It appears that 2010 may be the “year of the woman” in Connecticut politics -- and not only in Connecticut. Pretty much across the United States, markedly in the Republican Party, women seem to be coming out of the woodwork to run for office, and their backgrounds, mostly in business, are not shallow.
Genus feminae, of course, has been making steady progress in politics for some time. Women hold 90 or 16.8% of the 535 seats in the 111th US Congress, 17% of the 100 seats in the Senate and 16.8% of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.
Connecticut can point to bumper crop of women vying for political positions this year. One of them, Martha Dean, running for attorney general, was the highest vote getter in the recently concluded Republican primaries.
Ann Brickley, running against Democratic pit bull Rep. John Larson – New England’s answer to Ear Mark King John Murtha, diseased -- has a stunning background in business. It seems that Republican women, having tasted some success in what Democrats this year derisively call “Wall Street,” as opposed to “Main Street,” have now turned their attention to politics.
In addition to Brickley, two other people are running in the 1st District, Ken Krayeske and Chris Hutchinson.
Krayeske, a progressive scourge running on the Green Party ticket, is best known in Connecticut for having been arrested by over-zealous Hartford Police. Krayeske disturbed Hartford’s finest in 2007 by intervening in a parade featuring Gov. Jodi Rell and became, because of this, an overnight cause celebre among some in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Radicalized by his ill treatment at the rough hands of “the man,” Krayeske has now finished law school and is loaded for bear. Hutchinson is a Socialist Party candidate, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Brickley is a former General Electric executive and United Technologies guru. For much of her business life, she has devoted herself to helping companies improve both their productivity and the quality of their products, enabling them to become more competitive in national and global markets. Having started her own business, she has been for 15 years applying her talents in assisting companies to compete in a crowded international marketplace, not a bad resume if one happens to be on the look-out for a politician who might be able to address the crush of business problems now threatening to turn the U.S. into a third world plutocracy -- with politicians, as happens in plutocracies, handing out benefices to favored companies and political action groups.
Larson is a tough nut to crack, for all the usual reasons. He’s an incumbent, and therefore has political “experience.” People this year are beginning to catch on that political experience is a plus only when the particular politician has led the country in a profitable direction. Of what use is a taxi driver who takes me to Bridgeport when I have contracted with him to transport me to Hartford, however much driving experience the wayward numbskull has? What should I say to him when he counters my protests that he is going in the wrong direction by replying to me, in that voice of experience most politicians put on when they wish to escape sharp criticism, “We must press on. You, sir, are an obstacle to progress. You may as well try to turn the clock back as turn this cab around! Sir, does not my experience outweigh yours? Be quiet!”
“Listen you, I’ve paid you to take me to Hartford, and if you don’t turn this cab in the opposite direction, I will report you to… to… Rep. John Larson. He has experience.”
In politics and business both, direction is everything.
This year, since the laity is in furious revolt against political clerics, neither incumbency nor political experience may be useful as a hedge against an embarrassing loss of status. Senator Chris Dodd had experience. He is gone, or will be soon. John McCain, vying for the presidency against an inexperienced one and a half term U.S. Rep. and community organizer from corrupt Chicago, had experience, much good it did him. Sen. Edward Kennedy, the lion of the senate, had experience, which did not prevent him from being hauled off to eternity by devils or angels, depending on your political point of view, who are no respecters of experience.
Experience will get you nowhere if you do not take the ship of state where the country wishes to be: That is the message being urged in campaign after campaign this year, sometimes by women who have now come out of the business closet to challenge men who have failed most miserably the trust the nation once put in their clumsy balled fists.
Some people, pointing in the direction of women-stoning mullahs of the Middle East, reason that the world would be a softer, more thoughtful place without all this needless testosterone in it.
They have a point. Perhaps voters this year should cast their ballots for genus feminae -- including the “kick ass” ladies.