The Female Century

With the House of Representative’s passage of the healthcare bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has cemented her standing as one of the great Speakers in modern history.

Receiving her Academy Award for Best Director for the brilliant and important motion picture “The Hurt Locker,” Kathryn Bigelow shattered another glass ceiling and brought warmth to the hearts of Americans who honor the men and women who serve our country.

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The phrase “The American Century” was made famous by Ronald Steele’s book about the great columnist Walter Lippman. I suggest that the historical period from the moment the last century concluded until the moment the current century ends might ultimately be called “The Female Century.”

This century will unleash the full energy and talents of more than half the population of the nation and world to the advantage of the entire populations thereof.

Do we care who finally cures cancer, films the noblest tribute to American troops, brings greater integrity to finance or creates more jobs for workers?

At every level of education, young women have achieved full equality and more. As these women advance throughout their careers, they will bring their leadership and talent even more to the forefront of American life.

With official Washington unpopular throughout the nation, first lady Michelle Obama has earned sky-high levels of trust and good will from Americans across the political spectrum.

Regarding the scandals of Wall Street and finance, how many perp-walks have involved women? Meanwhile, the National Venture Capital Association recently selected Kate Mitchell, a leading venture capitalist, to be its chairman, making Mitchell a national leader among risk-takers and job-creators.

By no later than 2016, both major political parties could nominate women to lead their tickets to be elected as the president who follows Barack Obama.

As the last century ended, current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was former President Bill Clinton’s wife. As the new century began, Bill Clinton was Hillary Clinton’s husband!

This does not detract from the great achievements of Secretary Clinton before she assumed public office; nor does it detract from the enormous contributions of President Clinton that continue today.

Whether one supports or opposes President Obama or Secretary Clinton, it is of incalculable importance that any American can now realistically dream of being president, regardless of race or gender.

Having worked for the House Democratic leadership during the tenure of more than one Speaker, it is clear to me that Nancy Pelosi is not only “the first woman Speaker,” but can now stake a claim to being one of the chamber’s great Speakers.

The Republican Party today is very capable of nominating a woman for president, as it did for vice president in 2008. Whether former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ultimately becomes the Republican nominee and president will be determined by her skill doing what successful nominees do, not limited by barriers of gender.

In our current season of discontent, l suggest that if the last century was the age when the American idea advanced great aspirations for all, the current century will be the age that brings full realization, across the nation and around the world, of the notion that all people are created equal. 

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.