IWF’s Carrie Lukas has an op-ed over at Townhall.com looking at the many “firsts” of the 2008 presidential elections:

“The most remarkable aspect of this season of ‘firsts,’ however, is just how unremarkable it is. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the first woman to make a serious run at a major party’s nomination, is competing against Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) the first African-American with a real chance at the presidency. Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) is the first major Hispanic candidate. Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) is the first Mormon. Rudy Giuliani, if elected, would be our first Italian-American president. All of this comes on the heels of another historic event: Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s ascension as the first female Speaker of the House.

Thankfully, talk of gender and race rarely dominates the discussion:

“Policy differences have been central to the early campaign, and likely will become more so in the year to come. Among Democrats, the key issue will be the candidate’s position on and prognosis for managing the situation in the Middle East. Senator Clinton’s attempts to nuance her prior support for the war will be compared to Senator Obama’s relative inexperience on foreign policy but consistent opposition to our engagement in Iraq. For Republicans, none of the major nominees is a natural fit with its most active base. GOP contestants will focus on persuading primary voters that they are the best advocate for the party’s core beliefs.

But, what about those who rally for “progress?”

“Ironically, the holdouts to progress now are found among those who claim to be fighting for it. Too many organizations have come to depend on conflict for their existence and thus are reluctant to relinquish the fight. They will posit this election as a referendum on the candidate’s gender, racial, or religious affiliation.

“The National Organization for Women offers a good example of this perverse dynamic, insisting on viewing most everything through a filter of sexism. Take NOW’s reaction to Harvard University’s decision to make Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust its first woman president.

Kim Gandy, NOW’s president, welcomed the news by declaring, “Larry Summers, we couldn’t have done it without you.” In other words, Harvard never would have selected this woman if Summers, Harvard’s former president, hadn’t been forced to resign due to a politically incorrect remark about gender. Gandy’s presumption that gender was the selection committee’s foremost consideration is itself sexist; it diminishes Dr. Faust and those who selected her.

“NOW and other groups that thrive on victim status will try to perpetuate this meta-narrative, but most Americans have moved on. In 2007 and beyond, we will judge our leaders and representatives on their ideas and character, not their race or gender. It’s not exactly a “first,” but it’s definitely worth celebrating.”

Read the whole article here.