Political Animal

MORE BURK BASHING….Joel Mowbray is

MORE BURK BASHING….Joel Mowbray is upset that one of our representatives to the Baltic Conference on Women and Democracy was ? gasp ? an actual feminist:

Taking a break from hounding Augusta National Golf Club for not admitting female members, infamous feminist Martha Burk heeded the call of the State Department last month to represent the United States as part of a delegation to a conference on women’s issues in Tallin, Estonia.

….[The conference] focused mostly on feminist agenda items ? “women in power and decision-making,” “women and economy,” and “women in media” ? as well as serious issues such as prostitution and violence against women. Not one to address the real concerns of ordinary women ? like the ability to golf at an exclusive club ? Burk stuck to the likes of the “sexualization of mass culture and our environment.” She did take the time, however, to branch out to bash Bush and the country she was representing.

I’m really tired of this kind of smug yapping from conservative columnists. The reason Burk harps on Augusta National is because no one pays attention to her when she’s talking about substantive issues. Make a speech about, say, the difficulty that single working women have finding decent childcare ? and the media yawns. And National Review ignores it. Start a campaign to get women admitted to their precious golf club, though, and you get attention that most organizations can only dream of. So if Mowbray really wants to cut down on the frivolity, maybe he should pay a little more attention to feminist substance.

And speaking of substance, exactly why does he think that the relationship of women to power, decision-making, the economy, and the media are unserious issues? I’m no big fan of academic feminism and its seemingly endless ability to dig up ever newer and more baroque examples of power relationships that nobody’s ever heard of before, but these four all sound perfectly serious and mainstream to me.

Now, it’s probably true that it’s inappropriate to make a toast in a foreign country ? as part of a State Department delegation ? expressing the hope that the president of the United States doesn’t get reelected. On the other hand, bemoaning the fact that we didn’t pass the Equal Rights Amendment or the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women seem like rather predictable positions for a feminist to take.

Unless, of course, you think Phyllis Schlafly is the right kind of feminist to represent us at international women’s conferences. Maybe that’s what Mowbray had in mind.

PART 5….Yeah, yeah, I know

PART 5….Yeah, yeah, I know I said I was done, but Tapped points to this article about the need to appeal to the center if you want to make a difference:

There is a vital place for radicalism in any movement, and the direct actions that took place in front of the headquarters of Bechtel (which is in line for huge contracts to “rebuild” Iraq) and Chevron (which named an oil tanker for Condoleezza Rice) seemed wholly appropriate. But group vomiting in front of the federal building, petty vandalism, throwing rocks at cops…Such acts might get you on the news or earn you radical cred, but they marginalize the cause of peace and drive away those who might join you in it.

….At the head of the demonstration, the organizers had banners bearing a picture and a quote of Dr. King: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is] my own government.” I was reminded of the marchers in Selma, wearing their Sunday best, dignified in the face of brutality. Their nobility was impossible to dismiss; it shattered the stereotypes that previously allowed people to do so.

Who said this? Clara Jeffery writing in Mother Jones. I assume that even under Roger Cohn’s leadership their activist liberal credibility is sufficiently well established to make them worth listening to on this point?

LOYALTY….You just have to love

LOYALTY….You just have to love George Bush’s sense of gratitude and loyalty. We have a “coalition” fighting a war in Iraq, but when it comes to bidding on post-war reconstruction contracts that coalition suddenly shrinks to….the United States of America:

“In my organization of 350 U.K. major consultancies and construction firms, 84 have expressed a wish to go work in Iraq — and 50 have been there before,” said Colin Adams, chief executive of the British Consultants and Construction Bureau. Given Britain’s support for the war, he said, his members felt they should at least be considered for subcontractor work.

“There’s a feeling that not only is there some moral justice that we ought to be able to bid, but also common sense,” Adams said.

And why aren’t British firms allowed to compete? It gets even worse:

USAID administrator Andrew S. Natsios testified before Congress last week that secrecy was necessary because bidders had to look at “top secret” documents.

So the bottom line is that it’s OK for British soldiers to die on the battlefield along with ours, but their firms can’t be allowed to see top secret documents that we trust American firms to look at.

The Bushies are a real piece of work, aren’t they? I wonder how long before Tony Blair’s patience finally evaporates and he suddenly starts ranting gibberish on one of his his transatlantic chats with his friend W? It’s bound to happen sooner or later.