Blogs > Cliopatria > Rankin

Apr 6, 2008 9:49 pm


On the campaign trail yesterday in Montana, Hillary Clinton invoked the career of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress:"Remember, Jeannette Rankin was elected before women could vote. So who says men don't vote for a woman?"

Setting aside the question of who, exactly,"says men don't vote for a woman," Rankin was elected in 1916. Montana women received the right to vote in 1914. And, even though Clinton has tried to redefine herself as an early opponent of the Iraq war, is it really good politics to link herself to the only member of Congress to oppose going to war against Germany and Japan in World War II?

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Paul Noonan - 4/7/2008

Rankin did vote against the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941. However, when the votes on the declarations against German and Italy came up for votes on December 11, she voted "present" rather than "no" both times. She obviously had something of a change of heart, or perhaps she was just being prudent. By "prudent" I don't mean she was trying to save her political career - she must have known that was finished - but perhaps she was afraid that further "no" votes might increase the chance she might have been subjected to physical violence.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/7/2008

However self-serving, the point Wilentz makes is worth considering. The proportional system may be a better measure of what Democrats want than a winner-take-all system is, but is it a poorer measure of which Democrat may win?

Robert KC Johnson - 4/7/2008

The comments on the Wilentz piece were hilarious: "If you squint and read everything backwards and divide by two, then you see she's really WINNING the nomination."

Robert KC Johnson - 4/7/2008


Jeremy Young - 4/7/2008

I beat you by six minutes.



Kevin C. Murphy - 4/6/2008

I had the same thought.

Which reminds me: As of this evening, Wilentz is up to his old tricks. "If the system made sense, Clinton would be far ahead." And if I was a foot taller, I'd be in the NBA.

Alan Allport - 4/6/2008

... many, many members of Congress made clear their opposition to going to war against Germany throughout 1941. The issue was taken out of their hands when Hitler declared war himself on December 11, conveniently allowing them to reinvent themselves as staunch anti-Nazis. Rankin at least had the virtue of consistency.