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Can You Imagine Speaker Nancy Pelosi Leaving Her Family on Mother's Day for a Tryst in Argentina?

07/27/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We have become used to seeing the headlines. Yet another male politician holds a press conference to apologize to everyone imaginable for his indiscretions. Yesterday's press conference featuring Govenor Mark Sanford was just the latest in a series of similar events that span both political parties.

Perhaps we would see fewer of these types of press conferences if we had fewer men in office, replaced by women. As Gail Collins wrote in today's New York Times, "...perhaps it is time to rethink the idea of constantly electing middle-aged heterosexual men to positions of high importance."

I mean think about it, would a woman ever run off to the Appalachian trail, er, I mean Argentina, over Mother's Day, as Sanford did over Father's Day?

No. It just wouldn't happen. Honestly, I can't imagine any of our women leaders doing something so reckless or frivolous. I have spent a lot of time with female elected officials and I can assure you, these women are far too focused on their job and are just too darn busy. As Dana Perino, the former white house press secretary, said to "On the Corner" this morning, "No woman I know has the time for such trysts, nor do I know any who say they desire one. They're too busy trying to keep all the plates spinning at home, at work, and at the gym to make sure none fall and break."

So ironically, while much as been written about how difficult it is to run a household, run a family and work, the actually much maligned working mom or working woman may just be the answer to reducing the number of press conferences featuring apologies for various indiscretions among our politicians.

In the end, these female politicians are not into wasting time and they are - I know this will be shocking - actually focused on getting the job done. In an examination of female congressional candidates in California in 1992 and 1994, Professor Richard Fox found that "Men view politics and elections as a means to acquire power and to 'serve' their country or community. Conversely, women view politics as an opportunity to forward a cause and fight for an issue."

That is why a woman in power is far more reluctant to abuse her power. She needs that power to further her cause. Most women are reluctant to get into politics and do so only when they come to the conclusion that a seat at the table of power is the only way they are going to make sure that the issue they care about will be represented.

Women also have to fight very hard to get into positions of power. The United States is 84th in the world in terms of women's representation and we have just 17% of women in the U.S. Congress. The women that get into these positions are not going to jeopardize their hard won success for a bit of fun on the side. As we saw from the last presidential race, women are held to a much higher standard by the press. It is impossible to imagine the public outcry if a woman politician deserted her children on Mother's Day. Governor Sanford left his four little boys on Father's Day to have a tryst in Argentina and we don't hear a lot of talk about his credentials as a father.

Finally, women are just too busy to get into trouble. Look at our incredible new Senator from New York - Kirsten Gillibrand . She is raising two kids while representing the state of New York in the U.S. Senate. According to research done by Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox, women with a spouse or partner still are seven times more likely than men to be responsible for more of the household tasks and fifteen times more likely to bear the burden of child care responsibilities.

A lot of people have said that they feel sorry for Mark Sanford. Well, I feel sorrier for the people of South Carolina which has the highest unemployment rate in the country, worst education system and on almost every quality of life index they are last in the nation. And I have to add that South Carolina is also 50th in the country in terms of women's representation. Perhaps if a woman had been leading his state, she might have been more focused on those statistics, and trying to find ways to improve life for her constituents, rather than spending time with one in another country.

Maybe the problem is that male politicians are just not busy enough, as many working women can attest to about their own spouses. They spin far fewer plates than women do generally speaking. Maybe a few more plates, shuttling between home, work, gym and school might result in fewer of these apology press conferences.

Then again, maybe we just need more qualified women to step up to the plate and run for office.

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