More women in politics, less ideology

natalie gochnour imageI read an op-ed in the Deseret News this past weekend about women in decision making roles in Utah. It was written by Natalie Gochnour, the chief economist for the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce.

The editorial highlighted the many reasons why we need more women in politics and leadership positions.

“Why is feminine leadership important?” asked Gochnour. “I think it’s because women bring needed balance and perspective to the male-dominated world. Left unchecked, masculine traits like the pursuit of power or the drive to compete can lead to problems. The feminine traits of civility and stewardship bring needed balance.”

I couldn’t agree more. After spending more hours than I can count sitting in committee and floor hearings at the Utah State Legislature, I can say with certainty that if there are not both men and women involved in the discussion, it is far less productive and certainly less balanced.

But it was a comment made by an anonymous reader that really hit me.

Nothing at all wrong with women running for and holding offices in government, local, state or federal. The issue becomes, which women and most importantly what are their politics? I’d certainly like to see Mia Love win a congressional seat. However, no matter how feminist the Democrats might be, they don’t want her to win. We could have had a woman Vice President recently. You think the open minded liberal thinking progressive people of America would have seen that as a feather in the cap of womens [sic] equality? They hated Sarah Palin like they hated Reagan or Nixon. When it comes to politics, gender becomes a distant 2nd to ideology.

I reject the assumption that because I am a woman I should vote for any woman running. Sarah Palin, really? If history has shown us anything, it is the ridiculousness of McCain’s choice for a running mate. Even McCain himself, as well as virtually his entire staff, have since denounced their own choice. She is polarizing, she is an ideologue, she is media-obsessed, and she certainly wasn’t qualified for the job. Why couldn’t the commenter have brought up someone like former Gov. Olene Walker?

Walker, the only woman governor Utah has ever had, was wildly popular. She had an 88% approval rating, was highly educated (did you know she has a PhD?), and was considered one of the most reasonable politicians Utah had seen in a long time. Let me remind the commenter what happened to her: Walker, the sitting governor, was defeated in her reelection bid at the GOP Convention. She was not only defeated, she came in 5th out of a crowded field of contenders.

Her crime? It certainly wasn’t about the job she was doing. It was because she was too moderate, too willing to work across the aisle when making important decisions. Too balanced.

Tell me again how the left puts ideology over gender.

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