On to California, in part to talk about a woman giving the #SOTU


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

On #SOTU day, I invite you to join the campaign to engage more California women in running for office. (As California goes, so goes the nation.)

Led by Betsy Cotton and Mary Hughes, co-creator of the 2012 project of the Center for American Women and Politics, @Close the Gap California is the organizer.

I’m delighted to tell you I will join the campaign, speaking about the need for more women in politics and my guide for getting there:  #everydayiselectionday. I will be in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. I hope you will encourage friends and colleagues there to join in, too.

Here is a recent review of #everydayiselectionday, from Jewish Women International (formerly B’nai Brith Women), which mentions some of the amazing women who could give the #SOTU, no doubt.

Best wishes.


Stupak-Stupid in (Women’s) Suffrage Month

Dear Readers,

Why oh why is this happening? Here’s the latest scoop, from my perspective.

At the links above, you’ll see my commentary on the President’s recent policymaking on the matter of access to abortion. These posts of mine elicited hundreds of comments on The Huffington Post, a symptom, I imagine, of interest in the topic.

As most of you know, I’ve not been a happy camper on this front.

Well, now, not even the President’s strongest allies at the national pro-choice women’s organizations are happy, either. They seem almost as distressed as I. They have submitted letters, called for reconsideration, and, I imagine, have had private meetings. [To no avail, so far.]

So, why, oh why, is this happening? Why is the President taking this course?

I can only conclude that the President is, in this instance, as he says he always does, making policy according to his own lights. In this instance, however, he damns the fact that pro-choice women elected him.

Well, the problem is that this latest approach of his just won’t work. Further, it seems a bad decision, if his goal is advancing women’s overall good health and preventive healthcare.

Whatever the reason for the President’s decision, it’s really, really important for each of us to let the President know our view. You can do that here: “White House dot gov.” This makes a lot of sense to me in this week when we celebrate women’s suffrage.



Malcolm X to Barack Obama: The Supreme Court Needs Someone Like Me

Dear Readers,

Here’s a link to my piece in yesterday’s Huffington Post re the President’s Supreme Court pick: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-sive/malcolm-x-to-barack-obama_b_542935.html

The title references Malcolm X for his quote that’s such a wonderful guidepost to life: “A man (or woman) who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

I’ve already sent the piece along to some of you; if you haven’t yet read, I hope you will, and, anyway, now it’s here for the duration:).

Best wishes.


Shades of Stokely Carmichael

Dear Readers,

You can find “Shades of Stokely Carmichael,” my commentary on the guest list, and the problems therein, for today’s White House healthcare summit, here: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/node/12702, or see the full post below.


So, like any good policy wonk, first thing this morning, as always, was my coffee and skimming the Washington Post Politics Morning Edition. I was particularly eager to read the Post this morning since, after all the healthcare hullabaloo of the last year, today is: WHITE HOUSE HEALTHCARE SUMMIT DAY.

The relevant Washington Post article turned-out to be: “Democrats Looking Past Summit to Final Talks.” (See here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022405633.html?wpisrc=nl_politics).

The relevant article attachment was: “Guest List,” which connects you to an AP story: “Who’s Invited to the Healthcare Summit.” (See here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/whos-invited-to-the-health-car.html?wprss=44.)

Turns out, 38 people were invited. But who, you ask?

Well, of course, if you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll be wondering how many women were invited. Girls and guys, hold your breath; here’s your answer: Grand total: Four.

That’s right, four, one of whom is Nancy Pelosi. So, three, count ‘em, three other women members of Congress, (total membership : 535 people), including one, count her, one woman U.S. Senator. That would be Patty Murray (D, WA).

Wait, it gets better: The total number of women invited by the White House, apart from Nancy Pelosi, 0. Yes, that’s right: 0.

You ask about the White House invitation approach; well, here it is, according to the AP, “The White House invited 22 high-ranking lawmakers and also asked each of the top four congressional leaders to designate four more lawmakers for invitations.” (See here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/whos-invited-to-the-health-car.html?wprss=44.)

So, here’s what I saw when I looked at the White House guest list some more: The “lawmakers invited by the White House” are all either in Senate or House leadership, chair committees, or are a “ranking member” of a committee, with one exception.

Guess what, that exception; he’s a guy too: Senator Chris Dodd, member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and so unpopular in his home state he’s being forced to retire.

Other members of that Senate committee? Well, for starters, there’s Senator Barbara Mikulski, the next (third) ranking member after Sen Dodd, and then there’s Senator Patty Murray, the fifth ranking member.

But neither Mikulski nor Murray were invited by the White House, even in light of the fact that the issue of women’s health, not to say, abortion rights, is front and center in the debate over healthcare reform.

Murray had to wait to get invited, according to the AP, by “the House and Senate leadership,” along with one other pro-choice Democratic woman, that’s right, one other–Rep. Louis Slaughter.

According to the published reports I can find at this hour (10am CST), the final chapter in this sorry saga was written late yesterday when Rep. John Boehner requested that the White House invite Rep. Bart Stupak, he of the infamous “Stupak Amendment.” (See here: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2010/02/24/stupak-v-slaughter-a-summit-match, and here:http://freerepublic.com/.)

Apparently, when the White House was asked about Rep. Boehner’s request, “…the [unnamed White House] official said, “If they want Stupak to come, they can bring him.”

Back-in-the-day, some of us got “fired up and ready to go,” (See here: http://chattahbox.com/us/2009/09/07/president-obama-fired-up-ready-to-go-on-health-care-reform), in our case, to fight for women’s reproductive rights, because we heard stuff like this: “The proper position of women in SNCC, (the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, a leading civil rights organization of the 1960’s civil rights movement) is prone.” (See here: http://www.crmvet.org/mem/stodely1.htm.). Some say Stokely Carmichael spoke in jest, but what matter?

This all feels like “déjà vu all over again,”* just in a different venue.




Carol Marin asks: “Why aren’t women running for office?”

Good afternoon, readers.

On this day, the National Day of Action (to prevent Stupak), when America’s women are in one of the biggest political battles of the last 50 years: battling to prevent the Stupak Amendment from becoming law, think about where we might be, instead, if more women were in high political office.

Would there be such misogynist legislation taken seriously, approached with such respect, from the White House on down, if women held office in greater numbers?

I don’t think so, even though I don’t believe that women are “purer” or “better” than men–one of the main reasons my hero, Jane Addams, gave for the need for women to be active in the “public sphere.”

Carol Marin takes a look at the reasons for the dearth of women in high (elected, political) places, in her column in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s the link:

Carol concludes by saying: “…it’s up to us women to take the risk. And run.” Hear, hear. Yes, yes.

Check-out Carol’s column. And when you’re done, if you haven’t already, go to :
http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/, to find out how you can lobby Congress today.