ORANGES & LEMONS;Two women step to center stage in politics Orange County Register (California) June 25, 1993 Friday
Copyright 1993 Orange County Register
Orange County Register (California)
June 25, 1993 Friday MORNING EDITION
SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. B10
LENGTH: 1091 words
HEADLINE: ORANGES & LEMONS;
Two women step to center stage in politics
BYLINE: Eldon Griffiths
There's been an avalanche of comment on the emergence onto the
world scene of two formidable women: the new prime ministers of
Canada and Turkey. Both strike me as pretty tough cookies (if
that's not a sexist label). Kim Campbell, the blonde from British
Columbia, has as rough a tongue as any to be heard in the Canadian
House of Commons. Tansu Ciller, the vivacious Turk who in one of
the most macho _ and Muslim _ of countries coaxed (or was it
cajoled?) her millionaire husband into accepting her surname
instead of his, is now top cat (there I go again!) in a country
that, despite its economic problems, seems well set to re-assert
its dominance in the crucial region where Europe and Asia converge.
But note one striking feature of both these new prime ministers.
Neither is a feminist. Both assert the rights of women as
individuals, not as members of a group. Isn't that why, as The Wall
Street Journal so cogently pointed out, neither Campbell nor
Ciller has been received with anything like rapture by the feminist
In Canada, radical women's groups banded together to oppose Kim
Campbell's candidacy, despite her public advocacy of a women's
individual right to choose whether to bear an unwanted child. Some
of these feminist outfits applied to Prime Minister Kim the same
offensive epithet that Gloria Steinem, the group-rights diva in
Washington, fired at this country's most recent woman to make the
big time, GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas: "a female
impersonator someone who looks like us but thinks like them"!
That of course is what the feminists used to say about Kim
Campbell's role model, Margaret Thatcher. Who did more than the
Iron Lady to make us males understand _ and respect _ the vast
contribution that women can make to government and business, as
well as to the home? Always a proud wife and mother, Thatcher never
wanted anything to do with group rights. After bruising battles in
Parliament or at international summit conferences, there's nothing
she enjoys more than cooking her family breakfast or re-papering
the pantry shelves!
Tansu Ciller's elevation led Ankara newspapers to proclaim "The
whole world is now talking Turkey. " She is a symbol of a new
generation of Turks impatient for private enterprise, lower taxes,
and privatization. With her soft-set hair and Chanel suits, she
dispels any notion that Turkey is about to return to the Islamic
fundamentalism that has set back women's rights in neighboring
Iran; yet like Kim Campbell and Thatcher, she, too, is impatient
with the anti-male approach of the feminist movement. "I have been
charged with forming a government," she told Turkish television,
"but here in our home the father is head of the family. "
How's that for a putdown for Dame Steinem and Co.?
Remembering Pat Nixon:
I first met Pat Nixon when she was teaching school. She and her
husband, a young ex-Navy lawyer then in his second term in the
House of Representatives, were living, as I recall, in a small
apartment over a garage somewhere in Whittier. Her salary was
important to help cover their family expenses. My job was to report
for Time magazine on Dick Nixon's rough-tough campaign against a
Democrat named Helen Gahagan Douglas for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
That was 40 years ago, and I spent only one day with them, but two
distinct impressions remain etched in my memory.
One was of candidate Nixon talking about Christian values to an
audience of Sunday-school teachers, then leaping into his car _ the
wooden-sided convertible now on display at the Richard Nixon
Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda _ to drive to San Bernardino.
His audience there consisted mainly of railroad workers. Nixon soon
had them laughing at some pretty blue _ offensive _ jokes about the
alleged sexual interest of his opponent!
Which brings me to my second recollection; of Pat Nixon
literally "tutting" as her husband left the platform. Pat, you see,
was a lady, as well as an old-fashioned schoolteacher. And in those
days, her sort of girl blushed when raunchy stories were told.
Nothing does President Nixon more credit than the support that
he, in turn, gave to his wife as she aged. Without Pat he will be
an older and lonelier man, but he surely can take pride, and
perhaps find some comfort, too, in the fact that her "old-fashioned
values" kept them together: "for richer for poorer, in sickness and
in health, until death do us part. "
And finally, a word about another lady, a lady our new president
surely must have consulted when those stories broke about his
so-called half-brother turning up in Paradise. She is Mrs. Virginia
Kelley. Mrs. Virginia, as she likes to be called down Little Rock
way, admits to having been "a bit of a swinger" in her time but is
now quietly reported to live with her fifth husband in a pretty
little two-bedroom cottage, overlooking an Arkansas lake.
Interviewed not long ago by the London Times , she was wearing
"big glittery earrings and batting her false lashes" which, added
to the "white Indira Gandhi streak in her black hair and a handful
of rings," gave her (according to the Times ) "the look of a lady
psychic, about to read her Tarot cards. "
I wonder what future Mrs. Virginia sees in those Tarot cards for
William Jefferson Blythe IV, as she named the 42nd U.S. president
when he was born?
Sir Eldon Griffiths is president of the Orange County World
Affairs Council, a former member of the British House of Commons,
and director of the Center for International Business at Chapman
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