Ladies, can we talk?
This is embarrassing. At least I think it is — unless it’s good news, in a twisted kind of way.
Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane resigned last week, after being found guilty on two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing the power of her office.
Just four weeks ago, federal prosecutors indicted former state treasurer Barbara Hafer for allegedly misleading the FBI and IRS in their investigation of a pay-to-play scheme.
And then there’s the long-running saga of the Orie sisters.
What gives? This glorious commonwealth can’t boast of many female pols — our Legislature, for instance, ranks 39th in the nation — and an outsize percentage of the few we’ve got seem to have mastered the crash-and-burn.
Or maybe it just feels that way, given the years of juicy-details, look-at-that-nail-polish commentary.
In a state “with an incestuous, dysfunctional political system” (per Esquire magazine), “where corruption in politics is as common as the housefly” (per The New York Times), how bad is this scandal roll call for us gals?
I turned to an expert for enlightenment — and encouragement.
“There are so few women [in politics] that we pin all our hopes and dreams on the ones who are out there,” said Dana Brown, executive director of Chatham University’s Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.
Well, I can’t lay claim to “hopes and dreams,” but I’ll admit to mixed feelings. I mostly deplore identity politics. Philosophy and character matter far more than gender or race.
But I recognize it helps us as citizens to see people from whatever groups we identify with participating in representative democracy — and doing it well.
“While it’s really unfortunate to have anyone make a bad choice on behalf of the commonwealth, there are also many men who make these bad choices,” Ms. Brown said, launching into a long list: Mike Veon, Bill DeWeese, Rob McCord, etc. …
“We don’t ever ask ourselves, ‘How does this reflect on all men?’
“It seems [the Kane scandal] might say more about the political system as a whole than it says about women in Pennsylvania politics.”