Hard to imagine two women who have less in common
It is hard to imagine two women who have less in common.
United States Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Tex) who served for three terms in the mid-1970s was the first black woman elected to Congress in Texas. She was considered as a running mate for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and delivered an incredible keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Before her untimely death brought on by multiple sclerosis and leukemia in 1996, she delivered another keynote address at the 1992 convention.
Until her obituary, only those who knew her privately knew that her “long-time partner” was a woman. She kept her sexual orientation very private.
Sarah Palin was the youngest and first female governor in Alaska history. She is called one of the most influential women in the history of the Republican Party and Jim DeMint said her endorsement is the most important on the right side of the aisle.
In fact, it was pointed out at the Western Conservative Summit that at Palin’s current age (50), Ronald Reagan wasn’t even a Republican yet.
But as different as these women are, there is one word that has brought them into the same conversation. Forty years apart, both women called for the impeachment of a President. Jordan delivered a stirring speech to the House Judiciary Committee outlining the crimes that ultimately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Palin has used her FOX News platform, social media and speaking engagements to call for impeachment of President Barack Obama despite the fact that most Republican Congressional leaders fear the procedure would end in political disaster just like the successful Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings did more than 15 years ago. Clinton was impeached in the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998 after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton’s approval ratings jumped to an all-time high soon after that vote and then he was acquitted by the Senate.
Unaffected by the lessons of history or persistence of facts, Palin still told the Western Conservative Summit “if Obama’s not impeachable, no one is.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) wants nothing to do with impeachment proceedings that could blow up in his party’s face just in time for mid-term elections.
The chair of the House Judiciary Committee also distanced his group from the action.
“The Constitution is very clear as to what constitutes grounds for impeachment of the President of the United States," Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), said last week. "He (Obama) has not committed the kind of criminal acts that call for that.”
In 1974, Jordan – who won a national championship in debate while in college at Texas State University – delivered a knockout blow to the Nixon presidency.
After outlining all of the offenses Nixon committed and helped plan that other committed, Jordan – a lawyer who taught law and had a private practice before her political career began - concluded her speech with, “Has the President committed offenses, and planned, and directed, and acquiesced in a course of conduct which the Constitution will not tolerate? That's the question. We know that. We know the question. We should now forthwith proceed to answer the question. It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.”
Palin, whose education included stints in two Hawaiian universities, and an Alaskan institute of higher learning before graduating with a Communications degree from the University of Idaho, said she doesn’t need a law degree to know Obama should be impeached.
It’s funny. Most people with law degrees disagree.
Palin and Jordan show the differences in 40 years of politics and society. First, Jordan could never keep her sexual preferences private now. However, one would like to believe that the substance of her thoughts and intelligence would still allow her to be successful politically. But we all know that in the current climate, a homosexual black woman in Texas would have a tough time.
Palin is proof that style over substance is the name of the game today.
Her rise to fame and ability to continue to exist in that rarified air has everything to do with colloquialism and cuteness. Wisdom is lacking in the platitudes she preaches.
It may seem like an unattainable dream to have someone speak without passion or pretense in politics today. A return to Jordan’s call for reason and not passion to guide deliberations and debate is unlikely today.
Reasoned voices are drowned out by the carnival barkers begging for attention.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org