What if women ran the House GOP?
No really. What if they did?
We probably wouldn't hear quotes like this about the federal shutdown, courtesy of House Republican Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) -- "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
And the bills we would see?
Let me put it this way -- they wouldn't oppose having insurance companies cover the cost of birth control.
But women don't run the House GOP. Instead we have Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) at the helm. His leadership has, of course, resulted in an obsession with dismantling Obamacare, at the price of shutting down the government and quite possibly leading the United States to an unprecedented federal default.
Mr. Boehner's leadership is the definition of hyper-masculine.
Boehner is the stern father who has decided that a curfew can never be broken. Boehner is the boyfriend who refuses to admit that the restaurant he chose -- which gave everyone food poisoning -- was a mistake. Boehner is that bartender who refuses to give you the happy hour deal because it's 6:01, and happy hour ended a minute ago.
But more than that, Boehner and his cadre of GOP Congressmen have formed a fraternity of illogic. A study by three economists in Harvard's Negotiation Journal showed that when all-male groups who are members of the same organization (e.g. a fraternity or, you know, the House of Representatives) attempt to negotiate, there is a marked decrease in the group's coordination, efficiency and equity. Or, if you've ever happened upon an all-dude flag football game, it's called "watch the assholes get irrational as they argue over a maybe-fumble."
I'm not saying that women don't stick to unreasonable rules. I went to a women's college --I've had a hallmate tell me that borrowing dining hall dishes is against the Wellesley Honor Code. I was once accosted in the library lobby for speaking above a whisper.
But adherence to stupid rules is different from this kind of obstinacy. No rational woman would allow such a reckless shutdown to have carried on for so long.
In the same Harvard study, all-women negotiation teams who were part of the same identity or organization were the opposite of their male peers. Women were better coordinated, more efficient and greater equity was found in their outcomes.
The very traits that purportedly make women poor salary negotiators and unable to break the glass ceiling-- not wanting to hurt relationships, conflict-aversion, a tendency to be conciliatory--are in fact the very traits that are needed to get the House GOP, and by extension America, out of this federal stand-still.
I've seen the way women fight, whether at the office, at home or at a very estrogen-heavy college. There might be a passive aggressive sigh or uncomfortable confrontation or maybe even an awkward period of silence.
But ultimately there is resolution -- there is a calculation that the greater good makes more sense than prolonged, unnecessary pain for all parties involved. Cutting down a cherry tree that hangs into my lawn ultimately means no cherry pie for anyone.
Women, who are so often called irrational, would not fixate for days on why defunding Obamacare is worth shutting down the government. After all, Obamacare has been in place for three years, the Supreme Court has upheld it and the majority of Americans don't want it defunded.
Put simply -- if women ran the House GOP, our federal government wouldn't look like an unstable, third world democracy.
I get that this will never happen, at least not with today's government shutdown. Boehner is committed to sticking to his "cause" and preserving whatever remains of his conservative reputation.
And even if Boehner somehow gets ousted, there are many other House Republican men waiting in the corridors. After all, nearly 90 percent of the House GOP conference is white men, while a paltry 8 percent are women. The most well-known GOP Congresswoman is, of course, Michele Bachmann -- not exactly a beacon of sanity or decorum.
Typically when women aren't at the table for House Republican-led negotiations, they're on the menu-- lest we forget the myriad of attempts to limit abortion or birth control access. But this round, the lack of women has spelled destruction not just for the fairer sex -- all federal employees are feeling the very real strains of this shutdown.
No matter how this game of political football ever ends, I hope that more women will step up within the House GOP ranks and demand a more sensible approach to negotiations. And, that every one of the infuriatingly stubborn, remarkably irrational men on Team Boehner will be voted out of office.
Hey, a girl can dream about eating her pie and having it too.