There was a short piece in Monday’s USA Today saying that 2012 is shaping up to be another “Year of the Woman.” And they did have some very good news numbers to back that notion:

…a notable number of candidates are running in potentially competitive races in both the House of Representatives and Senate that could send a wave of female lawmakers to Washington in November. If so, it would reverse the 2010 election trend that saw the first dip in female representation in the House since 1978 and only sent one woman, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, to the Senate.

In the 2012 Senate lineup, there are 10 female candidates — four Republicans and six Democrats — seeking office. Of the six states with female Democratic candidates — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota and Wisconsin — none has ever elected a woman to the Senate.

Republican women are running in Connecticut, Hawaii, Missouri and New Mexico.

I want to believe, oh how I want to believe. These numbers, though inching up, still represent a mere fractional increase—even if all of them are elected—a probability somewhere around that of hell freezing over.

At the rate we have been going for the last 20 years and since the first “Year of the Woman” in 1992, it will take 70 years to reach gender parity in Congress.

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Waaay to soon to rule Rick Perry out, folks, as all of us who grew up tough in West Texas know.

What do you think will be Perry’s next “distractive” comment, by the way? And what are your thoughts about Obama’s best strategy to fight or flank?

Here’s the link to my original post on Politico

 

strategyThe Arena Asks: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s new proposal would let Americans choose between their existing income tax rate or a new flat tax of 20 percent. Will Perry’s flat tax plan restore him to the GOP presidential primary lead? Will his new campaign team help? And what do you make of Perry’s recent birther-curious comments?

 

Rick Perry might not know how to govern the country but he knows how to win a race by adapting and persisting. The unifying thread connecting these three changes in Perry’s campaign is this: the man is a learner with an almost feral competitiveness that turns obstacles into fuel to propel him to his goal…

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If ever there was a moment when women should take the lead without waiting to be asked by the men in leadership, this is it. My proposal for resolving the budget/debt ceiling impasse:

Politico TheArena logo

Arena Asks: Washington wakes up this morning to a scary possibility: could the government actually default? If Boehner is unable to rally votes, the balance of power could shift back toward the Senate. Has the postponed vote given Democrats the leverage they need to convince Boehner to take a new course? Is it the Senate’s turn for a crack at the debt ceiling debacle?

My Answer:It’s time for all the moms in Congress to get together, sit the men down, propose a choice of two solutions like we do with children, and tell them they aren’t going out to play again until an agreement is reached.

I’m serious…

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Politico’s Arena asked a really interesting question today. I’d love to know what you think and whether you agree with my assessment. Am I too optimistic? OMG I hope not!

Arena Asked: Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) is drawing comparisons in her Republican presidential bid with another longshot candidate – Howard Dean, for a few months in 2003-04 the leading Democratic contender to challenge President George W. Bush. Both have drawn big summer crowds by pledging to confront

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The POLITICO Arena question of the day asks whether the Democrats are being hypocritical to raise SuperPAC $ while excoriating the Citizens United decision to allow unlimited giving to political campaigns. I’ll give you my answer below–would love to know how you would have replied.

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Today I posted my first commentary on Politico.com’s Arena page. I’m delighted to have been asked to be a panelist in this rousing and sometimes rowdy political conversation on the hottest topics of the day. Today’s question: At this point will House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) be able to make a deal with the White House and Senate Democrats without ticking off his base?

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“If we can do this, we can do anything.” –Geraldine Ferraro, accepting the Democratic Party nomination for vice president in 1984

Geraldine Ferraro’s place in history is assured. The smart mouthed tough talking Queens Congresswoman tapped to be Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate shattered a particularly stubborn glass ceiling. As I mourned her passing following a valiant 12-year battle with multiple myeloma, I found myself watching her acceptance speech again, not with nostalgia but with celebration, appreciation—and a sense of urgency for the next generation of progressive women political leaders to step forward and continue her legacy.

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This was published earlier today on Truthout. I’d love for you to join the discussion, either here on Heartfeldt or over on Truthout.

Election day 2010 is so yesterday. Today and tomorrow, progressive women – who constitute up to 60 percent of the Democrats’ base – had better regroup and start a vigorous push not just to regain ground lost, but to take back the message and advance a strong agenda for 2012.

Let’s face it – Democrats (do they ever learn?) and all progressives are in for a very rough ride again, after only the briefest of post-Bush respites.

But we have to remember that the political process is an oscillation, not a straight line between two points. Count on it: Every political defeat sows the seeds of the next victory, and every victory sows the seeds of the next defeat. This year’s defeat was sown not by moving too fast or thinking too big, but because Democratic leaders with President Obama at the top failed to keep the electorate thinking expansively and courageously enough.

Contrast this with Republican performance during the last two years. Did they wait even one minute to begin their battle to regain control of Congress? No, they redoubled their efforts. Instead of licking the wounds of their 2008 defeat, they set about opposing Obama, vilifying Nancy Pelosi, and obstructing the legislative progress. They unabashedly blamed the Democrats in power for not passing the very legislation they themselves killed – and worse yet, the Democrats let them get away with it.

Here’s a seven-point plan so progressive voters can celebrate like it was 2008, come November, 2012.

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Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly put her foot in it big time yesterday when she said single women are “welfare queens” and President Obama is trying to create more of them, just so they’ll be dependent on what Schlafly refers to as “big daddy” government. After blacks, she claimed, they’re his second biggest voting block. The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News invited me to share my thoughts on the matter. Read TPM’s news report and watch the video of her remarks here if you have the stomach for it.

She’s wrong on at least two counts.

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Democratic leaders have said that the Stupak amendment’s draconian new restrictions on abortion contained in the House health-reform bill will not appear in the final version. Here why voters who value women’s health cannot sit back and accept such assurances. Re-posted here courtesy of the Women’s Media Center which originally posted it as an exclusive and is rolling out a public and media education campaign to help Stop Stupak. But I think stopping the bad is only the first part of what we need to do…

House Democrats broke into a paroxysm of self-congratulation for passing a health reform bill. By embracing the Stupak-Pitts amendment, however, they entered the women’s hall of shame. They had promised no more limitations based on preexisting conditions. But House leadership allowed a codicil: Except if you are a woman.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment to the health bill is a sweeping ban on insurance coverage of abortion. It expands the 1976 Hyde amendment, which outlaws abortion coverage by existing Federally funded programs, to middle class women participating in the public option, even if they pay from their own pocketbooks. Hyde began a juggernaut of restrictions on abortion and birth control that I’d hoped the current health care debate would rectify.

Headlines blaring, “Abortion an Obstacle to Health-Care Bill,” got it backward. And the biggest obstacle was President Obama’s approach, which meshed all too well with Speaker Pelosi’s: they are both so averse to feather-ruffling that one wonders why they entered the rough and tumble of politics in the first place. No amount of Rahm Emmanuel’s mean-guy interference could have kept this chicken’s eggs from breaking, let alone its feathers in place.

Smart as he is, why didn’t Obama know that when you start from a position of compromise, you’ll end up with a fragment of what you wanted, if that? The public option is too weak to exercise serious cost-cutting control. And now women have been sacrificed, like so much detritus, even though we are 51 percent of the population and (in case they haven’t noticed) 60 percent of Democratic voters.

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