America 2004: What’s at Stake: Eleanor Clift

Sixty-five freethinkers from 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, attended a Freedom From Religion Foundation dinner party in Washington, D.C., on Sat., April 24, featuring speaker Eleanor Clift. The dinner party preceded the March for Women’s Lives on April 25, with some Foundation members marching as a freethought contingent. (Turn to p. 11 for photographs of both events.)

Eleanor Clift is contributing editor for Newsweek. She was formerly Newsweek’s White House correspondence, and formerly deputy bureau chief.

She writes about the White House, Congress and politics. She was part of the 1992 Election Team for Newsweek, and covered Bill Clinton’s campaign from the start. She is also covering the presidential election for 2004.

Ms. Clift appears on the McLaughlin Report. Brill’s Content called her one of Washington’s most accurate prognosticators. She has appeared as herself in the movies “Independence Day,” “Murder at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” “Dave,” and on the TV series “Murphy Brown.”

Her new book, “Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment,” tells the story of how American women won the vote. (Copies are available from FFRF, PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701 for $20 ppd.)

Her husband Tom Brazaitis covered Washington for the Plain Dealer from 1974 to 2002, and was Washington bureau chief for 19 years. He still writes a Sunday column for the Dealer.

He and Ms. Clift have co-written two books together, “War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics” (1996), and “Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling (2000).

It’s a pleasure to be here. Of course, it’s a pleasure to be anywhere where I get to finish a sentence without being interrupted. I think some of you recognize me as typically the lone woman–often the lone liberal–on “The McLaughlin Group,” which is a televised public affairs show. It’s really more like a televised food-fight. It’s the only show where you’re supposed to speak before you think. Interrupting each other, calling each other names, being generally rude is all considered part of good television today.

The show is the creation of John McLaughlin, formerly Father John McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest. He actually got his start in politics–he ran for office in the state of Rhode Island in 1970 as a long-haired anti-war priest on the Republican ticket.

He got 36% of the votes, so the republic was safe, but he came to Washington, his interest in politics having been whetted, and he got a job in the Nixon White House as a speechwriter. During that period he had a dispensation from the Vatican to live in the Watergate Hotel, which is pretty fancy surroundings for someone who’s taken a vow of poverty. But he points out accurately that the Vatican owns part of the Watergate, so it was really company housing.

John spent many years teaching. He taught in a boys’ prep school in Fairfield, Conn. He had the same schtick in the classroom that he has on the television. He would arrive in a long robe with a velvet rope around the middle, a Hamburg and white gloves. Every classroom had a beadle. “Beadle” is a church term. It’s the person who follows behind the bishop with the incense. So it’s like the teacher’s pet. Every classroom would have a beadle, and the beadle would collect the Hamburg. Then John, with great flourish, would take the gloves off finger by finger. He was a character.

He once said to me that the best and the most memorable teachers are those who project themselves as characters. I’ve met many of his former students over the years, and he left quite an impression. He does the same on television. He is overbearing and blustery and full of himself. His nickname, when he taught prep school, was Father God. And Babe Buchanan, who is Pat Buchanan’s baby sister, once said to me, “Eleanor, you don’t know the half of it. The reason John left the priesthood was so that they would drop the ‘Father’ and just call him ‘God.’ “

He comes from a conservative background and was a columnist for the National Review. Frankly, he has gone through quite a transformation recently. He’s no fan of the war, and I think part of that is the Jesuit tradition. Part of it is the isolationism in the Republican party, and part of it is the common sense of somebody who’s traveled in that region, and John is well-traveled. He’s been critical of the war, and I think he’s been ahead of the curve on the development in Iraq.

Secondly, he’s no big fan of George W. Bush. John is now in his mid-70s. He has previously said he just wanted to elect another Republican president and then he would be ready to retire, but he’s not happy enough with George Bush. He says George Bush doesn’t have the nuance of Ronald Reagan.

He also doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about gay marriage. John is not the predictable conservative that many people thought he once was. We have been allies on some issues, and the show has actually even gotten some e-mail from viewers wondering whether he and I were having an affair, because how else to explain!

I must say my husband is a member of FFRF, and I guess I would call myself a sympathizer.

As I look back at my own religious upbringing, I could see the seeds of skepticism were transplanted early when my mother and I would go off to church on Sunday morning and my father would say quite loudly, “I can sleep at home.”

My friend Carol, who’s here and visiting from California, and I attended a Christ Lutheran church together. Rev. Jacob Leinegger was a rather important figure in both our lives. I remember distinctly as a fifth-grader asking the question, “How do we know that all of this stuff in the bible is true? What if somebody just made it up?” Rev. Leinegger looked at me and said, “Don’t ever say that again.”

I immediately knew I was on to something. The only other time an adult had said that to me was when I was five and I said to my mother, “I know where I came from. I came from your stomach.” My mother said, “Don’t ever say that again.” When you hear that, you know you’re on to something!

As we approach the election, there really are huge issues at stake. Some of them do revolve around the way that the two candidates approach belief and religion. I know this is a nonpartisan group so I’m going to play this as analytically as possible. I do think we have a president who operates chiefly on belief and faith. Actually, it’s a characteristic that many Americans like and I think contributes to his popularity. Perhaps it contributes more to his popularity in what we call the “red states” as opposed to the “blue states.” You’ll remember that map in which the red states were the Bush states and the blue states were the Gore ones. It was David Letterman who said, “Can’t we just let Al Gore be president of the blue states and Bush be president of the red states?” I still think that might be a nice compromise.

This president, as we’ve learned even more fully in the Bob Woodward book, Plan of Attack, which was released this week, operates on belief, often to the exclusion of facts. He really does not seek out facts. He is a remarkably incurious president. He knows what he believes, and he believes what he believes, and the door is essentially shut. The decision-making in the White House is restricted to a very small group, and they’re very paranoid about leaks. The decision to go to war in Iraq, while it was made quite early–I think 72 days after 9/11–was really not subjected to rigorous scrutiny. Very little attention was paid, and we’re now paying the price for that.

He believes very much in the rightness of his cause, and he wants Americans to share in that belief. In the press conference that he had two weeks ago, I thought he was really nervous and rattled and didn’t come across very well. But the soundbites that were played the next day were basically the parts of the press conference where he expressed resolve and how we were going to stay the course in Iraq. Americans don’t want to cut and run, and they feel our soldiers are under attack, and they want to do what’s right. The number of Americans supporting more troops to Iraq has doubled in recent weeks.

The Kerry campaign has used the adjective “stubborn” in referring to the president. What’s coming across to the American people is not that he’s stubborn, it’s that he’s steadfast. Steadfast is a positive characteristic, not a negative one. Perhaps if you hope for a change this year, you’ll have to be realistic about the challenges.

The big question this week in Washington, with events on the ground going so badly in Iraq, and with all the questions from the 9/11 commission, is why is Bush doing so well in the polls? The short answer is that the polls are fickle. We’ve got a long way to go to the election, and they’re probably going to bounce around a bit. Another reason is that Americans really do rally around their president when they feel he’s under attack and when they feel they’re under attack. In fact, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg actually likened the American people’s support of President Bush during this period to the way the public supported President Clinton when he was under assault during the impeachment period. We only have one president, and Americans are really reluctant to give up on him, until events force them to.

But there is information in the polls that is also not heartening for President Bush. The number of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track is considerably higher than those who think the country’s on the right track. I personally think that the bad news for Iraq, unless they really can right the security situation pretty quickly and stop the loss of the troops, is going to have a corrosive effect on the support for the war and on the president’s leadership numbers.

But it’s very difficult for the Democratic challenger to exploit the bad news about Iraq. It’s simply inappropriate when Americans are dying to look like you’re trying to take political advantage. I think John Kerry has not found his voice on this issue yet. The positions of John Kerry and George W. Bush are not all that different. Actually, it’s Bush who has moved toward Kerry’s position because the administration is now looking toward the UN to bail them out. Did you ever think you would hear President Bush, when asked what the new government would look like in Iraq, say, “That’s up to the UN”? The UN is the whipping boy of the Republicans on the right, certainly. They hate the UN, so this is a huge concession. Any port in the storm.

Kerry is left with a position that looks remarkably like George Bush’s. Voters who don’t pay close attention are probably going to wonder what’s the big decision here: we have two candidates who both want to stay the course in Iraq, so why should we throw out the president we have? The Kerry campaign is trying very hard to pull the nation’s consciousness back to the economic issues and the uncertainty about the economy, because they feel if the election is fought on national security grounds, even if the news is not good, the advantage that the Republicans and the president have on that issue is significant over the Democrats.

