Monday, July 24, 2006

McCaskill wins PAC for a Change vote -- see what happens when we take action to elect women?

The results are in: Claire McCaskill (MO) won the online vote 24% to Bob Casey's (PA) 23% sponsored by Barbara Boxer's PAC: "McCaskill supporters made a huge "get out the vote" push in the final days and narrowly overtook Bob Casey on the last day of voting." And actually, both Amy Klobuchar (MN-11%) and Barbara Ann Radnofsky (TX-11%) also made good showings...Subsequently, "a fundraising email on Claire's behalf to our entire PAC for a Change list" will go out in coming weeks. Thanks to all those on our mailing list who took the time to make a difference for these competetive women Senatorial candidates -- onward and upward!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Can NOW please stop endorsing men and foiling women?

(NOTE: NOW endorsed the "Every Open Seat A Woman's Seat" strategy at its 2004 national convention.)

Wednesday my caller ID read 718-604-7500 -- and who should it be but Congressional candidate Chris Owens (NY11), calling me in Miami for support. Huh?

When I told him that for all intents and purposes I was for Yvette Clark in that race, he replied: "Would you support her if you knew she wasn't good on women's issues?" "Are you telling me she isn't," I asked. When he started to talk about his involvement in NARAL -- and don't get me wrong, Chris is a sharp guy and I told him so -- I cut him short and asked, "Are you telling me Yvette is not pro-Choice?" She is not a leader on the issue, I was advised.

And I told Chris Owens that Choice was not the most important issue to me or most of the women in this country. We care also about health care, social security, and, of course, gender discrimination. Would I turn my back on a woman running for an OPEN SEAT just because she wasn't out in front on the Choice issue? And when are we going to realize that it is not exactly productive to demand that candidates be spokespersons for our issues?

Chris advised me that because of his feminist activities he had been endorsed by Brooklyn NOW -- someone had given him my phone number based on the fact that I am pro-Choice, so that he could call and tell me that he was better on women's issues than Yvette Clark! What is wrong with this picture?

When is NOW and its fellow travelers going to realize that as long as they continue to endorse men over women they are only continuing to empower men? Since when have men been in front on these issues overall more than women after elected anyhow? Studies have even shown that Republican women forward women's issues more than Democrat men on the state level, not to mention the disengagement of so many women from any so-called feminist agenda because of it emphasis on Choice. No wonder there is no real women's movement in the country -- but let's not get off on that tangent this time.

Let's just say that women need to endorse and support only women totally until we achieve parity -- something men seem to grasp more than women. When there is no equality there is no fairness -- and the misguided notion that we must fair to men feminists or that we can count on them to deliver is just that, misguided! Each time NOW endorses a man, not only are limited resources squandered, but we continue with the three steps forward two steps back (at best) minuet. This only perpetuates the status quo, and does NOT empower women!

Once more with feeling: This only perpetuates the status quo, and does NOT empower women!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Open Letter to Howard Dean

Dear Governor Dean:

I went to my post office box Saturday, just as I have every week since September 27th of last year. That's when I wrote a you a letter asking you to consider voluntary rule changes that the DNC could make to accelerate the election of women to Congress. I had supported you for DNC Chair, especially after you told me that there would be an "Every OPEN SEAT A Women's Seat" initiative if you were elected. Based on that now empty promise, the National Women's Political Caucus of Florida gave you a "Good Guy" award February 2, 2005 - an honor and actual award delivered to your DC office that you had never even acknowledged.

The issue: If the DCCC can ignore the "We can't take sides in primaries" rule whenever it suits our less-than-democratic party leaders, why can't it be suspended to make women winners in elections for OPEN SEATS each election cycle? This I proposed as a temporary rule change, 10-year moratorium which I now think should be extended to the year 2020 and the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage.

My letter was faxed to you, mailed to you and brought to your attention not just by me, but also by a friend and one your trusted fundraisers -- who was concerned that I had started to ask women to boycott DNC and DCCC fundraising requests with messages re equal representation to be sent back in your postage-paid envelopes. Some women have done so, and I urge them keep it up like I have. That was November of last year, and still no answer.

While attending YearlyKos, I handed you a copy of that same unanswered letter as you waited to address the convention. The first thing you said to me was "Most of the candidates in high profile races this year are women" - not entirely true, and before we get off on that tangent let's please remember that a number of those same women ran in 2004 without much help from the DCCC.  Guess we should just be grateful that Rahm Emanuel is hell-bent on taking back Congress for Democrats -- otherwise this would have been another bleak, wholly undemocratic election season for great women candidates who never get a share of DCCC dollars tantamount to a real commitment to accelerating the achievement of equal representation.

"It's not that simple," I replied to you that day, and you nodded somewhat impatiently saying, "I'll answer you." Five weeks later, still no answer.

