The gender grievance lobby is going to have a hard time with this one:
Nearly two years after Sarah Palin became the Republican Party’s first female nominee for vice president, record numbers of Republican women are running for House seats, driving the overall count of women running for both the House and the Senate to a new high.
The surge in female candidates has taken place largely under the radar. The previous high came in 1992, the “Year of the Woman” that pushed the percentage of women in Congress into the double digits for the first time. That year, 222 women filed to run for the House and 29 for Senate contests.
So far this year, 239 women are candidates for the House and 31 for the Senate, according to data from the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. Among them, a record 107 Republican women have filed for a House seat, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee — surpassing a previous GOP high of 91 in 1994, and a sharp increase from the 65 who ran in 2008. And those numbers could still grow. In each year Rutgers has been keeping track, the final tally has exceeded the late April figure by more than 20 candidates.
“It looks like it is going to be a record year,” said Gilda Morales, who crunches the data for the Rutgers’ women’s center. “What’s bringing these numbers up is Republican women.”
But it was just a few months ago that we were told the Republicans had a problem with women, right? Not anymore, it seems. Now the liberal feminist lobby will be sure to rush forth to tell voters these women don’t really represent the interests of women, meaning they are pro-life and don’t favor the expansion of the welfare state.
What must be particularly galling for the Palin-phobic is the notion that she has — gasp! — inspired other women to give politics a try. She is, dare we say, empowering and encouraging a whole generation of women:
“I think there could be some surprises this year,” said McMorris Rodgers. Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Jan Larimer, who also heads its women’s program, attributed the increase to anger over Democratic domestic policy priorities: “The policies of the Obama administration and a Congress led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have energized women to fight back. First, they were afraid and now they are angry about health care, their jobs, how to pay for their children’s education.”
And the example of Palin certainly didn’t hurt. Women “are giving the GOP a second look and realizing that our policies, principles and vision make sense and work for their families,” she said.
Well, to be fair, Obama has certainly helped get lots of viable conservative candidates, male and female, into the race. The biggest impact of the flood of women candidates may be the shutting down of the entire gender sob-story line. After all, if there’s no significant gender gap between the parties in their respective fields of candidates, I suspect the media will quickly lose interest in the entire topic, which was largely just another excuse to bash Republicans. And for that, we can, in part, thank Sarah Palin.