The choice between these two candidates is really more abstract than simply their positions on Iraq, the economy and healthcare. It does go to the way they approach policy-making and decision-making. Again, President Bush is somebody who operates on faith. He trusts his gut, his instinct, he never second-guesses himself or looks back. I was struck when Bob Woodward asked British Prime Minister Tony Blair whether he had any second thoughts about Iraq, and Blair said, “Every time I get a letter from a family that’s lost a son or a daughter in Iraq, I wonder.” When Woodward asked President Bush the same question, Bush just shot back, “No, never, no second thoughts, never, no doubt.”

This is a characteristic that comes across in his leadership to Americans who don’t pay close attention. It shouldn’t be a surprise because this was the man who was elected in 2000. His seeming simplicity and almost anti-intellectualism came across more positively to Americans than Al Gore’s sort of superintellectualism. The personality of Bush seemed to wear better. I remember one anecdote during the 2000 campaign that told me all I needed to know about George Bush. Reporters were really anxious to discover how his thought processes work, because he was very congenial, and he wooed the press quite well in the early stage of the campaign. He played golf with them, he went jogging with them, he had nicknames for everybody. But try to engage him in a conversation that went beyond the sort of the light-hearted jabbing, and it was almost impossible.

I remember one reporter asked him if he could discuss how the conservative movement had changed from 1988, when his father won, to 1992, when his father was defeated. Bush thought for a minute, and the reporters thought they might be on to something. He said, “Well, 1988 was great, and 1992 sucked.” And that was it.

Bush proudly says that he doesn’t read the newspapers, that he relies on people around him whom he trusts. He has said and it’s a quote, “I don’t do nuance.” The choice is with a candidate, John Kerry, who does nuance almost to a fault. Kerry is a man who intellectualizes everything, who uses reason again probably excessively. Kerry doesn’t just talk, he intones. Everything is framed and weighed, and the famous quote of course is “I voted for it [war funding] before I voted against it.”

The subtleties we get here in Washington. That’s what they do on Capitol Hill. But American people don’t quite get it, so Kerry’s challenge is to get his governing philosophy and what he would do as president into soundbite form, and come across clearly and directly, before the Bush-Cheney advertising campaign totally defines him. They’ve actually taken Kerry’s remark that “the American people don’t know me,” which is true, and turned that into a television ad. “The American people don’t know him, oh yes they do,” and then just a series of his positions that make him look foolish.

It’s hard to believe that an election in November can be decided in April or May, but advertising is powerful. So Kerry’s got to figure out pretty quickly how to get across who he is and strike a defining image with the American people.

Bush divides the world into us and them. It’s the patriots who believe in his policies and then there’s everybody else. It’s all quite neat. The Kerry world is a lot more nuanced and full of grays.

It’s really striking in the Woodward book how little the president communicated his conviction to go to war, the scrutiny that he didn’t give to the after-war plan. It’s leadership 101. He should have been telling people, “Tell me why we shouldn’t go to war,” and lay out all the things that could go wrong. He apparently didn’t want to hear anything about what could go wrong–he had a conviction that anything is better than Saddam Hussein, and we’ll trust what happens afterward.

When Woodward asked him if he had asked his father’s advice on going to war–his father, of course, prosecuted the first Gulf War, put together a successful international coalition including Arab troops–as it’s been widely publicized, Bush said, “There’s a higher Father I appeal to when I’m looking for strength.”

This is a religious nation, as you all know, and I think that remark, which has gotten a lot of publicity, probably gives more people solace than gives people like us in this room heartburn.

Kerry, on the other side, can’t cede the religious vote to George W. Bush. John Kerry is a practicing Catholic, and he is looking for ways to convey his religiosity to the voters while maintaining his distance from the church hierarchy, because he supports reproductive rights and the church doesn’t.

When you look at the polling, the more times people go to church, the more likely it is they’re going to vote Republican. Gun-owners support Republicans 2-1. There was a segment on NPR earlier this week suggesting that leaves to John Kerry the unarmed atheists vote!

