The names being tossed around as possibilities for Mitt Romney’s running mate are many and varied.
Actually, they’re really not … everyone under consideration holds pretty hard-core right wing views, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering that Romney himself has a past history of being fairly liberal on social issues, and the Republican machine obviously wants to keep that under the radar.
But what does Romney’s potential veep have to do with feminism?
There is this impression, see, that Romney needs to strongly consider a female running mate because he is woefully behind Barack Obama in the vagina-sporting demographic (unlike the House floor, we at Zelda Lily are very comfortable with the word “vagina”). In other words, if they want to pump up Romney’s support among women, let’s get a woman up there with him.
Because, you know, that worked out so well for John McCain last election …
Anyway, The Fiscal Times created a list of fourteen potential running mates for Romney, and three of those names are women: Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), former Secretary of State …
… Condoleezza Rice, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
The good news is, none of them are Sarah Palin.
The bad news is … well, let’s be real, would any of them be brought forward as contenders if not for their gender?
Kelly Ayotte is in her first term as a U.S. Senator. Prior to that, she served as New Hampshire’s Attorney General, where she had a reputation for only personally getting involved in high profile cases that would get her the right kind of media coverage (the shooting of Officer Michael Briggs, taking on Planned Parenthood regarding minors and abortion, and so on). Yup, Ayotte’s been gunning for high-level politics for years.
And in addition to having very limited experience in government, Ayotte is rather infamous in New Hampshire for totally missing the boat on a Ponzi scheme that was brought to her attention.
New Hampshire’s state government is being rocked by a major financial scandal in involving the bankruptcy of Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. (Meredith, NH), an investment company.
FMR and its sister company, CL&M, turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.
The failure of Ayotte and other state financial regulators to act in a timely manner to prevent the pyramid scheme-style fraud enabled hundreds of Granite Staters to be fleeced out of millions of dollars. In total, $82 million is missing.
Condoleezza Rice, on the other hand, has a tremendous amount of experience; however, her eternal association with the Dubya administration would more than likely give anti-Obama Democrats and independents pause.
And then there’s the fact that she essentially blew off an attempted warning in July of 2001 regarding the severity of Osama bin Laden’s imminent danger to the U.S., which respected journalist Bob Woodward wrote about in his book State of Denial.
“On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence, showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.
“Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away… He and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action…”
Woodward writes that Tenet hoped to “shake Rice” and that Black “emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning, meaning the problem was so serious that it required an overall plan and strategy… They needed to take action that moment—covert, military, whatever—to thwart bin Laden…”
Woodward continues, “Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn’t want to swat at flies…”
The damning implications of this reported conversation are self-evident. The chief adviser on national security to President George W. Bush was given an explicit warning, just two months before the hijacked passenger jets crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, claiming nearly 3,000 lives, and nothing was done.
And then, of course, there’s Nikki Haley, who has been accused of a variety of unsavory things, including repeated marital infidelity and, prior to her gubernatorial days, “working” at a job where she was paid a lot of money for doing pretty much nothing just to get up a connection between herself and the company considering her political aspirations.
[Both] Wilbur Smith Associates and the Lexington Medical Center were willing to pay Rep. Nikki Haley relatively large amounts for what appears to be not a lot of work.
According to testimony, Haley applied to a job as an accountant with Wilbur Smith Associates in 2006. She was determined to be overqualified and “not the right fit” for the job, but was offered a position as a “passive consultant” for $2,500 per month. The position was effectively created in order to contract with Haley.
Haley held the position from October 2006 through September 2008. Her duties were described to the committee as attending business and social functions to see if she could hear of any projects on which Wilbur Smith could submit proposals on. During the last part of her employment, Haley’s remuneration was reduced to $1,000 per month.
According to Robert Farrell, Vice President and Client Service Manager for Wilbur Smith, Haley was paid $48,000 over a period of 23 months with nothing being brought to the company by Haley that resulted in business for Wilbur Smith.
According to Farrell, Haley was hired to prospect in the private business area, although only about five percent of Wilbur Smith’s business comes from private projects.
Unless you are very lucky or very boring (although even Al Gore turned out to have a couple of poodle skeletons in his closet), things come out when you become politically successful. It’s the nature of the job, and it’s perhaps unfair that I highlighted some negatives about these three women …
But, really, that’s my point. Ayotte, Rice, and Haley are in the proverbial running purely because they are women … and that is patently wrong. Intentionally forcing a switch in gender roles just to garner support from women is just as sexist as ignoring qualified female candidates would be.
There are women (on both sides of the political arena) that have proven through experience, hard work, and determination that they are equal to any task they take on; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) come to mind.
But for yahoos like Ayotte, Rice, and Haley to be seriously considered for the vice-presidency of the United States …
Well, I’ll just say that I highly doubt that any man with their experience (or lack thereof) and baggage would be in the running.
Or am I way off base here?