George Graham

Father Knows Best? Still?

Muslims are not the only ones who believe in male dominance. Apparently Republicans do, too.

In the new Congress, only one female lawmaker has been named to chair a House committee. And that lone woman, Michigander Candice Miller, heads a committee you might expect to be in feminine hands –  House Administration. That’s the committee in charge of overseeing cafeterias among other things.

In the  new (Republican) Senate, only two females will wield committee gavels – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in charge of Energy and Natural Resources, and Susan Collins of Maine, who runs the Special Aging panel.

In contrast,  Democrats, who had a Senate majority from 2007 until Republicans took over last week, had seven committees run by women.

Increasingly, the Republican Party is male oriented. Male voters – white male voters – put them in power, and white males dominate the ranks of party officials.

It’s not that the Republicans don’t try to present a feminine face. An article on the Bloomberg Business web site this morning observes that:

In 2012, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington was elected head of the Republican Conference, in charge of messaging and communications. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas was chosen as conference vice chairwoman, and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina as secretary. 

But I suppose men – middle-aged or older white men especially – are probably more comfortable administering policies that clearly discriminate against women and minorities.

The Bloomberg article suggests Republican women might not want to accept the reins of leadership. They seem to subscribe to the father-knows-best theory of past generations. Not one woman competed for a committee leadership chair this past year, for example.

With Hillary Clinton emerging as the Democrats’  likely presidential  candidate – and not one woman among the Republican favorites – next year’s federal elections are shaping up as a battle between the sexes. Or, put another way, a battle between the past and the future.

Click for the Bloomberg article.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for