This Ann Coulter article really pissed me off. She criticizes how people around the country are gushing because Nancy Pelosi will be the first woman speaker of the house. Her main point is that we should be past these politically correct milestones. Her secondary point, which is to show how ridiculous all the uproar is, demonstrates that Bush has appointed the most diverse cabinet ever. She calls it the Benetton-ad presidency. *eyeroll*
Now what exactly angers me about this article is hard to articulate, so that’s why I’m blogging about it. For me, it goes back to Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas politics. Clarence Thomas was appointed by the right-wing administration precisely because he was black, but his politics were neo-con, as the authors in Race-ing Justice, En-gender-ing Power write. The appointment reduced difference to its visible signifiers and played off of white liberal guilt. Playing identity politics like that practically authorizes people like Ann Coulter to make their snide commentary.
I agree with Coulter about the problem of “firstness,” but for different reasons. The whole “first woman” tokenizes Pelosi’s accomplishments and “spotlights” her as a female. It’s like calling Pelosi “Speakeress” of the house.
OTOH, this occasion is something very momentous and it should be acknowledged.
I like what Pelosi said in the press conference announcing Hoyer as house majority leader. Loosely paraphrased: While a lot of people are making a big deal out of her being the first woman speaker, the bigger deal is that she’s a Democrat and it’s time for change.