- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Twice in my political life, I have seen women take the political stage like “Cats” on Broadway. In both cases, politicians, pundits, professors and the people have gotten wholly engaged in a dialogue over the ever-evolving nature of femininity in our society. The first time women came to the forefront, dwarfing nearly every other issue, was during the Clinton presidential years.

During those battles, the nation was not only debating under the auspices of then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton but also was trying to rectify that conversation with the scandals of her husband, President Clinton. Feminists took sides, as did the nation. In the end, the bulk of influential feminists rested in the Clinton camp rather than on the side of the less cosmopolitan and less powerful ladies with whom Mr. Clinton had had relations. The long fight for equality and harassment-free lives was forgotten shortly for quaint and humorous use of the word “peccadilloes.”

The second time gender flipped the political stage was this summer. Certainly, Mrs. Clinton took the first steps, but the great crescendo has been with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Once again, the forces of liberalism are turning their backs in the name of political expediency. Time and again, Mrs. Palin has brought out the most visceral reactions, and supporters of Sen. Barack Obama have not resisted the temptation to attack Mrs. Palin as a woman.

While watching the post-Palin-speech shows from the Republican National Convention, I have heard many dangerous words, as any progressive would know: “shrill”; “smug”; “motherly responsibilities”; “dangerous.”

CNN host Anderson Cooper highlighted how Mrs. Palin could put in the knife with a great smile on her face. How much like the past are those words, seeing a competent woman as a scheming scoundrel - or dare I say the b-word?

I am astonished that so many women have fought so hard to give up so easily to the wanton blasphemies of an earlier day, a day when a single black mother could not raise a senator or a woman could not make it from the beauty stage to the world’s largest stage by her own choice and capability.

JACKSON PARR

The Rearden Institute

of Government

Philadelphia

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