take away all our reproductive rights.

First, it should be noted that if you don’t want to lose your reproductive rights, don’t vote for downticket Republicans.  Oh, sure, there are pain in the ass anti-choice Democrats who should NEVER get another term but there are far, far more Republicans who are adamantly anti-choice.  And anti-labor.  And anti-consumer protections. And pro-neo-feudalism. And pro-war and authoritarianism.  And anti-Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  By the way, did you know that Medicare only got passed in the 60s when the number of Republicans in Congress was decreased to such an extent that they didn’t have the critical mass to obstruct it?  Yep, you can look it up.  Here’s a BBC-4 Witness segment on the birth of medicare and what it took to get it passed.

In short, just about everything Americans like had to be passed when Republicans were down for the count.  Otherwise, their method is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.  It’s what they do.  So, if you vote for a downticket Republican or a Tea Party Republican, that’s what you’re going to get.  They’re into austerity and redistributing wealth –upwards.

Does that mean you should vote always for the Democrat?  Well, until there are more third party downticket candidates, yeah, probably.  I don’t like it either.  But for sure, voting for a downticket Republican is going to mean more austerity for YOU and not for their rich friends.  You can choose to ignore the evidence and history if you want but them’s the facts.

Second, who is in the White House makes absolutely no difference this year.  I know Democrats say that it does but there’s no evidence of that.  We’ve had 4 years of Obama and he unmasked himself during the first debate.  He doesn’t fight for Americans.  He capitulates to Republicans.  He doesn’t exercise his veto pen enough and he was quite happy to leave the Bush Conscience Rule on the books.  Oh, sure, he tweaked it but he didn’t remove it.  And in my opinion, removing it is significant.  As long as the Bush Conscience Rule is around, women will never be sure that their reproductive decisions can’t be overridden by someone else.

Now, I understand why the NYTimes would be carrying Obama’s water.  It’s not that the Times is particularly liberal.  But the paper of record does tend to put a socially forward face on it’s wealth protection policies.  It doesn’t like to think of itself as backwards like the Republican bible-thumpers and who could blame it?  It’s gauche and stupid and deliberately ignorant to be a Republican supporter these days.  Sorry, Republicans, but that’s the truth.  Of course, none of that matters if you win, right?  Then you can shove your ignorance on everyone else and make them eat it and that will make you feel better.  But it means that you WILL impose austerity on everyone, including yourselves, if you vote for downticket Republicans.

But at the top of the ticket?  Makes not a damn bit of difference.  And the reason it particularly makes no difference to women is because no one has to take women seriously.  They can scream about reproductive rights until their blue in the face.  Without someone taking you seriously, you get nowhere. And in the past four years, no one has been taking women seriously.  And a lot of the blame for that can be attributed to the Democratic leadership.  They allowed a pattern of sexism to develop since 2008 that has been unprecedented.

Let’s just put aside the 2008 primaries where Obama routinely attempted to diminish his opponent by saying things like,” periodically when she’s feeling blue“* Hillary goes negative, it was Obama’s intention when he took office to make sure the jobs programs were tailored for men because he was concerned that they would feel bad if they were encouraged to go into pink professions like nursing (It’s in Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men).  And he also made the White House a “hostile working environment for women” (Anita Dunn said this in Suskind’s book)  He also ignored the advice of Christine Romer, Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren, each one of whom had to go through Tim Geithner to get anything done.  Tim Geithner, if I recall correctly, was one of the guys who piled on Brooksley Born, the head of the CFTC back at the end of the Clinton years who wanted to regulate derivatives.

Obama was the guy who hired Larry Summers who once famously said that women didn’t have the same intellectual capacity in math and science as men. (guys, don’t try to sugar coat this.  I’ve read the transcript and he sure as hell said that and meant exactly what he said.)

