Margaret , I'm having a hard time getting worked up about Rick Perry's dudes-only dinner. Maybe it's just that I'd rather listen to Pat Green (the post-dinner activity approved for the "wives/significant others") than dine on pheasant with the governor, but if I were dating a filthy-rich Rick Perry booster (unlikely), I'd be happy to be excluded from the sausage-fest.
I think the fundraiser and its unfortunately worded invitation are more about Rick Perry wanting to have a certain type of fun than an indication of how he feels about women in the public sphere. Social situations are just different--and, frankly, sometimes better--when they're sex-segregated. If the makeup of, say, Perry's campaign staff resembled the guest list for the pheasant feast, that would be a problem. But two of his four director-level staffers are female. Four of his 10 regional coordinators are women. He treated his Republican primary opponents--both of whom were female--with the utmost of seriousness.
Complaining about not being invited to a party would only undercut the assertion that women are a serious part of Texas' political life. That's an assertion that hardly needs to be made; Texas women have been a force in politics for a long time. We elected the country's second female governor in 1924, and in the early '90s, Ann Richards ruled the executive mansion (where she occasionally hosted women-only events). I'm glad Texas women haven't used this as an occasion to flog the governor. Besides, he's providing them with plenty of other material .
Photograph of Texas Gov. Rick Perry by Dave Einsel/Getty Images.