The overriding theme of Tuesday night’s primary coverage was that it was a big night for female politicians . But there is a noticeable dearth of rah-rah sisterhood going on (though the National Review is pretty excited).
I’m not surprised that the only primary race to be noted by Feministing is Kamala Harris’ victory in the Democratic race for California attorney general or that the comments on a straightforward who’s-who post at Jezebel are full of bile regarding Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. But it is disappointing that many liberal women don’t even seem to want the GOP to have strong female candidates. As Sara Libby wrote in Slate yesterday, "Do you still cheer if the ceiling is crashed by two conservative businesswomen?" To answer a question with a question, why not? (Especially in a primary.)
Here’s one reason to cheer. Conservative acquaintances ask me what it’s like to be in the minority at Slate . I tell them it’s great because it makes me think harder and sharpen my arguments; it challenges my assumptions. That’s the purpose of healthy debate. If the only women in politics are liberal, there’s not going to be much debate. And if a woman has to be pro-choice and pro-government and anti-business to be a palatable Republican, well, you just want Democrats in disguise.
Aside from Sharon Angle, who I don’t know much about but who appears to have some, let’s say ... unusual stances , the Republican women who won last night are pretty mainstream. Whitman is pro-choice . Haley is young and energetic and was a successful businesswoman before entering politics. Fiorina got bashed by some California conservatives for not being far enough to the right. They aren’t anything to get "terrified" about.
Amid the hate and fear in the comments of that Jezebel post was this , from commenter "ArtfulSlinger": "I must say that its exciting to finally be able to disagree with THIS many female politicians." Exactly.
Photograph of Fiorina supporters by David McNew/Getty Images.