November 7 2014
By Andrea Peyser
Something extraordinary happened on Election Day. Voters in the state of Utah elected Mia Love, the Brooklyn-born daughter of Haitian immigrants, to serve in the US House of Representatives.
That Love, 38, is black is little cause for comment. What’s of note is that a fiscal conservative who graduated from Harvard University, supports gun-rights, opposes a woman’s right to choose abortion, and wants to repeal ObamaCare has defeated a male Democrat to become the first black Republican woman — ever — to be elected to Congress. That might be a good reason to stand up and take notice.
Finally! Diversity in government.
“My parents immigrated to the US with 10 dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist,’’ Love said in a speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012. “When times got tough, they didn’t look to Washington, they looked within.’’
This election saw a huge number of voters looking within and rejecting the leftist, pro-big-government policies of President Obama. Soon, more than 100 women, Republican and Democrat, will be serving in the House and Senate, a new record. And still, that has not stopped the usual feminist suspects from whining that their sisters in estrogen have not gained substantial numbers of elective offices. I think I know why.
Republican women — ladies who cannot be counted on to support the standard, liberal political agenda — have made the greatest inroads this time around. Call it The Year of the Republican Woman. Consider:
In New York, Republican Elise Stefanik, a Harvard grad and pro-small-business leader who helped run the upstate plywood company founded by her family, won the race for the state’s 21st Congressional District, beating her male Democratic challenger. And at age 30, the incoming House member is the youngest woman, ever, elected to Congress. That’s an amazing feat for a woman whose greatest struggle will be to improve the often-hostile climate for business owners.
She told The Post before the election that said she feels honored “to have added an additional crack in the glass ceiling.”
Republican Joni Ernst, 44, became the first woman to represent Iowa in the US Senate after beating her Democratic challenger, a guy. Ernst serves in her state’s Amy National Guard and was a company commander in Iraq in 2003. She also grew up on a farm castrating pigs — she cried in a TV commercial, “Washington is full of big spenders. Let’s make ’em squeal.’’
After serving seven terms as a Republican House member, Shelley Moore Capito, 60, holds the distinction of being the first woman ever elected to the US Senate from her home state, West Virginia. In Virginia, Republican Barbara Comstock, 55, won a hotly contested House seat, defeating her male Democratic opponent and keeping the seat for the GOP.
“This is not the triumph of women or women’s politics. This is the triumph of the politics of ideas,’’ Lisa Schiffren, senior fellow of the conservative think tank, the Independent Women’s Forum, told me.
Women are “getting elected because of their policies, not because of gender or race or identity politics.’’
Readers know that I don’t agree with the entire right-wing agenda, particularly when it comes to abortion rights, which I support. But conservative women have for too long been maligned by the left as closet woman-haters at best, right-wing lunatics at worst — a kind of bigotry that should make us all cry foul.
“The contention is that a Republican is going to take away your right to abortion and contraception,’’ said Schiffren. “That’s just a joke.
“Women want jobs — for themselves, for their daughters, their sons and husbands,’’ she said. “Voters understand that the economy, immigration, foreign policy matter.’’
An 18-year-old woman, Saira Blair, a university freshman and a Republican, was elected to the House of Delegates, one of West Virginia’s two state legislative bodies, defeating her male Democratic opponent. When she’s sworn into office, she’ll become the youngest lawmaker in the country. Blair is pro-gun rights and against abortion. But she “campaigned on a pledge to work to reduce certain taxes on business,’’ according to The Wall Street Journal.
Republican women are growing in number, power and influence. Get used to it.