A Look At The Great Conservative Women Calendar

Posted in General by TBartine on September 28, 2009 No Comments yet

Often, when discussing the conservative movement, we are really only considering the opinions of a fairly specific demographic:  white men.  The movement’s lack of diversity has often served as a topic of both conversation and concern, but it should be noted that conservatives do also have some prominent WOMEN among their ranks.  On Friday, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute released its “Great American Conservative Women Calendar,“  featuring the eleven conservative women they found to be the most influential.  It is amusing to note that this has prompted the Huffington Post to request reader submissions for a companion piece: The “Great American Liberal Women Calendar.“  It will be interesting to see which names are at the top of the list…especially seeing as Arianna Huffington is quite likely to be one of them.

Anyway, I thought we’d take some time to look at each of these “Great Conservative Women“…and to try to determine why each was chosen for inclusion:

Great conservative women?

Great conservative women?

Bay Buchanan:  Having served as Treasurer of the United States under Reagan, and as Pat Buchanan’s sister…she certainly has the pedigree and credentials.  And…she definitely shares her brother’s seething hatred towards illegal immigrants, and is prone to the occasional, racially insensitive remark.  She came under fire when it was revealed that Marcus Epstein, an employee of Buchanan’s and serving in both of her “anti-immigrant” organizations, had been walking down the street spouting racist remarks…and decided to call a passing African-American woman “ni**er” and karate chop her on the head.  Buchanan’s response to the media coverage…was to keep on employing Epstein and to denounce the media attention as “a modern day lynching by a faceless, angry, ignorant mob who reveled in the collective assault on their victim.“  Buchanan also received a few confused looks when she said of media claims that McCain may have been unfaithful to his wife: “This is not the Democratic Party, this is a party of values. We assume our candidates have been loyal to their family.”  Seriously?  Has she not been paying attention?

Star Parker:  Syndicated columnist and author Star Parker is one of the best kept secrets of the conservative movement.  This is surprising, given that she is an African-American woman within a group that is often criticized for its lack of diversity…you would think they would actively attempt to shine the spotlight on her more often.  Star brings to the table a rather odd and convenient (for conservatives) definition of racism:  government programs…are racist.  Star says that supporting public education…means you don’t think black kids can “hack it” at private schools.  Support public assistance programs?  She says that means you don’t think blacks are capable of getting jobs.  She is even willing to throw African-Americans under the bus in order to voice her anti-Muslim views: “I think it’s underappreciated just how entrenched hatred toward Jews are in the — in some parts of the black community. In fact, radical Muslim influence has been growing in these communities for years through leaders from Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X, others. They have a huge economy in most black communities and black neighborhoods. They’ve been recruited in our prisons, these young men, for decades.  I don’t know how many even know that we today have sitting congressional black caucus members, too, that are Muslims, one from the state of Minnesota, where they’ve had deep problems with extremism, everything from Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to carry passengers that have liquor to Muslim grocery store clerks who refuse to let people buy pork.

Kate Obenshain:  This former chair of Virginia’s Republican Party, is rumored to be considering a run for the Lieutenant Governor’s seat in Virginia next year.  Obenshain…is a conservative’s dream:  hates Obama, hates big government, and pro-feminist as long as “feminism” means “supporting any woman running for office,” regardless of any other considerations.  Obenshein can turn on a dime:  one minute she is criticizing Hillary Clinton for changing her positions on issues, making the incredible sexist remark that Clinton “continued to obfuscate, and then she ran to Wellesley and hid behind the skirts…and said, ‘Those big…mean boys were picking on me’…instead of being able to state her positions“…the next minute she is proclaiming Hillary’s defeat by Obama the “death of feminism.“  She publicly defended the “Barack the Magic Negro” song…and later drew fire when she stated that Obama had the lowest approval rating of any president at that point in their administration, when the polls under discussion…showed just the opposite.  If you want to get a sense of Obershain’s level of understanding of complex issues…visit here for her virtual “non-participation” in a conversation about Iran.  The other guests are making actual points while Obershain can, as usual, only contribute snarky remarks.

Michelle Malkin:  Malkin, a blogger, commentator, and syndicated columnist represents “one-stop-shopping” for anti-immigrant views and right-wing conspiracy theories.  Malkin drew perhaps the most controversy when she wrote a book…defending the United States’ use of internment camps for incarcerating the nation’s Japanese-American citizens, and by extension, defending the use of “racial profiling” today.  She has also attracted criticism when she posed for a picture with a man holding a sign with a swastika on it…when she recently argued that Obama speaking to the nation’s schoolchildren represented “indoctrination“…when she called Obama a “racial opportunist” on the Today Show…when she said “We’ve lost plenty of liberties” under Obama and that almost all of our rights have been compromised.  The list goes on…try this:  go to the MediaMatters website results for Michelle Malkin and scroll down…and down…and down…and that’s just page one of three.