What Kerry has going for him, however, is he meets the threshold of being a plausible president. He not only looks like he belongs on Mount Rushmore, he looks like he was chiseled from it. He’s got seven months where he can, in effect, be a shadow president, and sort of show the country how he could perform. The Democrats are going to have enough money, which I never thought I would hear the Democratic campaign manager say. He won’t have as much as Bush, but the financial disadvantage has been overcome, thanks chiefly to the Internet and Howard Dean, who really showed the way on that one.

As we head into these coming months, there are two big events. One is whether Dick Cheney is going to stay on the ticket. I think that decision is not going to be made until close to the Republican convention, which is at the end of August, beginning of September. If the president hasn’t opened up a comfortable margin by then, I think they would consider dropping him in a heartbeat. He has a convenient excuse of health reasons. I think Cheney is a good soldier and they could probably make him Secretary of Defense again or Secretary of State. He wouldn’t have to go quietly.

Cheney himself addresses this, and his response is to ask who other than he resonates as well with the religious right of the Republican party? And his answer is: Mel Gibson.

The other event, of course, is President Clinton’s memoir, which is due for publication sometime this summer. It’s a rather sliding, indistinct deadline because the former president hasn’t quite finished what he’s doing. I spoke with one of his friends last November, who said that he had spoken to Clinton, who said he was on page 700 and hadn’t yet run for governor! I imagine there’ll be quite an editing process for that.

Which brings me to a more modest offering that I have, which is Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment. This is a book about the 72-year struggle to win suffrage in this country. When I was asked to write this book, I wasn’t even quite sure what the 19th amendment was. I thought maybe they wanted a book about prohibition–that’s the 18th amendment. This was an adventure for me, because I really had never learned about this in school. The suffrage movement has been relegated to a sidebar in history books. You see this stern-looking suffragist looking out at you, not really somebody you want to know more about, and then it’s over.

The early suffragists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, are relatively well-known. They had a remarkable 50-year partnership, but they died before women got to vote. One of their successors during the last ten years leading up to the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment was a young woman, Alice Paul, who graduated from Swarthmore and got graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Like many young women of her social and economic class, she went abroad to study in London. She heard a street corner “preacher” there, a woman named Emmeline Pankhurst, who was leading the British suffrage movement, and young Alice became radicalized. She was jailed in London. The British suffragists were quite bold. They would storm the Parliament and chain themselves to the gates and disrupt traffic.

The suffragists in this country were much more sedate. They thought the Brits were hooligans. But when Alice Paul came back to this country in 1911, she couldn’t believe how moribund the suffrage movement had become. She concluded the only way to force action would be to confront the party in power. The Democrats had the White House, the House and the Senate. So she organized the first protest ever of a presidential inauguration. When Woodrow Wilson arrived at Union Station in 1913 to be inaugurated, he wondered where all the crowds were to greet him. He was told they were over on the Avenue watching the ladies.

It was a grand parade with women in their academic gowns, their nurses’ uniforms, factory workers. Leading the parade was the most beautiful suffragist ever, on a white horse with wings. She was the warrior princess. I read The New York Times’ account, and it was a grand spectacle, something the country had never seen. Lining the parade route, the onlookers were not happy, and they threw lighted cigarette butts, tripped the women, and jeered at the women. A hundred women were taken to area hospitals, and the DC police just stood by and did nothing. Later there were congressional hearings and the police chief lost his job. Helen Keller was among the marchers, and she, according to Chicago Tribune‘s account, was so disoriented by what went on around her that she was unable to speak that night at Constitution Hall.

This shocked the nation. Alice Paul realized it was a public relations coup, because they were on the front page, and they had the country’s attention. So she kept up the confrontation for almost the full eight years of the Wilson presidency. Here’s Woodrow Wilson, this former president of Princeton, sort of a prissy academic. He didn’t oppose suffrage, but he was getting ready to take this country into war. He wanted to press his League of Nations, and thought a war president shouldn’t have to deal with something as trivial as women voting.

So he ordered a crackdown. The women who were protesting outside the White House were jailed, initially for short periods, and then for longer periods of time. They called themselves political prisoners and refused to eat. Rather than have them starve, the government ordered force-feeding, which is a particularly gruesome procedure where you have a metal clamp put on your mouth and then raw eggs poured down a tube. It makes people quite ill.

