SIMMONS: Women will remain front and center for years to come

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After a reception for a record number of women sworn in as U.S. senators in January, Vice President Joseph R. Biden said: “The only thing that needs to change is get to the point where there are 51 women in the Senate. You know why? Not because you all are better or worse. Because everyone’s going to figure out there ain’t no difference, that everybody is qualified. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with gender.”

Mark his words.

Obama for U.S. Senate?

Run, Michelle, run.

Southern beauty Ashley Judd vs. Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell?

Popularity contest, perhaps.

While it’s way too early to tell what Senate races will have crystallized by the time the Obamas exit the White House in 2017, it’s safe to say that women and, ahem, our issues, will remain front and center.

And you know why?

Women and our issues are the current and future frontier in American politics.

Washington’s battles over abortion; the health, education and welfare of women and families; women in combat and other girls-versus-boys issues have crossed the thresholds, and Democrats rolled out the red carpet for victors before, during and after the November election.

Mr. Biden sealed it with a French kiss during the January swearing-in events.

Mrs. Obama won’t be covering new ground on the racial frontier if she were to run and win a Senate seat.

While she and her husband stake that claim as the first American first family claiming African and African-American ancestry, Mrs. Obama wouldn’t be charting new territory as a senator. Indeed, while she would be following her husband as a member of the great deliberative body, Carol Moseley Braun burst through that door in January 1991, when she was sworn in as Illinois’ first black and first female senator.

And, interestingly enough, Mrs. Obama wouldn’t even be a game-changer among the lineage of first ladies later elected to the Senate. Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York voters opened wide that door in 2001.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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