Clare Boothe Luce:  It’s almost sad that Luce’s name has become associated with the other women on this list, as it is the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute that puts out the calendar.  Luce was a highly intelligent, moderate woman, with a passion for the fight for universal suffrage for women…and she was one of the first women to serve in Congress.  While serving, she openly objected to the Democratic administration’s foreign policy…but backed the administration on several other policies, including aid to victims of WWII.  No real controversies…other than strong anti-communism sentiments (certainly not unusual given the time period), she held no extreme viewpoints.  Intelligent…fiscally conservative (back when people actually knew what that meant)…compassionate…moderate.

Marji Ross:  You’ve probably never heard her name…but as head of Regnery Publishing, a publisher of right-wing materials, she is the answer to the question you have asked whenever you’ve seen the latest Anne Coulter/Michelle Malkin/Bay Buchanan book and wondered, “who publishes this sh*t.“  She does.

Phyllis Schlafly:  Author, socialite, activist…in many ways Schlafly is the “grand dame” of conservatism.  And…I suppose it is easier to be a woman in the Republican Party if, like Schlafly, you have been a lifelong OPPONENT of feminism and equal rights for women.  She went on record as saying she would cancel speeches if her husband thought she were away from home too much and that she doesn’t believe that a husband can rape his wife: “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.“  That’s Phyllis Schlafly, ladies and gentlemen:  leading the conservative movement…into the eighteenth century.  Most recently, she chimed in on the “Obama wants to kill granny” myth…you can guess on which side.  We can safely say that if anything would cause Clare Boothe Luce to spin in her grave…it would be Schlafly’s inclusion on this list.

Kellyanne Conway:  Conway is a regular “talking head” as well as a Republican strategist and head of a conservative polling company.  A master of the fine, deceptive art of hyperbole, Conway’s hits include suggesting that political correctness will lead to non-English speaking air traffic controllers, and planes crashing into each other…defending Giuliani’s marital infidelity by bringing up Obama’s former pastor (yeah, I know…I don’t get it either)…stating that McCain had been completely consistent in his votes on war funding (WILDLY wrong)…and on Larry King, making a flagrantly racist remark about whether Hillary Clinton should “let [Obama] SIT ON THE BACK OF THE BUS of her presidential ticket.

Anne Coulter:  Commentator, author, syndicated columnist…if it’s offensive AND conservative, chances are that Coulter said it.  If you think MediaMatters has a lot of material on Michelle Malkin, its five pages of links to Coulter-related items barely scratches the surface of a woman known for three things:  talking over people…making offensive comments based on race/gender/sexuality…and having ALL of her facts wrong.  Coulter is, perhaps, best known for making the rounds of the morning talk shows…while whining that she is denied coverage by the mainstream media.  There is really too much to describe here, so I’ll give you one Coulter quote that exemplifies her generally depraved level of dialogue: “Oh, and I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards. But it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m…so I’m kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards. So I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions. Classy

Michele Bachmann:  The Representative from Minnesota has both her constituents walking away from her…as well as the rest of her party, for comments she has made ranging from religious fanaticism (like saying the recession could be ended through “fasting and prayer”) to advocating armed insurrection (like saying people might have to exercise their “Second Amendment rights” to “take back” the country).  During the presidential campaign she got a lot of attention for saying that there were some “un-American” members of Congress that needed to be ferreted out, and most recently, she has been publicly sponsoring several conspiracy theories regarding the U.S. Census…and has come under fire after a census worker was found murdered with the word “Fed” written on his chest.

S. E. Cupp:  A relatively unknown writer and commentator, a contributor to Politico.com and a frequent guest on Fox.  Pretty lame contributions to the political debate:  Democrats are going to tax you…yadda yadda…Obama wants to indoctrinate your children…yadda yadda…Obama is to blame for the ‘unfair’ treatment of poor Sarah Palin…blah blah blah…

Of course, the GOP’s tendency to act from a predominantly chauvinist perspective, no doubt, prevents some women from wishing to be associated with the political party OR the ideological movement…for example, just recently Senator Kyl of Arizona tried to remove maternity coverage from Health Insurance requirements because men don’t need it, and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s consultant said that allowing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson to run for governor, in order to attract more women’s support, would be a bad idea because you don’t want to “take your principles and throw them out the door and become a whorehouse and let anybody in who wants to come in, regardless.

An interesting exclusion:  No Liz Cheney?  Despite the fact that her entire platform seems to consist of stubbornly defending even the most ridiculous of her father’s statements and policies…many seem to think she represents the future of the party.  Time will tell, I suppose…

Either way, I have to say that it seems sad that this list is mostly comprised of commentators and columnists…many who are known more for being offensive and dogmatic than they are for making real contributions to either society or to intellectual debate.  It appears that the conservative movement…is STILL looking for a few good women.