A group calling itself Why Not a Woman? met recently in Boston, determined to try to find a way for a woman to become the Democratic Party's presidential candidate within the next 10 years.
Approximately 75 top Democratic donors and party organizers--all women--took a straw vote among themselves, just to see which woman immediately came to mind. The one who came to mind turned out to be Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Not such a good idea.
"God, no!" the first lady reportedly reacted.
(It's not that she would make a poor commander-in-chief. I'm just a little leery of her husband being first gentleman.)
I keep waiting and waiting for a woman to emerge. One woman. Any woman. I happen to be pro-choice . . . by which I mean I'd like a choice between a man and a woman, particularly having seen how men do the job.
Here we are, hurtling toward the 21st century, and still no woman has come to the forefront of presidential politics.
I thought Geraldine Ferraro might be the one. She wasn't. I thought Patricia Schroeder might. She wasn't.
It needn't be one who previously held public office. I don't recall any previous political positions held by Mr. Grant or Mr. Eisenhower.
There has to be somebody out there.
Uncle Sam needs a sister.
I don't know how things are in Boston these days, but the question "Why not a woman?" doesn't pop up very often here in California.
Should we elect Jane Harman as our next governor, Californians won't be able to go out in public without bumping into a Democratic woman. The whole state will turn into Democratic Women R Us.
Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Harman would probably end up playing golf together and having a laugh about the bad old days, when men ran the state.
Harman has two opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, both of them (ha!) guys.
One of them is Al Checchi, a rich businessperson who once ran Northwest Airlines.
Al spends so much money, they must call him "Blank" Checchi. He has a huge budget for ad campaigns. Compared to him, Michael Huffington was a skinflint. I have seen Checchi for Governor advertisements on TV everywhere but the Weather Channel. This man has more air time than Michael Jordan.
The other candidate is Gray Davis, our not-so-rich lieutenant governor.
Gray's ad budget appears to be whatever loose change he finds in his couch. He lives in a condo with 1,000 square feet of space. Al Checchi probably has 1,000 square feet of space in his car.
Harman is no piker either. I see her ads all the time. She appears so often on late-night television, I thought for a while she might be a psychic.
If I had half the money Harman and Checchi spend to tell us about California's problems, I'd spend it on California's problems. Then we wouldn't have half as many problems.
In an interview soon after Feinstein's decision not to run for governor, Harman was quoted as saying, "It's a great opportunity for a woman."
I'm thinking the same thing about the presidency.
The 2000 race is wide open. It's anybody's White House.
Hillary apparently doesn't want it. She must be looking forward to a quiet life away from Washington, probably turning "It Takes a Village" into a film with John Travolta.
Do I hear any other nominations?
Colin Powell insists he isn't interested. Al Gore hasn't got a lock on his party's nomination by any means. Ross Perot is quiet. (As they say in combat . . . too quiet.) Steve Forbes disappeared faster than David Copperfield. One guy who is running is Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, who apparently feels it would be prudent at this juncture.
Where is the woman?
I don't think this group that met in Boston should shoot for 10 years from now. Somewhere out there, there's a pioneer, a woman ready to run.
Ann Richards? Susan Molinari? Mmmm, not sure.
Boxer? Feinstein? You never know.
Elizabeth Dole? No use throwing away all those old Dole campaign buttons.
The secretary of state is a woman. The attorney general is a woman. I want a woman in the Oval Office, and I am not quoting Bill Clinton here.