Time Got It Wrong: Women Aren't the Only 'Adults' of the Shutdown

At Yahoo News, former ABC and CBS political producer Marc Ambinder picked apart a Time magazine article by Jay Newton-Small triumphantly headlined “In Shutdown, Women are the Only Adults Left.” It was so pro-“chick” that “Several women rights' groups, like EMILY's List, picked up the story for use in fundraising.” (Newton-Small reported only two of the 20 female senators – Kelly Ayotte and Debbie Fischer -- are pro-life. All 16 Democrats favor abortion.)

Ambinder rejected this article primarily because the Democrats weren’t “equally childish” to the conservative Republicans, and because the “childlike qualities” of the hardest-headed Democrats were “absolutely essential” to winning:

The idea that women were the only adults in the shut-down is attractive. But it ain't so. One, Republicans and Democrats were not equally childish in this debacle, something that Republicans themselves recognize. Two, Democratic leaders and the White House had to be hard-headed and obstinate in order to force the House Republicans to give up and to re-open the government. Those childlike qualities were absolutely essential.

Sadly, women did not play a significant role in the government shutdown. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray's role will be very important going forward, but that's because she's proven herself indispensable on budget matters and not because she is a woman. In the House, Rep. Michelle Bachmann had perhaps the biggest megaphone of any woman in Washington during the shut-down, and she wasn't on the side of the angels here.

The "angel" side is the Obamacare side, in the media minds. Ambinder suggests his female colleague Newton-Small is patronizing to women:

The women in the U.S. Senate are incredible people, but it's patronizing to say that they are even more special than their male counterparts because they are women...Until women become power-brokers in Congress, and I really do want them to become power-brokers in Congress, there is no way to assess whether simply being a woman makes one a better, more effective legislator for our times without resorting to barely-post-Victorian era notions of what women have than men lack.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis