President Obama sure is angry. He scolded Democrats today, telling us that our apathy is "inexcusable" and "irresponsible". Really? If you want inexcusable try this: turning the Democratic Party into "Liberal Dude Nation." Converting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into a veritable frat house with few women leaders and nary a focus on women's issues. Allowing blatantly sexist remarks by the men of the Democratic Party without retribution -- just another trip to the punch bowl of misogyny.
Democratic women have been watching. Sure, we aren't standing in parks dressed up in Statue of Liberty costumes -- maybe, that's not our style. But, the DNC better take note: a recent Gallup Poll reveals that just 24% of Democratic and 21% of Independent white women are enthusiastic about voting in November. Lowest level for any group of voters. Sounds awful. And, it could get much worse.
A second tsunami -- the Tea Party's alter-ego -- could hit Democrats in 2012. Democratic (and newly Independent) women are finally saying: Enough! In 2010, these women might choose to stay at home. But, there's a second wave to come: the RNC is quietly filling its pipeline with female presidential and vice presidential prospects, while the Liberal Dude Nation cheerfully refers to our top female prospects as "hot." If this keeps up, in 2012, former and current Democratic women might just be pulling the "R" lever.
The roots of Liberal Dude Nation took hold in 2008. Even then, candidate Obama was more interested in admonishing women than listening to them. When then-Senator Hillary Clinton dropped out of the presidential race, a group of her supporters were summoned to a meeting in New York City. This was at a time when many Democratic women were extremely troubled by the sexism in the presidential primary. At the meeting, we were "informed" by a senior woman member of the Obama campaign: "We're not used to drama." There's no drama in Liberal Dude Nation! The majority of Democratic women coalesced in 2008 over concerns about Supreme Court nominees and Roe v. Wade. Of course, once elected, President Obama would on one hand appoint two female justices; but with the other hand sign an executive order on abortion which codified the Hyde Amendment, dealing the biggest blow to Roe v. Wade since the ruling became the law of the land.
Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us!
Once in office, Obama's Liberal Dude Nation really flourished. The boys got to play basketball and golf together -- until the media made a stink -- then one woman was invited to a round of golf. The boys set our flailing economic policy -- the boys put up with one woman (Romer), but then chased her out. The Liberal Dude Nation's inner circle, the czars, are 90% male (selected by Obama behind closed doors, without senate confirmation). And so on. But, hey -- no worries -- it's all cool in the Liberal Dude Nation.
When Democratic women did complain, Liberal Dude Nation had an answer: Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in January 2009. Never mind that the Ledbetter Act only extends the time to file a lawsuit; and Liberal Dude Nation couldn't be bothered to shepherd the Paycheck Fairness Act, which actually requires equal pay for equal work, through the Democratically controlled senate over the past 20 months. Not a priority in the Liberal Dude Nation.
But the real wounds for Democratic women are in sexism that continues to flourish unchallenged in the Democratic Party. It's a constant reminder of what we learned the hard way in 2008: the notion of equality in the Democratic Party does not extend to gender.
So women privately shake our heads in disbelief as the Liberal Dude Nation, time after time, continues to make sexist remarks against Democratic women. The men of the Liberal Dude Nation get free passes for sexism. Why? As Bob Beckel stated on Fox yesterday: "You're a woman, you better be careful about saying who I carry water for." Bob's right. The Republicans are worse. Aren't they? Well, no, not anymore. Make a sexist remark against a Republican woman and watch the likes of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity call you out and defend her. But not in the Liberal Dude Nation. Our sexism is so internalized, we just let our men diminish our women without a peep. Boys will be boys. It's the Liberal Dude Nation!
But the problem with the Liberal Dude Nation is that gradually, well, it's just dudes. Increasingly, the Democratic women have had it. As Susan B. Anthony stated back in 1872: "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex." Sounds like the Democratic Party has a decision to make: lose the Liberal Dude Nation, or lose Democratic Women!
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