The whole atmosphere in the past four years has changed towards women.  Tell me, ladies, am I just imagining that?  Are men more likely to act like you don’t have a brain, treat you dismissively and cut you off in conversations?  I’m talking about just conversations on the phone not in person where they can’t see whether you are too old to pay attention to.  It’s gotten to the point where I’m already prepared to battle when I place a phone call.  I’ve seen it happen to women at work and just casually.  We have lost whatever mojo we fought so hard to get over the past 50 years.  No wonder the Republicans think they can run over our reproductive rights.  We don’t count anymore and there are very few champions in the Democratic party who are powerful or interested enough to stick up for us.  It would be nice if we had more women running for Congress this year as Democrats but even that is hard to find.  The Democratic leadership in Maine decided it would put their money behind a guy who wasn’t even in their party rather than run a woman from their side for the Senate seat that Olympia Snowe is vacating.

We can’t even get above 17% representation in Congress, which is one of the lowest female government representations in the developed world.  It shouldn’t be any wonder why nothing that is important to us gets passed.  We can’t get economic reforms we like, the jobs programs we like, the wars we hate to stop or protection of our social insurance programs.  No one takes anything we want seriously because we don’t have the critical mass in Congress to change anything.

We have fewer women in government than Pakistan

Voting for Obama isn’t going to change that.  In fact, the only thing that will change that is running more women for office and in order to do that, we need to get more authority. And in order to do that we need to have a greater voice in the opinion pages of the countries papers and online news sources.

And if that’s going to happen, maybe it should start with the New York Times, which has a male to female ratio of op/ed writers of 10:2.  That means that men are 5 times more likely to have their concerns represented on the New York Times editorial page every week than women.  And one of those women is Maureen Dowd whose schtick has been to pile on the women that the guys hate.  That seems to be a survival strategy. (And how did that work out, Maureen?)  I can’t think of one unambiguously feminist voice on the pages of the Washington Post or New York Times on a regular basis nor do I see any parity at all when it comes to representation.

So, if the New York Times feels so strongly about the fate of women’s reproductive rights, now would be a good time to add more women to its editorial lineup.  May I suggest dumping Douthat or Brooks?  Or both?  Then, hire someone like Digby. I’m a little tired of the Ezra Kleins, Kevin Drums and Matt Yglesias types getting all the peach positions.  It’s time for the New York Times to practice what it preaches and hire some women.

Otherwise, I can’t take it seriously.

*You know the level of sexism is bad when Andrea Mitchell notices.

34 Responses

  1. The only nationally syndicated female op-ed columnist worth anything is Cynthia Tucker. Dowd is another failed “journalist” in the mold of Chris Matthews. Her smear attacks of Al Gore and John Kerry are partly responsible for eight years of Bush the Lesser.

    • Remember when Dowd said that Gore was so in touch with his feminine side that he was practicallly lactating?
      That was helpful.
      Dowd reminds me of coaches who call their team members “ladies” when they fail to perform. That’s the worst insult you could hurl at someone, amirite?

      • Dowd, Matthews, Russert all share some responsibility for 911 and the exposure deaths post Katrina because their attacks on Gore and Kerry helped Bush the Lesser win. As does every other “journalist” that jumped on the smearwagon.

        Same could be said of the Obama failure.

    • Oh, I don’t know about that. I think MoDo is immensely gifted. She puts most of the other op/Ed writers to shame. I remember her column about that gay prostitute who got a press pass. Remember how he had posted a nude photo of himself and Dowd said it reminded her of a barbarini faun? No one does snark as well as she does.
      The problem is that Dowd was born on the wrong side of the generational divide in the boomer set. She was just a bit too old to take advantage of an educational system that didn’t limit girls. Plus she was raised catholic. Those two things made her very useful to the village so she didn’t put her talents in the service of other women.
      I guess if you’re that talented and there aren’t a lot of newspapers that will let you write for them for money, then you need to play the game to get in. But you won’t break any glass ceilings.

      • Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon were immensely gifted too. Their talents were enough to get them to the top of their chosen profession. I hold Maureen Dowd in the same high esteem.

  2. Yves from Naked Capitalism.

  3. In addition to Digby, also Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla and Marcy of emptywheel and Pamela of Groklaw.

    All way more informative and insightful than any NYT writer except Krugman, or any of the usual stable of Big Male Bloggers.

    • Oh, I should also make an exception for Kristof. Does much good work.

    • Um, while I think Susie is a pretty good writer, I’m not so sure about emptywheel.
      Digby really should have a major paying gig. She puts the young twerps to shame.

      • Why not sure about emptywheel?

        • You know how every so often there is a story about someone not getting a job because of the stuff that’s on their Facebook page? I would NEVER hire Emptywheel just because of what she’s posted on Twitter. Her tweets are so mean-spirited and nasty, I couldn’t take it. I had to stop following her. The benefit I got from knowing what was probably coming from other sources later (she IS a bell weather) just wasn’t worth the pain. She is a mean girl.

  4. RD:
    Another great post.
    Specially good for bringing up the problem to the core; the lack of women’s representation in congress and women’s participation in the political process in our country.

    And yes, we have lost a huge ground since the boy-man in chief came into the political scenario. Do you care to elaborate why so?

    Dowd fell from grace for me since her none-supportive and cynical writings on Hillary during the 2008 primaries.

  5. When at Harvard, women protested that the Law Review didn’t have the number of women representing them, Obama wrote that it was okey-doke for him to benefit from affirmative action, but not women.

    As I stated in the first Record article, we decided last year as a body that based on the percentage of women in the Law School and our previous success of attracting a large number of women to editorial and leadership posts at the Review, an affirmative action program for women was unnecessary. Because of the drop-off of women editors this year, that policy is subject to change if the majority of Review editors think it’s appropriate. In the meantime, we’ve been in contact with members of the WLA [Women’s Law Association] to ensure that we effectively recruit women to participate in this year’s competition.


    • Clearly, from his letter, we can say that Obama rejected the idea of “binders full of women” when he was at Harvard.

    • I can’t say I’m surprised by his attitude. It’s exactly the same one he’s always had. But I am surprised that this is the first, the very first, I’ve heard about him putting it into writing.

      Pretty much puts in bold RD’s point that women don’t count.

    • Like in every other endeavor, Obama let others make the hard decisions.

      we decided last year as a body

  6. I don’t get why the Obama campaign think that attacking Romney’s “binder full of women” is a winner for the Democrats. 🙄


  7. I think RD deseres a paying gig. No whining where the rivers join, just action.

  8. I agree with churl…we’re talking about women writers who should be writing for money…what about YOU RD!!! You’re one of the smartest, wittiest, sarcastic and knowledgable(sp?) of all the people I read. And I read you everyday, sometimes twice or three times a day!! As far as I’m concerned, you should be putting yourself out there…you’re that good!

    • Flattery is delightful but I hate to edit. I’m never satisfied with what I write so I either never edit or edit continuously, which I’m guessing doesn’t work for most journals. That doesn’t mean I would be opposed to an offer but I suspect that the people who can make an offer would prefer to see more finished products.
      At least, that’s my gut feeling because there are plenty of published writers who don’t strike me as particularly talented but their nouns and verbs agree with a fair amount of consistency.

  9. Whenever I am being served with Roe and SCOTUS arguments for voting for Obama I usually remind people that in his SOTU and many times after he declared “choice ” not to be a right, but a moral issue.

  10. Maureen Dowd unfortunately put style front and center in politics the way David Broder put temperament. So we have bland, well dressed empty suits running for President.

    I frankly don’t understand what the political parties are doing when it comes to women candidates for Congress, Governor and President. Take the west coast, the area with the best record of electing women to office. In California, a majority of the Democrats elected to the U.S. House and Senate are women. But this year, well, four districts have no incumbent running and none of the eight candidates is a woman.. In the 17 districts where Democrats are running against incumbent Republicans in California, only three women are running. Btw, two of the three are rated to have a good chance of winning. Dumb or worse??

    The record in other areas is far worse. As I keep saying, Iowa’s record is terrible. Why should a non-representative state that has never had a woman as Governor, Senator or U.S. Representative (only Mississippi can claim the same) be given such an out sized role in selecting the President.?

    • It’s pretty bad here in nj as well. There are 0 women in the congressional delegation. No congresswomen, no female senators. And it’s been this way ever since I came here to live 2 decades ago. We’ve had one female governor in that time. She was a Republican.
      This is really pathetic. I asked a local Democratic Party organization leader why there wasn’t a woman candidate running in our district and his answer was, “women never ask to run”, to which I pointed out that they have to be mentored just like the guys are. He didn’t see what the problem was. I told him I’d have a hard time voting Democrat until he got a clue.
      So, I really think we need to start our own party and build in a gender quota.

