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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More and better Democratic women please

by digby

As a general rule, I think it's vitally necessary to have more women in congress. And I certainly hope that most of them are liberals. (Conservative women tend not to vote differently than conservative men.) But I have to take exception to Democratic women who adopt tactics like this to beat fellow Democrats:

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, today announced a new WOMEN VOTE! project in Connecticut’s fifth congressional district. As the nationwide voter mobilization and education project of EMILY's List, WOMEN VOTE! will communicate with key primary voters about Chris Donovan’s fiscal record in the state legislature.

The Connecticut WOMEN VOTE! program will target more than 26,000 Democratic primary voting women who are age 45 or older. The women will receive five pieces of direct mail highlighting Chris Donovan’s record on taxes and raising his own pay. Three of the mailers will also showcase Elizabeth Esty’s commitment to Connecticut taxpayers: returning 10% of her own salary and working towards responsible budgeting in the state legislature. The first mail will be sent on July 26th.

"Chris Donovan’s 20 year record for Connecticut speaks for itself: exorbitant pay raises and the biggest tax hike in Connecticut history. Middle class families are paying the price," said Denise Feriozzi, Director of WOMEN VOTE! “Elizabeth Esty returned taxpayer money and is committed to responsible budgeting. We are confident that once voters learn Chris Donovan’s record, they’ll choose Elizabeth Esty to represent them in Congress.”

I don't think that's helpful do you? And Emily's List's obvious belief that "anything goes" is not a value that I, as a feminist, can endorse. The value of having more women in the government is not to emulate the sleazy practices of the old boys club --- it's to challenge the premise of the club itself.

If this is how Esty is going to conduct herself in office --- smearing progressives as "tax hikers" and voting as a fiscal conservative, I can't see any purpose to supporting her candidacy. We don't need any more Democrats who endorse Blue Dog and ALEC plans to slash the safety net and enable the most conservative opposition since the Civil War --- no matter what sex they are.

I dearly want to see more women in elective office. But when there is a real progressive in the race, I would no more support a ConservaDem like Esty than I would support Michele Bachman. And there is a real progressive in the race --- Chris Donovan --- the candidate Emily's List and Elizabeth Esty are trying to smear with the most hackneyed of all Republican inspired attacks --- as a self-serving (raised his own pay!) taxnspend liberal. Meanwhile, in her own state she voted to cut Medicaid and protect millionaires from tax hikes, which is something I expect from GOP women, but expect better from Democrats. (I guess all those poor women can find some third party to give a damn about them.)

Please, more and better Democratic women, please. This isn't helping either the progressive or the feminist cause.

In the meantime, you can contribute to Chris Donovan's campaign here. He's a real progressive. Right now, we need that more than ever.