The women smuggled out their stories on little scraps of paper like Martin Luther King out of the Birmingham jail. Gradually the country began to get outraged. My epiphany when I did my research was to learn that Alice Paul was actually held in St. Elizabeth Hospital here in the Washington area, in the psychiatric ward, for allegedly having “an unhealthy obsession” with Woodrow Wilson. It was really quite extraordinary.

Meanwhile, Woodrow Wilson’s second wife Edith accompanied him throughout the day. His first wife died soon after he got into office, and he remarried in nine months and was very enamored of young Edith. They would start the day out together with a round of golf. I don’t know how you do that as president and first lady, but they did. She would spend the day with him in the Oval Office. When he had his stroke, she was perfectly equipped to take over the government. The Republicans in Congress were outraged. They called it Petticoat Government. But Edith Wilson ran the country, and yet she viewed the suffragists, who were standing outside the White House gates, as disgusting creatures. She thought she had nothing in common with them.

It was an extraordinary time in American history. The suffragists really deserve to be celebrated for what they did on the eve of this upcoming march. The last march was in 1992, and there is this sense of dj vu, back to the future. But sometimes you have to create a little bit of a ruckus to get the country’s attention, and I think that’s what this march is about.

HBO has a film out called “Iron-Jawed Angels,” which I recommend. I’m sure it will be released in videostores. It dramatizes the portion of the suffrage struggle with Alice Paul. I’ve seen the film three times. It never fails to move me. To watch that parade scene come to life is really something. Hilary Swank plays Alice Paul, and she does it with verve and passion and enough sexy attitude that she would be at home on the set of “Sex and the City.” I think if you want to get to a younger generation, you have to communicate in ways in which issues are accessible to them, and this is the challenge in this election year.

Whichever side you’re on, I’m sure you think the world is going to come to an end if your guy doesn’t win. This is going to be an election of intensity: which side can motivate and turn out their vote. It looks like it’s going to be quite a close election unless there is some external event that either boosts the president or sends him into a total tailspin. These two candidates are going to have to rub it out for every vote. There is one poll that shows one percent of the country is undecided. Most people have picked sides, but that one percent could well decide the winner.

I’m glad you’re all here, and the fact that you’re here from all parts of the country shows the kind of commitment that it takes. The suffrage struggle was 72 years, and the people who fought it, fought it for a long period of time, with the majority of women not really wanting the right to vote, and yet were convinced in the rightness of their cause.

Social change really takes place over a long period of time. It requires painful compromises, and generally has a few prominent people and a lot of unsung heroes and heroines who do courageous things that few people recognize. If you believe in the rightness of your cause, you need to stick with it and understand that moving attitudes does take time and commitment.

Have a good march, and I’m happy to entertain any questions.

I’d like to hear your thoughts about the relationship with the press that the administration has.

The phrase is often used in dealing with the press: “You have to feed the beast.” This administration starves the beast. I think President Bush thinks that all comments should come through the press secretary, and Scott McClellan is a very nice young man, but he might as well be a tree stump. It’s quite a frustrated press, and it’s a press that’s gone through a transformation post-9/11. All skepticism was put aside, very different from Watergate, which was another dramatic experience in terms of our government.

After Watergate, the credo was, whatever anybody tells you in government, you should question it and don’t take anything at face value. After 9/11, which was an event that happened to all of us in this city and New York, it was as though the press was all on the team with the administration. The questioning about the war that’s going on now should have happened before we went. I think the media really let down on the job. But the media is now much more aggressive, and the president is not accustomed to such aggressive questioning. It’s a little late. This administration is quite successful in getting its message out over the heads of the media.

In your opinion, do you think that Bush is a sincerely religious person, say, like Jimmy Carter, or is he just pandering to the religious right?

I think he is sincere because whatever happened to him religiously allowed him to stop drinking. I mean, he really was pretty much a wastrel ’til he was 40. He turned his life around, and there’s no evidence that he even went to any groups or anything like that, it was this religious thing. He drinks alcohol-free beer. He has a lot of the characteristics of a reformed alcoholic. The extreme reliance on exercise, this discipline that he has. It’s almost as though if he lets down, he’s going to slide off the wagon.

His chief speechwriter, a fellow named Mike Gerson, a former US News reporter, is a very talented writer. They’re beautiful, sermon-like speeches. So he communicates with the evangelical segment of the population, sometimes in words and phrases that I don’t even get but they do. And that’s 17% of the electorate now, so they’re the foot-soldiers for the Republican party in the same way African Americans are for the Democrats.

