Condoleezza Rice or Tony Snow standing up for feminism is tantamount to Donald Trump standing up for Rosie: The spectacle is improbable, unspeakable, and comical. It seems to me that Rice has made a career out of dewomanizing herself. Asked her position on abortion rights, the secretary of state has said she is either "reluctantly" or "mildly" pro-choicenot exactly a response warmly received or endorsed by the National Organization for Women.
As to Tony Snow's leading a feminist charge, that's yet another comical image. Boxer's questioning of Rice, said Snow, was a "great leap backward for feminism."
But we haven't witnessed the press secretary pressing for more high-level female appointments to the Bush administration. In fact, the one thing he could have done to help women (and persons of color) in his post as press secretary to the president has gone missing. He could have urged the president to release figures on women and minorities appointed to sub-cabinet jobs by Mr. Bush. It's a figure that's been strangely suppressed by this administration after having been routinely released by every president since Carter. The suppression of this figure leads one to the inevitable conclusion that the numbers are terrible and must be kept secret.
The Rice-Snow feminism dust-up I'm referring to developed during the past four days when Secretary Rice, while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, got into an exchange with Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, about numbers of American war dead in Iraq and who exactly pays the price for the war. Boxer said:
Now, the issue is who pays the price. Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.
This exchange created an uproar in the right-wing media, including demands for an apology by Boxer. The most interesting post I saw, however, notes that first lady Laura Bush once made similar public comments about Secretary Rice to People magazine as follows:
Dr. Rice, who I think would be a really good candidate, is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job.
Where's the conservative outrage over the first lady's remarks?