The Debt Super Committee Has a Woman Problem

Take a nice long look at this composite photo of the members of the Senate “Super Committee” on our country’s debt.  See anything unusual about this crew that’s been tasked with saving us another $1.5 trillion over the next decade?  I guess it depends on your point of view, but this crowd looks an awful lot like the group President Obama pulled together a little over a year ago to discuss the health care bill.

At the time, I described that meeting’s attendees this way:

White guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, white guy, white guy, white guy who looks like he just ate a sour pickle.

And that’s pretty much how I’m feeling about this so-called “Super Committee.”  I’m not holding my breath that this group will be able to accomplish anything substantive — seems like a little window dressing to keep our eyes averted from the jobs issue for the rest of the summer.  But the one major thing this little club has in common with the health care meeting group is that it’s almost all WHITE GUYS!!

I don’t have anything against white guys as a general matter — after all, I married one.  But given the fact that our country is made up of a lot more than white guys, I’m hugely disappointed in those making the picks for this committee.  I give the Democrats a little more credit than the GOP, since they have some racial diversity on their team.  But, seriously, one woman?  I like Congressman Chris van Hollen and everything, but I expect more from the Democratic leaders, especially Nancy Pelosi, when it comes to being tuned in to making sure women have a significant place at the policy table.

Women are the majority of voters, the ones who make 80 percent of household economic decisions, and have recently become 50 percent of the nation’s breadwinners, so it’s seriously past time to put more of their perspective into the major national decisions that need to be made.  Study after study reflects the same conclusion about gender diversity — you get a broader range of perspectives and better decisions are made when there are more women involved.

Just ask Elizbaeth Warren.  Or Sheila Bair. Or Brooksley Born.  I haven’t interviewed her in many years, but I suspect former GOP Senator Nancy Kassebaum, the first woman elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate without having been preceded by her husband, would be on board with this theory, as well.

I love Patty Murray. She embraced, and then dispelled the myth of, being “just a mom in tennis shoes.”  And she is one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill.  So I’m thinking her voice and vote will carry a lot of weight with this crew since she’s the committee co-chair, as well as the head of the powerful Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  But at the end of the day, she’s still just one vote out of 12.

We might just need a real super hero to swoop in and remedy this situation.  A little Abby Cadabby dazzle from her magic want?  A visit from Super Grover? I only met them once, but they’re all about helping and cooperating, so I bet they’d pay a visit.  That uber-white committee could use some color and little sparkle, too.

Image via CNN

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2 Responses to “The Debt Super Committee Has a Woman Problem”

  1. Ashley Boyd Says:

    Bravo, PunditMom! I was shocked when the final tally of names was released and it was particularly ironic given how many women had been talking about the fact that the current dysfunction in DC is surely a product of having too few women in Congress. Even before this high-stakes negotiation begins, we’re repeating the same old politics that got us into this mess in the first place.

    We need to let our lone woman, Patty Murray, know that we’re behind her all of the way as she stands up for women and families on the Super Committee! I urge those who want to send a message to Senator Murray to sign-on to MomsRising’s letter and add their personal messages here: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Super-Committee-08-11-11

  2. Anita Says:

    I definitely was interested in your take on this, PunditMom. I’ve seen more than enough comments at places like HuffPost where they say things like “gender doesn’t matter,” “we don’t have proper representation in Congress to begin with so what did you expect.” True that we don’t have proper representation in Congress, but still, there are plenty of women who would have represented our interests on a committee of *12*– Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Wasserman-Schulz, Sen. Stabenow– add them in and voila, we’d be talking about a MUCH more diverse and representative committee!


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