In 2000, Bill Bradley kept his religion or lack thereof private, and Gore and Bush wrapped themselves in their religiosity. Howard Dean started off that way, keeping his religion or lack thereof private, and all of a sudden needed to wrap himself in religion. Do you think that’s an absolute in American politics, or is there a possibility of being less traditionally religious?

I think for now we live in this confessional culture where the voters think they have a right to know everything about you. Dean took some heat for not being willing initially to discuss it, and the New Republic did a cover story on how this could cost him with voters. He read that, and responded to it, and then went out and talked about religion in sort of a ham-handed way. It’s got to be done appropriately.

Kerry is a cultural Catholic. He cared enough to try to get an annulment of his first marriage. Teresa Kerry apparently is a pretty committed Catholic who is not as strongly pro-choice as her husband. She did not show up at the Planned Parenthood rally yesterday here in Washington. I think the campaign probably figures it’s a good idea to communicate both these strands. Just as on the other side, the first Bush Administration liked to let it be known that Barbara Bush was sort of pro-choice.

If politicians want to win, they have to keep expanding the circle and offending as few people as possible. Right now, in this country, religion is on the rise, although at the table here we were talking about how some of the numbers of people who profess religion have actually come down. But right now, if you’re a politician and you say “I don’t believe in organized religion,” you’re at risk of getting the reaction that Jesse Ventura got when he said that very same thing. He said it’s a crutch, and he said, “My wife uses it, I don’t have any problems with other people using it, but you got to recognize it for what it is.” As I recall, he spent a lot of time trying to worm his way out of that one. There are some things that you pay a price for in politics that are probably better left unsaid.

This is much closer to home. I am wondering what your idea is of the fact that there was so little media publicity around this march tomorrow. When the Million Man March went on, you heard about it front page for months beforehand, and in this case you’re hard-put to see anything on TV or newspapers.

The media do not consider feminism “news.” The media consider stories about post-feminism news, or younger women questioning abortion, that’s news. It’s been an organizing effort from community to community, and the media have not really done it for anybody. The women’s groups have set their target at a million, and reporters are going to look at the numbers, and they’re going to look and see how many women of color there are and how many young women there are, or whether this is just middle-aged white women showing up. I’m hoping for good news on all those fronts.

Editor’s note: A third of the march, which attracted 1.5 million, was young, and it was very diverse.

Women have had the vote for almost a hundred years. How long do we have to wait until we put one of your gender in the White House?

The answer is Hillary Clinton. When Tom and I did the book on women in politics, we thought we could identify women in the system on the trajectory to be president. Very few in number. There’s only one woman right now who credibly would have a chance at her party’s nomination, and it is Hillary Clinton. She is putting the pieces in place. If the Democrats don’t win in November, I think she’ll run in 2008. She’s got to first win reelection from New York. She actually gets very good reviews on Capitol Hill. She is a serious legislator, does her homework, doesn’t hog the spotlight, and she is increasingly raising her national profile.

Can she win? Again, she’s terrifically polarizing. But a Democrat who supports her, a strategist, said, “Well, so what if she can’t win any of the red states? If a Democrat can win the two coasts and sweep the Midwest–and then you probably do need Florida, Florida’s not really the south–you can put together the electoral votes.” Frankly, that’s how John Kerry is going to have to win. So the fact that she’s polarizing isn’t necessarily a disqualifying factor.

In your book, did you go back far enough to pick out the first woman to run for president?

I did, yes. Victoria Woodhull. Actually the establishment suffragists were of a very mixed mind about her, because she campaigned on the platform of free love, and she printed in her newspaper a rather scandalous story about a preacher who’d had an affair with a member of his congregation. She actually spent the election of 1872 in jail for dispensing this scandalous material in the mail. But she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her analysis was that women already had the right to vote because the Constitution was gender-neutral. It was her testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her analysis was that women already had the right to vote because the Constitution was gender-neutral. It was her testimony that encouraged Susan B. Anthony to actually register to vote in the 1872 election. Susan B. Anthony was arrested for that, she and several other women. So yes, Victoria Woodhull was quite a figure. I understand there’s a movie in the works about her.

If I could bring somebody back from the dead, she’d be a great character to bring back.

Freedom From Religion Foundation