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Jewish World Review August 4, 2000/ 3 Menachem-Av, 5760

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Women: Their own worst enemy -- I SERVE TODAY as raconteur of the feeblemindedness of women. There is not treason in my blood, but too often the actions of my sisters are inexplicable. Their claims of injustice fall on deaf ears for they betray the very causes they bemoan.

The week began with a swirling controversy over Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Cal) and her choice of the Playboy mansion as a forum for a Democratic fund-raiser. Does she not understand the Buddhist temple is available, complete with fully clothed nuns, for such? Despite flak from all quarters, including even a Kennedy, Rep. Sanchez was unwavering. Apparently her commitment to equality entitles her to free passes on hypocrisy.

Women's hypocrisy today makes Delilah look noble. Here in Phoenix, MADD had a fund-raiser at a bar during happy hour. During the Clinton administration we found Patricia Ireland, head of NOW, joining forces with Larry Flynt whose Hustler magazine makes Playboylook like The Berenstain Bears Learn About Floozies From Papa. For all their cries about women as objects and suits for sexual harassment, women do sell out easily enough.

The week did not improve with the unveiling of the new book by the women of the U.S. Senate, Nine and Counting. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex), Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal), Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (Rs-Maine), Patty Murray (D-Wash), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) and Mary Landrieu (D-La) have written the tale (proceeds for the Girl Scouts)of their gender camaraderie in the male-dominated Senate.

The book is troubling enough with just the whining about making dinner.

However, live group interviews with the nine could force me into gender independence. The Independent Gender party would include the likes of Florence King, Barbara Bush, Katharine Hepburn and Margaret Thatcher --- straight, strong and disenfranchised from women.

During one interview on MSNBC, Republican Senator Hutchison explained that she will not campaign against any of her Democratic sister senators in their bids for re-election for she "love[s] these women." Mary Landrieu also signed onto the Hutchison Girl Scout loyalty compact. I can hear Cole Porter's Friendship, "If you're ever up a tree, call on me . . . "

Putting aside the credibility issues in a Louisiana politician's promise, is the premise here that women can never be booted from office? Does being a woman transcend political ideology? Do we protect incompetence because of gender? Is political tenure based on gender? Do the kid gloves apply to female office holders because they are female?

Indeed, Senators Murray and Boxer showed no restraint when interviewed the same day regarding Bush's VP pick, Dick Cheney. Along with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, both exclaimed how dangerous old, white, balding males are for presidential tickets as well as generally. Senator Murray opined that men of her generation better understand women's issues because they have had to help with the children and had working wives. Barbara Boxer conceded, being the same age as Cheney, that he was not old, but, rather, out of touch with today's woman. Patricia Ireland called the choice a disaster for women.

Someone should have handed them a fact sheet for Dick Cheney along the lines of the one they got on the two-for-one Clintons in 1992. These women scrambled to the mics to tout Hillary Rodham Clinton as a woman of achievement who was dedicated to children's causes. Yet, not one of the sisters mentioned the name Lynne, as in Lynne Cheney, Ph.D., the fat, bald, white guy's wife. Dr. Cheney headed the NEH during the Reagan and Bush years. As a crusader for education reform, she puts Hillary's village to shame. She serves on the boards of American Express/IDS, Lockheed-Martin, Reader's Digest and Union Pacific Resources Group. She is a writer, a speaker and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Mrs. Dick Cheney is a glass-ceiling buster who has a key to the executive wash rooms complete with feminine hygiene products. Lynne Cheney has four boards to Hillary's one TCBY, but no accolades yet.

When she was writing a piece for the Wall Street Journal, she called me as her own fact checker to talk about one of my articles she was citing. She was warm, competent and cautious. She noted, "If I get one thing wrong, they are all over me."

Lynne Cheney understands the game. She is ignored by the media, the pundits and women except when she errs, because the women's movement has never really been about advancement or equality. The women's movement is about liberalism. Women have been used as rubes along the way, including Senator Hutchison, who is taken for a fool by her colleagues who will put it to the yellow rose of Texas soon enough.

One class of women counts in the women's movement: educated, middle-class, and left- leaning. Anita Hill and Hillary deserve backing, but Paula Jones, Lynne Cheney, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Liddy Dole and others who lack the education or correct politics need not apply. Women remain second-class citizens not because of their gender but because of their lack of ideology. You can't trust folks whose convictions are chaff in the wind.

Someone once asked me whether I prefer working for a woman or a man. Without missing a beat, I responded that I prefer working for men.

Preferably a man 55 or older, balding, and married to a strong woman. Dick Cheney, 59, would do. He'd expect consistency and fire me if I didn't do my job. Now if we could just get women committed to the simple equality and strategic beauty of merit and the honor of consistency.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
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07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings