After yet another evening of being thrown under the bus, it is high time that women's organizations drastically change their approach!
Women in the Democratic Party have been taken for granted and have lost their bargaining power as a result. Ladies, this is business, plain and simple, and what it comes down to this: We can no longer work with only one political party: that is "speaking." Women's organizations must learn to "negotiate" and establish dialogues with all political parties. Party exclusivity is why women's organizations are failing in their missions to protect their members and their members' interests. Women's organizations must become non-partisan immediately.
Last night, our Congress, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi primarily and President Obama secondarily, approved a health care bill that does not include funding for abortion. What did they gain for this concession? Nothing. Still, 39 blue dog Democrats voted against the bill. There is no better indication of how little bargaining power organizations such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood currently have thanks to their efforts with one party.
The organizations and religious groups that are against abortion have amply made their case with the Democratic leaders. The DNC Chair is anti-choice. Half our country does not know whether President Obama is pro-choice.
Here are some short-term suggestions for women's advocacy groups:
1. Change of leadership. I agree with parts of what Jane Hamsher wrote last night at HuffPost. Groups set up for this issue failed. Nancy Keenan in particular who endorsed then Senator Obama over Senator Clinton in 2008 when only Clinton had any clear record on reproductive rights -- the sole issue on which her organization is focused -- should step down immediately. Records show that Keenan has had ample access to the White House and yet has been ineffective at advancing her organization's cause. She must go.
2. The leaders of the women's group devoted to choice must immediately head this bill off at the next pass. These organizations should mobilize their members to write to their senators and ask them NOT to pass the bill in its current form.
3. The leaders of women's groups devoted to choice should immediately set up meetings with Michael Steele, Chair of the RNC, to make their pitch. While opinions in our country are split on abortion, most believe that this a personal decision.
4. The leaders of the all women's organizations should open lines of communication with political leaders of all political parties. Starting immediately. On all issues concerning women and girls. We need advocates in all parties and this is attainable.
The days of women's organizations being an appendage of the DNC must end immediately. Women have been taken for granted and speaking to one political party has led to defeat after defeat for causes important to women.
It is high time that women's organizations blaze a brave new path for their constituents. It is time that we fight for women and girls. And in order to do so, we need to make our case to all political parties. Else, women and women's issues will continue the easiest give for the Democrats.
Follow Amy Siskind on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmyTheNewAgenda