November 10, 2010 / Leadership, Politics, Sexism

Will the Republican Old Boys Network Do the Smart Thing?


On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace calls out Republican leadership and defines the Old Boys Club. To see for yourself, watch this (skip to 12:30):

Chris Wallace asked Rep. Eric Cantor whether the GOP will act as an “old boys’ network” and freeze out newer Tea Party members like Michele Bachmann. Cantor said no, not at all—he’s simply endorsing Jeb Hensarling for conference chair over Bachmann because “we’ve had a history of working together.” “Yeah, but that’s the old boys’ network!” Wallace interjected.

Thank you Chris Wallace! This is the VERY definition of the Old Boys Network. It isn’t necessarily something done on purpose. Typically, it is matter of choosing people they feel more comfortable with. The only way to move beyond the network and realize the resulting benefits, is to purposefully and consciously go out of the network. This is the logic behind affirmative action programs. But you don’t have to have a law or be forced to do it. You can do it because it is the smart thing to do. Republicans rode a Pro-Women wave in the midterm elections. For the first time since 1988, women voted equally for Republicans and Democrats, compared with double digit point advantages for Democrats in 2008 and 2006. Republicans would be smart to keep that wave going. That includes putting women in leadership positions and in the pipeline for 2012 candidates. Not only is this smart politically, it is smart for the country. Our country needs solutions and that other half of the population is an untapped resource with loads of talent and valuable life experience. Considering the state of our economy, doesn’t now seem like the time to use all of our resources?

Come on boys, do the smart thing. Show us the women!

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  • Kathleen Wynne

    No matter how you slize and dice it, Cantor is like most men. It’s not totally because he’s not comfortable working with a woman, it’s because he’s afraid the woman will “show him up”. I doubt Chris Wallace’s calling out the “old boys network” will bring about any revelations among these men in power to change their attitudes. I’d like to be proven wrong, but look how the GOP are going after Sarah Palin, one of their own, in an effort to stop her climb in popularity which could impact the 2012 presidential election. Notice they formed a club of the younger republican men the GOP political establishment types (i.e., Karl Rove) want to push forward as potential presidential candidates. No women were allowed. That should be a sign of where we are, when it comes to taking women seriously.

    Face it. Guys still have a real psychologial aversion towards being beaten by a woman, even if they know she is the better qualified person for the job. Hence, the state of our country and the world.

    We have to stop fooling ourselves. Women cannot and must not depend on the men coming to their senses anytime soon when it comes to sharing power with women. There may be pockets of change here and there, but it will be few and far between and not nearly enough to make the difference women could make by having larger numbers in places of power.

    If women want the change you write about here, we are going to have to stop waiting and start seriously focusing on uniting together all women of all political and cultural affiliations, if we truly want womnn to have a place at the table of life. We just don’t have time to wait for the evolution of the men to recognize that we are not the enemy of their manhood, but simply the other half of the human race who have the same right as they have in deciding how we govern ourselves.

    If we cannot figure out how to unite women behind this great cause, how in the world do we expect to change the way men still think about us?

  • Jen

    I see what you’re saying, but I cannot stand behind a woman who is ideologically my opposite for the sake of getting a woman into a leadership position. I would much rather a man who agrees with me on key issues such as the war in Afghanistan, abortion, 2nd Amendment rights, etc. If, however, it was a choice between a man and a woman who equally agreed with me, I would choose her because I do agree that we need more representation.

  • yttik

    Why can’t you stand behind the woman, Bes?? I assume Cantor is also your “ideological opposite.” I assume Jeb Hensarling is also. So really you have nothing to lose by supporting Bachmann. The outcome is going to be somebody you are ideologically in disagreement with, anyway. You might as well take the opportunity to increase the number of women in positions of power and help rid the system of the good old boys club.

  • yttik

    LOL, why did I call you Bes? I have no idea. Sorry, Jen.

  • Optixmom

    Right yttik, if you have no control over the fact that those in political power are diametrically opposed to you, you might as well get someone in a leadership position who will represent your gender. You might be surprised where the common ground lies when the commercials are not running. There are many Pub women to choose for leadership positions in the House and in the RNC so let’s utilize them.

  • Bes

    “We just don’t have time to wait for the evolution of the men to recognize that we are not the enemy of their manhood, but simply the other half of the human race who have the same right as they have in deciding how we govern ourselves.”

    Yeah! Where did men come up with the idea that we are the enemy? Anyway no one is going to give you power you have to take it, so that is what women need to be doing.

    I certainly hope Republicans welcome the new Republican women in and that they continue to recruit strong women candidates. I vote an Independent ballot so they will have to to get my vote. I hope the Dems come around too however they still don’t acknowledge the sexism they unleashed in 2008 so I’m not holding my breath.

  • marille

    I applaud Chris Wallace to call out the old boys club. it is a drop in the right direction. the problem is that the topic discussed here about the change in the women’s vote has not made it into the public discourse. so the leadership does not feel they have to address it, meaning they would take the switch in the women’s vote serious. if they were smart they would see that they have to work for women voters, treat our representatives well, give them a seat at the table. Obama fear is not cutting it to keep the current advantage the Republicans have.

  • Janis

    “but I cannot stand behind a woman who is ideologically my opposite for the sake of getting a woman into a leadership position.”

    Let me pitch clean-up for this one:

    “Because getting a woman into a leadership position has no ideological value to me whatsoever, or if it does, it’s dead last compared to the million other male-centered issues I care far more about.”

  • I hope that there is another woman in a Leadership position. I am also an independent voter and the GOP got my vote this year but if they want to keep me they need to recruit more women.

  • BevWKY

    The smart thing? I suppose it depends upon how one defines “the smart thing” or if they would even recognize it if they saw it. Ideological differences aside, what we’re truly talking about here is the simple fact that so many of these people haven’t had to contend with someone who is willing to get right in their faces – and fight back.

    “Governor Palin Talks About American Exceptionalism and Reportedly Says “If I Run, I’m In It To Win It” at the Plumstead Christian School” (http://www.conservatives4palin.....rican.html)

    It really is as simple as that.

    Seriously, does anyone honestly and truly believe all the gnashing and wailing about whether or not Palin is electible in the general is about whether she can beat Obama? Or even Hillary Clinton? Or any other Democrat?

    In many ways most of this is even not about gender, although the gender issue crackles in the background and can’t be ignored because it seems like every other day some idiot brings it to our attention with their attitude or behavior. At its heart, though, it’s about any candidate, male or female, being ready, willing and able to take the fight to the old guard network in either party.

    It’s not for nothing that Palin picked the iconography of the Mama Grizzlies to inspire people. Which is why everyone is on tenderhooks, waiting for her to make up her mind about whether she wants it badly enough to run or not. Whether she believes enough people want her to run. ‘Cause it ain’t about whether or not she’ll ultimately win. It’s about the absolute certainty that she will go down fighting, plowing through and over every single one of the big boy, old guard Republicans to get there and they know it.

    The Republican party will never be the same, win, lose or draw, and it has nothing to do with her losing to any Democrat afterwards.

    But what happens afterwards could get really interesting.

  • SA

    Why is it so terrible to want to vote for someone just because they are a woman? There have been countless male voters in history who, if seeing a man and woman’s names on a ballot, would vote for the man – because he cannot see voting for a woman.

  • Janis

    SA, it’s because ultimately, the women who do that see zero value whatsoever to a woman’s presence in and of itself. And they call that feminism. It’s insane, absolutely insane.

    And they see zero ideological meaning to the destruction of woman candidates who are subjected to hateful, violent sexism and degradation. When the time comes to vote, they just experience amnesia and forget all that ever happened, as if that doesn’t teach a lesson in and of itself, and the most destructive lesson of all. Maybe they whine and stamp their little feet about it to appear “sassy” or something, but while it’s important enough to them to whine transiently about, it’s not important enough for them to vote based on it.

    Feminism now means that one is expected to rank the ideological value of women in and of ourselves as dead list. “Feminists” now put women LAST.

    I actually have some sympathy with men sometimes when they look at women and go, “What the hell do you WANT, anyway?” I think the same thing! Women are like the bucket of crabs crawling over one another to get out — but there has to be a first crab to get out. One of the little things will be the first one to reach the rim of the bucket.

    And the second it happens, all the others will reach up and drag it back down. There is a brass ring of power, and there has to be a first woman to get within reach of it. She’s going to be imperfect, of course, since we all are. We all strive for that, we all pretend to want it more than anything, and the minute that first imperfect woman reaches out for it, a million other women slap it out of her hands because it’s that bitch and not me! She’s not perfect!

    Or they will say, “I will NOT stand by and watch SOME OTHER WOMAN get that ring! I’d sooner see a MAN I approve of get it!” And of course, if by some insane chance, the quoted woman does approve of that one woman who reaches the ring first, the woman standing next to her won’t, and SHE will reach out and slap it out of that bitch’s hands, because she would rather see that man over there get it.

    Because neither of them — despite being denied power purely because they are women — think there is any value in someone achieving power if they are a woman. They see zero inherent value whatsoever to a woman finally reaching that ring and doing what no other woman on Earth has ever done. And men see this (as do I) and think, “What the hell do you idiots freakin WANT?! You keep SAYING you want equality and power, and you keep slapping it out of one another’s hands!”

    (And a lot of these women would come right out and say in 2008, “But he’s black!” as if there is inherent value in that. But not for women. Not unless it’s “MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!”)

    Women keep surging forward and reaching the brass ring, and then when the first woman reaches for it, other women will slap it out of her hands and hand it to a man. No matter who that first woman is — no matter how wonderful and brilliant *gritting teeth* — she will always have some woman standing behind her ready to take her out faster than any man. Women are allergic to power and incapable of gaining or keeping it. This is why we have been garbage for the past million years. We either stop this shit, or we STFU and knock off the whining about how unfair it is when WE can’t reach the ring. If you cheer when Michelle Bachmann is dangling off the gallows of sexism, then STFU when it’s you up there sweetie, because I don’t want to hear it.

    Yes yes yes, I know, you say you don’t approve of Bachmann being subjected to sexism … but you either stand there and do nothing, whine a bit and shut up, or else cheer.

    I just do not get this insanity in a lot of today’s women who call themselves feminists. “Oh, woe is me! I am OPPRESSED solely because I’m a woman! And I believe that the only thing worse is when a woman is ELEVATED solely because she is a woman!” They want to support women as an abstract group while still being allowed to hate individual women. They are out of their minds.

  • GOP woman leader would ‘love’ other women on leadership:

  • libby

    The question that matters is what do women vote on when they go to the polls especially in a Presidential election? The answer is the economy, education etc the things that effect their everyday lives and those that may effect their families in the future. Most women would agree that another women is more likely to understand the concerns and experiences of other women than a man but that does not mean as Jen said that they will abandon their political beliefs to vote for her. There is no benefit at all in having another women in a leadership position if she will use that power to put in place policies that you do not agree with. The economy, taxation, education, international relations etc are not ‘male-centred issues’ they are the things that effect women’s lives just as much as men’s and that is why for most women they outweigh gender when deciding who to vote for.
    Oh and the answer to the question ‘where did men come up with the idea that we are the enemy’ is simple – religion. The Abrahamic religions are extremely patriarchial. Bring back the Goddess I say.

  • Kathleen Wynne


    I believe men created religion in order to rationalize their oppressive treatment of women, and in many cases, horrific human rights violations, all in the name of “religion”, to excuse them from guilt, consequences or accountability.

    As Hillary has said about how the women are treated under Sharia law, “it’s not cultural, it’s not custom, it’s criminal.”

    How can women believe that any man who uses religion as the excuse for such behavior and not see the absolute absurdity of it and a call to action to save ourselves from this insanity, is beyond comprehension.

  • Juliette

    ” Men created religion to rationalize their oppressive treatment of women, and in may cases horrific human rights violations..”

    Are the Chinese religious; no oppresion of women or human rights violations there huh?!?! Communists have done more to degrade human rights and individual freedoms than any Christian society. Are you not aware of what Jesus did when he witnessed the the stoning of Mary Magdaline? Women are much safer and more respected in the Judeo-Christian world than in any global government such as Islam or communism. I would agree with you on men who created polygamist “religions” though. But I choose to not acknowledge any institution that accepts the practise of polygamy as a religion so those so called men who created an excuse to rape little girls and forse them into marriage are as far from prophets as you can get in my book.
    Just my oppinion.

  • marille

    just read Michelle Bachmann withdraw her bid and supports her competitor.

  • anna

    Libby, when you read the candidates broshures, the dems often sound so much more empathetic and seeing the task ahead. the pubs have the boring message fiscal responsible and small government. for education the dems sound particularly great. I have come to doubt the vast majority of statements made in these broshures, coming from Maryland, the single party state. I live in the county with the supposedly best schools. Since we got a new principle who is a lemon (sexually harassing teachers, coercing students to make false statements against a teacher) I have seen that all checks and balances are off. the teachers union does nothing, the school system does nothing and the board of education is not getting involved. despite national news coverage, everyone got re-elected. I have seen now from many other parent associations how many non addressed problems we have in our district, from not getting equipment repaired to closing of all schools for special needs children. they are now integrated. while some special needs children like to go to the schools with their siblings, many or most are entirely lost. the teacher not prepared, no setting where they can learn. we had incredibly good years and the school budget just exploded with many pet projects of the highly compensated superintendent funded, and a several million dollars deficit going into the recession. where do they cut? on teachers, not administrators. and new hidden taxes like cellphone tax.
    or look at the jail system. we have no money for more jails and don’t want overcrowding. it seems the solution is to get people out. who gets out are not the people with minor crimes, it is the worst ones. we have “reconsideration hearing”. every inmate can file in a certain time frame. trial lawyers love it, they put out adds how quick they get people out of prison. we are also called the state with endless chances. you can better call it. how many victims lives (mostly women)does it take until someone stays in prison. sentences are slashed from 60 to 14 years or 18 years into 18 months at these repeat trials. and then with sentences around 12 years the diminution or good behavior credits set in, which cut the rest of the time by 66%. result is murderers out in less than 7 years.
    this is happening in a forever democratic state. victims are of no concern. with the current budget problem the democrats cut first the tiny budget for trafficking victims, then cut the counseling for domestic violence victims.

    does this sound like democrats to you. forget about the slogans. that is not what you get.
    try the increase in female representation over party afilliation. it is worth a try.

  • Janis

    “I believe men created religion in order to rationalize their oppressive treatment of women … ”

    I think every male-created institution is ultimately created for that purpose. Do all men on Earth share in this attitude? No, but they are always conspicuously absent when the bylaws are written somehow. Religion is only one of a million institutions created with a NO GIRLZ ALOWED sign hung on the door.

  • libby

    Anna thank you, you prove my point perfectly. You are a women who considers the candidates, their policies and the records in office when deciding how to vote and you are not fooled by slogans or PR. So because of the politics and record of Democrats in your state you won’t support them, good for you. I assume this means you will not support female democrat candidates either as you do not agree with their record or policies and are prepared to vote for male candidates over female ones because of your concern about education, crime etc.

  • Janis

    “The question that matters is what do women vote on when they go to the polls especially in a Presidential election? The answer is the economy, education etc the things that effect their everyday lives and those that may effect their families in the future.”

    Is there any reason why defeating the sexist treatment of women who aim for power is not on this list? Or is dead last, so far behind that it isn’t even worth mentioning?

  • There is no benefit at all in having another women in a leadership position if she will use that power to put in place policies that you do not agree with.

    I disagree that there is “no benefit at all.” First, the presence of more women promotes more women, period. Little girls grow up seeing the appallingly low number of women in office, and that affects their future choices.

    Second of all, as a simple matter of math, women being present are a benefit. As more women take office from all walks of life and all political persuasions, more power is accrued to women period.

    Finally, as a matter of fairness to the women alive today, it is imperative that women have equal opportunity, by which I mean EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. Equal opportunity to be a money-grubbing, hose-bagging, politically incorrect gasbag, just like the many men currently elected. Having a different standard for women is the problem.

    It serves no one’s interests to try to maintain a gendered ghetto in politics, or to fight over whose thusly genderized ghetto should be bigger or smaller. I am personally appalled that women on the left do not see their own accountability in this scenario in their reaction to conservative female candidates. They are literally arguing to hold conservative women back, arguing that they deserve the cave from whence they came. That attitude has separated me from their ideology forever. I can only see them as intellectually stunted, weak, and uncommitted to real change for women.

  • libby

    janis I’m not saying women don’t care about sexist treatment of other women, of course they do. Sexism against one women is sexism against all women and most (not all sadly) are sensitive to the issue. But it is not all they care about and so is not all they vote upon. Gender diffuses across all issues because women are not just women. They are workers, mothers, consumers, citizens, commuters, drivers, gay, asian, hispanic, black, white, atheist, catholic, protestant etc etc etc. So other issues like education,energy, employment, taxation etc etc are as important, or sometimes more important because of their individual situation in deciding how they will vote than gender. A desire to defeat sexism is shown just as strongly through support for policies that stop discrimination against women in for example pay, as just voting for female candidates. Equal opportunity is a positive empowering thing, it’s bizarre to see it as some sort of crusade to empower female politicians to be as corrupt as their male counterparts. Personally I have no desire to see women dragged down to the level of men, if all we can aspire to do is copy their standards we are really wasting our time.

  • Janis

    “But it is not all they care about and so is not all they vote upon.”

    Libby, it’s not even anywhere NEAR what they vote on, much less bring in the top spot where it belongs.

  • Samsmom

    The are some voting districts that are reliably conservative. No liberal candidate, man or woman, is going to be elected there unless there is a huge tectonic shift in the political landscape. What amazes me is that even under those circumstances, some liberal women who claim the capital “F” version of feminism, refuse to see the value of getting behind a conservative woman in the race. I agree with Anna Belle. “Intellectually stunted, weak, and uncommitted to real change for women.”

  • libby

    OK Samsmum fair point. So explain what right wing women have done and propose to do to advance ‘real change for women’

  • Kali

    So explain what right wing women have done and propose to do to advance ‘real change for women’

    The point, as I understand it, is not that right wing women are better than left wing women. The point is that right wing women are better than the right wing men (whether they put a R or D behind their name).

  • Janis

    Explain why the vicious constant sexual humiliation and degradation of ANY woman, even a Republican one, is a good thing for women and girls to witness in either party.

    Explain further why watching other women sitting on their hands and doing nothing to stop what amounts to a national or global metaphorical gang-rape — certainly not prioritizing it over and above the rest of a trivial laundry list of items that are oh so much more important — does not teach a frightening lesson to women and girls.

    Hanging ANY black body off of a tree terrorizes ALL people living in black bodies and acts as a point of pressure to keep ALL such people in their place — even if the black person wasn’t an approved friend to their community. Similarly, ripping ANY woman to shreds in the eyes of the world terrorizes ALL women of ALL parties and acts as a signal to ALL women to stay in their place.

    You either care enough about that to vote based on it, or you don’t. Period. Anything else is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • libby

    Kali I get your point. Voting for a female republican (or democrat) is better than voting for a male republican (or democrat) no argument assuming they support the same policies or at least supportable policies. I don’t disagree with that at all.
    I agree with Janis’ point as well about the effects of sexism as I said in an earlier comment. Sexism is destructive not just to those women it is aimed at but to other watching females as well.But my point is that as everyone on this site agrees we want to increase the numbers of women elected, to do that they have to win campaigns and they will not do that unless they talk about the issues effecting women’s lives.Sexism is one of those but not the only one and Janis if you seriously think jobs, schools, taxes and community safety are ‘a trival laundry list of items’ for women your experience of life is very different from mine.