July 3, 1984
"On the other side, traditionalists sputter at what sounds like imperious presumption. The test of a candidate, they pronounce, should not be gender
but qualification to be President. It's a dismaying dialogue on both sides."
The feminists suffer from a crippling coarseness of style. They may sometimes feel embattled, driven to shrillness. But if, as a matter of pure
political arithmetic, they are right about putting a woman on the ticket, that should be obvious to any serious Presidential candidate. If not,
issuing threats sounds even more shrill.
Yet to be shrill is no worse than to be righteous, like the people who insist that the women Vice Presidential candidates so far proposed lack the
requisite standing and experience. Why, it is said, none of them is even a senator.
"Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President? Surely Ronald Reagan does not subscribe to that maxim. Or where is it
written that mere representatives aren't qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens?"
" Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial? That didn't stop Richard
Nixon from picking Spiro Agnew, a suburban politician who became Governor of Maryland. Remember the main foreign affairs credential of Georgia's
Governor Carter: He was a member of the Trilateral Commission. "
"Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy."
".. On occasion, Americans find it necessary to rationalize this rough-and-ready process. What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes
little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. This rationale may even be right, but then let it also be fair.
Why shouldn't a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow? We may even be gradually elevating our standards for choosing Vice Presidential