In 1984 - nearly 30 years ago - the Democratic party had a woman, then- Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, on the ballot as their Vice Presidential candidate, running with Walter Mondale as their Presidential candidate. The duo were defeated soundly by the incumbent Republican President, Ronald Reagan. Geraldine Ferraro subsequently lost in a couple of attempts to be elected as a U.S. Senator in her home state of New York, and when she passed away earlier this year, to most people she was just a footnote in U.S. history - "the first female to run as a Vice Presidential candidate for a major political party."
Though many women have served as state governors and congresswomen and a few have also served as U.S. Senators, it wasn't until the 2008 Presidential campaign that serious women candidates again emerged. On the Democrats' side, former First Lady and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was a serious candidate for President, but came up short to Barack Obama. She has been serving as the Secretary of State for the last two years, which puts her fourth in the line of succession for the Presidency - the closest any woman has yet to come to holding the Office of President. It should be noted, however, that First Ladies Edith Bolling Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt were both believed to have wielded a considerable amount of "unofficial" power during the illnesses of their husbands.
Also in 2008, Republican Presidential nominee John McCain made a surprise choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. She became the second woman to seek that office and, since McCain came closer to election than did Mondale, you could possibly say that Sarah Palin has come the closest of any woman to being President.
Doesn't matter which one you choose as "who came the closest," though. The bottom line is that none of these women ever actually served as President or Vice President.
With women comprising at least half of the population in the United States, more than half of families headed by women, and women doing an excellent job of running businesses, both large and small, it really surprises me that no one of the female gender has yet to advance to the nation's highest office.
Some day, a woman will be elected President, but at this point, candidate Michelle Bachman's assertions that John Wayne was born in Waterloo (when in fact Wayne was born in Winterset, and it was serial killer John Wayne Gacy who lived in Waterloo for a time as a young adult), and that August 16th was Elvis Presley's birthday (when in fact it was the anniversary date of his death. He was born in January) are starting to make Sarah Palin look like a history professor.
At the rate she is going, we can look forward to Michelle Bachman making these assertions in the future:
in New Hampshire, she will say that she is glad to be in the city of Concord, where the Revolutionary War started (Concord, Massachusetts was the actual town), and that she is proud to be in the state where the star of the old TV sitcom "Webster" was born (oops, it was early American statesman Daniel Webster).
in South Carolina, she will probably make references to Andy Griffith and the Carolina Tarheels - both NORTH Carolina treasures.
and so it goes ...
I have a couple of suggestions for Ms. Bachman. I would humbly suggest that she either: 1) listen more closely to her "people" when they feed her some bit of trivia; 2) hire new people, if they provided inaccurate information; or 3) simply drop the idea of providing these types of information to the public, since they really aren't relevant to the campaign.
Palin, Bachman and Christine O'Donnell may have set the Women's Movement back a decade or so . Blonde women may be happy, though, because some of the comments made by these three brunettes may finally serve to take the unfair label of "dumb" away from that group.