Do you ever get the feeling that the “war on women” crowd is trying to—not to put too fine a point on it—exploit women?
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was on MSNBC yesterday, touting her website for women (I missed it but Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard reports on it). Ms. Gillibrand described it as a "campaign" to persuade "more women, Democrats, Republicans, all women, to again, hold their elected leaders accountable, vote, and hopefully run for office."
The website, called Off the Sidelines, condescendingly urges “Tell us your story.” Oh, and “Mentoring Matters.” You can also learn “How Kirsten Got off the Sidelines” (she was a partner in a law firm and a member of the House, but what really got Gillibrand off the sidelines was being appointed to a Senate seat by then-Governor David Paterson—but Off the Sidelines tells Gillibrand's ascent in a slightly different way).
Here is the copy in the “About Us” part of the website:
Kirsten knows that women who make an impact on our country all start by simply believing they can.
Getting off the sidelines is a state of mind. More women need to embrace the fact that their voice matters and that they can make a difference, with their vote, with their advocacy, with their candidacy.
More women must get off the sidelines and make a difference in their community. Whether it's in the classroom, the boardroom, Congress or at home, it's crucial that more women adopt this philosophy to affect change in ways both big and small. Because if they don't, decisions will be made without them that they won't like the outcome of.
Women have the power to shape the future, it's just a matter of getting off the sidelines and getting involved.
That's why Kirsten has launched OffTheSidelines, to make more women aware of the need to be involved in the decisions that affect their lives every day. Kirsten wants to let women know that their voice matters, to give them the resources to start to get more involved and tell the inspiring stories of women who already are.
Is it my imagination or does some of this sound like baby talk?
As a writer, I have long depended on “my voice” and don’t need Kirsten (we’re on first name basis now, right?) to tell me so. I suspect I am not the only woman who is aware that my vote counts, even without Kirsten's help. If Kirsten wants my inspiring story, here it is: I was an ardent left winger before working as a reporter in New Orleans and doing an investigative piece on a large government program called CETA (Comprehensive Educational Training Act). I found to my dismay that CETA was a comprehensive taxpayer boondoggle. Oh, and I got mugged—but that’s another (inspiring) story.
But apparently Gillibrand’s website isn’t just a pathetic attempt to help us po’ things find our itsy bitsy voices. Michael Warren notes:
But OffTheSidelines appears to be nothing more than a gateway site and fundraising tool for the Gillibrand campaign. A disclaimer at the bottom of the page says the site is "paid for by Gillibrand for Senate." The homepage has a prominent link to "Contribute to Gillibrand for Senate," and another link to simply "contribute" leads to a Gillibrand for Senate contribution form.
In a statement today, the New York Republican party challenged Gillibrand to "identify those Republican women whom [sic] benefit, or have benefitted, from Off the Sidelines.org, or simply admit that contributions to the organization go directly to her reelection campaign."
An email to an OffTheSidelines email address listed on the site has not yet been returned.
In the above clip, Gillibrand also incorrectly states that "11 women" are running for Senate this year. While it's true that 11 Democratic women (the 6 incumbents and 5 challengers she mentions) are running for Senate, it's also true that 7 Republican are running, including Gillibrand's own Republican challenger Wendy Long.
Please join me in being insulted.