At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast this morning Nancy Pelosi was asked about sexism in the Democratic primaries. The highest-ranking woman to ever win U.S. public office seemed a little taken aback. “Is there sexism? Probably so. Is it responsible for the defeat? I really wouldn’t have the scientific knowledge – all of the information – to know that,” Pelosi said after a pause. “I do think that being a woman has a positive upside in the campaign that probably off set some of the sexism.”
As Obama sets out to court women, ahead of his Unity appearance with Clinton Friday in, appropriately enough, Unity, New Hampshire some are speculating that there are die hard Hillary fans who will never be convinced of Obama. Certainly, there has been a lot of speculation about the role of sexism in the race (here, here, here, here and here, for example). At Hillary’s last two speeches I found evidence of fundraisers and supporters who vowed never to forgive Obama for what they saw as his theft of Hillary’s election.
But, for the most part, women seem to be turning to Obama despite McCain’s courtship of Hillary’s disaffected voters, before Hillary has even appeared with Obama. Pelosi went on to say that Hillary “has advanced the cause of women in government and her candidacy has been a very positive tonic for the country and had a very wholesome effect on the political process.” In her concession speech Clinton seemed to hint that she might pick up the mantle of women’s rights – it will be interesting to see if and what she does in the future. At the very least, the suspension of her candidacy has stirred the debate, which can only be healthy for women everywhere.