UPDATE: In 2016, I faced my first hurricane. Based on the alarming reports we sealed up the house, took in everything outside that was not nailed down. Inside, I packed up valuables for protective storage. All the reports said that a monster hurricane would soon be bearing down on the house. We tracked it on television – minute by nervous minute. The eye was just a few miles away in the Atlantic Ocean. At the height of scheduled impact, we ventured outside. The breeze had picked up to a kite flying level. There was a short shower. It was over. All the scary talk amounted to nothing.
So, what is the point? The just-concluded government shutdown reminded me of that hurricane. So much political hysteria – constant news reports covering the clashing and teeth gnashing of our nation’s leaders. So many predictions of imminent catastrophe. It is now over. The government is back in the business of spending and wasting our taxpayer money. The impact on the leeward side of the shutdown is imperceptible.
So, what was achieved? Nothing other than the embarrassment of the Chuck Schumer-led Democratic Party for creating this Kabuki Theater melodrama. Why a senator as supposedly savvy as Schumer would have led his party into this dead-end swamp without an exit strategy is inexplicable.
While Schumer and the Democrats criticized Trump for not hosting a meeting of Senate leaders during the shutdown, the President totally outfoxed them. When Trump announced that he would not talk to the Democrats about anything until they voted to re-open the government, Schumer had only one option left – cave in. Trump had held his tough negotiating position.
While Schumer and Democrats spun their best face-saving arguments, they revealed a simple truth. A face saver means you totally lost. They claimed to have extracted an agreement to deal with the Dreamers in the next three weeks. That was hardly a concession by the Republicans since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in December that he would bring up the Dreamer issue in late January or early February. That was already baked in when Schumer led his caucus off the political cliff.
Many Democrats said they were happy to vote to save the CHIPS program that provides insurance coverage for children. That program expired last Friday. It was the Republicans who included it in their funding bill and they extended coverage for six years – longer than the Democrats had proposed.
Schumer miscalculated public reaction. He assumed that the GOP would get the blame for the shutdown, and that appeared to be the case on day one. But, Trump and the Republicans were correct in believing that the tide would turn as soon as the implications of the shutdown sunk in with the voters. By day two, more than 50 percent of Americans wanted the government funded without the DACA demand. Many of these people were telegraphing that demand to many of the Democrat senators.
Schumer’s action fractured the solidarity of his members. By Monday, a number of Democrat senators were ready to abandon Schumer’s inept strategy. He had no choice but to lead his forces in full retreat.
He also alienated the hard-left core of the Democrat base. Once he made DACA the keystone of the resistance, he created a no-win position for himself. This resulted in unusual rebukes from key members of his own party.
Schumer may have also undermined the giddy confidence that his party and the media expressed in predicting the outcome of the 2018 congressional elections. Republicans now have a persuasive argument that they funded CHIPS and that they will have provided permanent status for the Dreamers – something that is as certain as anything in the political world today.
Now on to the subject of today’s commentary.
There are women, and there are feminists
The women’s role in politics has again resurfaced much like the fictional Brigadoon. We have had previous “years of the woman.” There was the hardcore feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s led by such personalities as Bella Abzug, Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem – who amazingly is still around. Those for whom college life is a distant memory may recall the later years of the “soccer moms.” In all these manifestations, Republicans were said to have a “woman problem.”
In 1984, the left-wing feminists were suffering collective vapors over the thought of electing Geraldine Ferraro as the first female Vice President of the United States. At the time, I joined the local head of the National Organization of Women (NOW) on a television program to discuss the impact Ferraro might have on the ticket. My political adversary waxed eloquently on how a woman on the ticket would energize the distaff half of America and would provide the winning margin for Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale. Knowing that left-wing feminists do not represent most women, I boldly predicted that Ronald Reagan would not only win the election, but he would carry the majority of the women’s vote. As you can imagine, I would not have mentioned my prediction had it not been correct.
For as long as I can remember, the national media has always equated liberal Democrat feminists as the voice of all women and all women-related issues. That has never been true. In fact, for more than 20 years the more radical feminist movement has been mostly on the back burner of American political life. I measure its decline to the 1990s when the Democrat ladies of the left prostrated themselves in front of President Bill Clinton – mounting a purely partisan defense for one of the most outrageous male chauvinists to ever occupy the Oval Office. Their hypocrisy was palpable and suffocated the movement’s credibility.
Since the election of Donald Trump, the feminist branch of the Democratic Party has overcome their credibility problem with an ironic dose of hypocrisy. It is now obvious that their position on presidents (no double entendre intended) is purely partisan. The old Clinton era mantra that a president’s private life does not matter has morphed into a belief that a president’s private life is all that matters.
The Democratic Party is not only creating modern false narratives to suit a governing philosophy based on mythical beliefs and outright falsehoods, they continue to fraudulently misrepresent the Party’s sad history. In this year of women’s issues, it is noteworthy to check out their past claims.
In its claim of historical beneficence to women, the actual record of the Democratic Party is far removed from the proffered narrative. In the history published on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) website, they make this boast.
“Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. In August of 1920, Tennessee’s became the 36th state to ratify women’s suffrage, and it became our nation’s 19th amendment.”
What is wrong with this statement? Everything.
Woodrow Wilson was a white supremacist and male chauvinist who saw the role of women as subordinate to men. His views of women would have been more suited to today’s Iran than the current United States.
Many of the activist women of the Wilsonian era were both abolitionist and suffragettes. For both reasons, they were all Republicans, including Susan B. Anthony. The GOP was anti-slavery and fully in support of women’s equality and the right to vote
During most of Wilson’s term of office, a voting rights amendment was supported and even passed by Republicans in the House only to be blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate, with Wilson in tacit agreement. On the eve of the 1918 election, President Wilson reluctantly endorsed the amendment as a pragmatic necessity. He believed that Democrat opposition against growing public support for the women’s vote could cost Democrats control of the Senate.
Wilson calculated that if the GOP took the Senate, the amendment would be passed and enacted, and his endorsement would be credited – at least it would obfuscate the issue. If the Democrats retained control, Wilson could walk away from his endorsement and let his partisan colleagues again kill the measure.
In the election of 1918, the GOP took control of the Senate with the support for a woman’s right to vote being a major factor. The passage of what was known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment was assured. After quick passage by the new Congress in 1919, with predictable Democrat opposition, the amendment was ratified by the predominantly Republican state legislatures in just 441 days.
Wilson’s pragmatic endorsement was meaningless. It did not stop congressional Democrats from opposing it and the Republicans already had the votes to pass the resolution. Furthermore, constitutional amendments go directly from the Congress to the state legislatures. The President does not need to sign them, nor can he veto them. In other words, the DNC claim that it was under “the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson” is totally false. It may have happened on his watch, but not because of his leadership.
In a symbolic show of defiance, most of the Democrat-controlled states, which were once the backbone of the Confederacy, did not vote for ratification for many years – Maryland (1941), Virginia (1952), Alabama (1953), Florida (1969), South Carolina (1969), Georgia (1970), Louisiana (1970), North Carolina (1971) and Mississippi (1984).