During his “Let Me Finish” segment Friday night, “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews warned Democrats of a potential problem: “Congresswoman [Michele] Bachmann is going to make a real bang this politic season,” he said, adding: “When Democratic women — especially my age — see what happens on the other side, they will wonder — and not quietly — why it isn’t happening on theirs.”
This is a smart observation — but it’s not just women of a certain age that Democrats should be concerned about. Matthews’ warning is consistent with something else I saw in this week’s New York Times magazine. The author, who is no fan of Sarah Palin, noted: “A few months ago I was startled to hear my 13-year-old daughter, who has a Hillary Clinton campaign sticker on her bedroom door, say she thought Palin was ‘cool.’”
When you look at some of the up-and-coming conservative women on the horizon (including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem — just to name a few), there may be reason for Democrats to fear some young “cool” women will grow up with the perception that the GOP is the party of equal opportunity.
This impression is, of course, reinforced by the way the left has viciously attacked women running for office at the national level — from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin. It’s not hard to wonder whether or not this is a pattern. And how much do you want to bet the attacks on Bachmann will be just as vicious if she catches fire?
And this seems to transcend elected office. Women, it seems, also have a better shot at becoming successful pundits and commentators on the right. To be sure, there are some prominent liberal female commentators, but do any of them have the influence of Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin?
Perhaps Chris Matthews is serving as an ironic Cassandra on the gender imbalance issue — but will anyone take heed?