      • Is that the person who went on to serve Bush the Lesser by assuring Gothamites the WTC tower dust was safe?

        • Was Christie Todd Whitman the governor of New Jersey of whom you speak? If so, she did go on to become Bush’s EPA chief, which post she took advantage of to lie about the “non-hazardous” nature of all that Twin Towers dust.

  11. Most of the women elected in NJ to higher office are Republicans: a Governor, the current Lt. Gov. and three US House members. The only Democratic woman elected in the last 50 years was the wife of a former Governor, Helen Meyner. She was elected in the Watergate election and was re-elected just once. That sucks.

    Interestingly, Rutgers has a Center for American Women in Politics that has state by state current totals/

    • Just to clarify, there are no US Congress members who are women currently and there haven’t been for almost a decade. Zero. You can check. The last one was Marge Roukema whose last term of office ended in 2003. Since then? All men, all thirteen of them and both senators.
      You’d think we were living in a hyperreligious third world country but no, it’s just new jersey.
      Oh, and cellphone signal sucks here.

  12. Maine currently is the only state with a majority of its congressional delegation being women (3 of 4). That of course will end next January. However, Hawaii is likely to replace it with both candidates for a Senate seat being women (the Dem is favored) and a Democratic woman favored to fill a House seat where the incumbent woman is running for the Senate. That’s it. One of 50 states. New Hampshire could have an all woman delegation but the two House races are up for grabs.

    Among large states, California has 19 women in the House and 2 in the Senate (38%) while New York has 9 in the House and 1 in the Senate (32%). NJ is down there with Virginia and Georgia although each has had a woman more recently.

    New Jersey ranks right at the bottom in getting money back from the Feds, about 61 cents on the dollar for each dollar paid in federal taxes. It’s not that it isn’t needed either. NJ paid for its own Parkway and Turnpike and the Passaic and Raritan rivers often overflow while that incredibly corrupt and inept Army Corps of Engineers blocks doing anything.

    Get me going. Women run for office (for the most part) more cheaply. Women are more reliable votes in the Congress. No Max Baucuses there. Less corporate. There are exceptions. Linda McMahon is spending a fortune again in CT (a Republican) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) keeps losing despite establishment money and backing. Maybe she’ll win this time.

  13. One more thing. New Jersey has had more Frelinghuysens in Congress (6) than women (5). Four of the Frelinghuysens were US Senators and two were elected to the US House. One of the Senators was also a member of the Continental Congress. The current count is Frelinghuysens 1, women none as Rodney has been in the U.S. House since 1995..

    The wording here is deliberate. The four Frelinghuysen US Senators (Frederick, Theodore, Frederick Theodore, and Joseph Sherman Frelinghuysen) all served before the popular election of US Senators

    Marge Roukema, btw, was driven out of office by constant primary challenges funded by the Club for Growth. She kept winning but gre tired of the hassle and was replaced by ideologue Scott Garrett. Yes, outside money from the plutocrats is one of the pillars of patriarchy.

  14. There’s your best evidence yet of how useless, and maybe even counterproductive, all the “war on women” crap was. They turned Romney into such a gargoyle over the summer that once women finally got to see him in action at the debate, the scariness seems to have melted away almost instantly. Incidentally, Romney’s also up by a point in CNN’s new poll of Florida , the seventh(!) poll in a row showing him ahead in that state. Ace’s co-blogger/poll-cruncher CAC thinks that state’s now in the bag for Mitt , but of course Obama won’t abandon it since the resulting headlines would look brutal. With Florida in Romney’s column, he stands at 235 electoral votes; if you think he’ll eke it out in Virginia and Colorado too, then bump him up to 257. That leaves him needing 13 EVs, which he can get from one or more of Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6), or of course Ohio (18). Those first two will be very tough, even with Romney’s surge in PA, and he’s actually never led in a poll in the next two . Winning NH and IA won’t get him over the hump without more, so … yeah, it might be Ohio or bust. Cross those fingers.

  15. Something about successful female politicians that brings out the skinny bitches who just hate to see them exist. That’s how Obama got elected

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