You went on in your Las Vegas remarks to say: "We need you to run for office...I am not kidding." What would it have cost you to say, furthermore, "and especially women, because the DNC is committed to electing MORE women and equal representation." When I asked another YKos participant later at lunch what she would have though if you had made such a statement, she said, "Oh, my God! It gives me goose bumps. It would have been fantastic." What would it have cost, Governor Dean?

Who am I, someone reading this might ask, to presume that I deserve an answer to my letter -- even if I had, at minimum, just been a loyal Democrat for 40 years and not an activist who has logged many hours in the trenches while men ran the show. Who am I to bring this situation to light when soooo much is again at stake in the mid-term elections?  Who am I to suggest last week that women take a parity pledge:  "I pledge that until women have parity in elected office locally, in my state, and nationally -- I will ONLY donate my $money$, time, or talent to WOMEN CANDIDATES!"

Who are women to presume that they are entitled to have a fair share of seats at decision-making tables - and, at minimum, seek and get relief from a party that calls itself "Democratic" and that they have supported for entire lifetimes? How long do we have to wait to be taken seriously in real terms? Five weeks, 10 months, 230 years, 300 years?

Everybody agrees that women should vote, give money, and work like dogs on political campaigns - mostly for white men. But when are we going to admit that the self-proclaimed "world's greatest democracy" isn't what it's made out to be for women. Need I remind you that the U.S. is 68th in the world for electing women to congresses, parliaments, and national assemblies?  I totally agree with your 50-state strategy, but let's not gloss over the fact that 19 taxation-without-representation states do not have even one woman in either house of Congress - a total disgrace!

A good friend answered my parity pledge email - the only negative response I have gottten so far - with: "Oh, Paula, I'm usually 100% behind you, but I feel the need is so great to try to recapture at least one house of Congress and possibly the FL governor's mansion in 2006 and the White House in 2008 that I can't in good conscience withhold my dollars and time from male candidates. Sorry about that."

My response: "There NEVER will be a good time to do this (which consistently entraps us), and please remember our past unsuccessful refrains of "Anyone, but Jeb Bush!" and "Anyone, but George Bush!" -- where did that get anyone, let alone women? Concerted action must be taken by women or we will NEVER go forward. Let me suggest that there are plenty of women running for Congress that you can support and still be a good Democrat, and in 2008 I hope more than one woman runs for President which is the way it should be." Don't you agree?

In the early 19th century, it was great for women to be abolitionists. Freedom for slaves, yes, but suffrage for women? Of course, but just not now - and it took another hundred years. Today it's great for women to be card-carrying, check-writing, feet-blistering Democrats. Democratic majority in Congress, yes, but equal representation for women so we have a real voice on issues like social security, health care, and foreign policies? Of course, but just not now.

Governor Dean, either you are actually for equal representation and can take a clear stand with a concrete plan* -- or you are really not for it, no matter what you say. I am sorry to say that I am tired of empty promises and patronizing pats on the back - and everyone citizen who really believes in democracy should be, too.

If not now, Governor Dean, when?

*"concrete plan" : a blueprint with numbers and dollars for how MORE seats for women will be won each year. We need 19 more seats each cycle to reach parity in 2020, on the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage. Where each cycle can the Democratic Party aggressively plan to make a good share of that happen - how many OPEN seats (and we can assume at least 30 will open up each cycle), how many challenges and where, how many women can be identified and seriously supported so that they win. Women do make great candidates, so it's a win-win for the Democratic Party. And if the Republicans do their share...While 5050X2020! seems improbable under the present circumstances, it is NOT impossible - but it will take vision and leadership, in addition to women taking ownership and action.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Claire McCaskill opens 6 pt. lead in Missouri!

"U.S. News' Marek writes: 2004 governor nominee/state Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) 'fashions herself as a moderate, and a recent poll put her ahead' of Sen. Jim Talent (R) by six points. 'That could mean a lot, especially since' Missouri 'is considered a bellwether of national trends.' " Hotline Weekly 7-13-06

Friday, July 07, 2006

Will you take and keep the PARITY PLEDGE?

To the Rod Smith for Florida Governor Campaign:

I am a registered Democrat, and will most likely vote for Rod Smith in the primary and in the general election.

However, because of the Democratic party's lack of commitment to
women candidates, I have taken a "parity pledge". That means that until women achieve parity in elected office in Miami-Dade County, the state of Florida, and nationally, I will ONLY make donations of time, talent, or $money$ to women candidates.

Good luck to Rod Smith, and good luck to the Democratic party in making the crucial changes necessary to become relevant to women who care about equality and parity in our leadership.

Julia Dawson
Miami, Florida
(sent 6-27-06)

To find out more and take a PARITY PLEDGE -- click on 5050X2020 now!