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SENATOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON p 0:1 CS, I 0 e s ,, Clara Barton, who, following her experience treating the wounded during the Civil War, founded the American Red Cross, is highlighted in a section on women who save lives. Hutchison interviews Antonia Novello, the first woman surgeon general. She also interviews Elizabeth Dole, who served as president of the American Red Cross before joining Hutchison in the Senate. Hutchison catalogues Dole’s numerous other positions, including secretary of transportation under Ronald Reagan and secretary of labor under George H. W. Bush. But she somehow neglects to mention that Dole was the only woman to run in 2000 in the Republican presidential primaries, against another Bush. The section on women in politics is anchored by Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, whose hawkish stance on Vietnam is emphasized. We are told that Texas Senator John Tower’s respect for Smith led him to support Hutchison: “He thought I had some of the same characteristics with my naturally conservative pro-defense background.” The section concludes with two contemporaries: Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to be a major party candidate for vice president. The fact that, running on a ticket with Walter Mondale, Ferraro lost probably makes her more palatable in a book that tends to extol Republican women, including its author. Hutchison elsewhere profiles Oveta Culp Hobby, who atoned for her extensive service to the Democratic Party by heading up Texans for Eisenhower. She also gave Hutchison a job at KPRC, the Houston TV station she owned. It is astonishing that the American heroine known as “the mother of us all,” Susan B. Anthony, does not receive even a footnote in American Heroines. The book also ignores other heroic women leaders such as Sojourner Truth, Emma Goldman, Jane Addams, Jeannette Rankin, Dorothy Day, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan. Hutchison does not spare a word, good or bad, for the first woman secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, the first woman attorney general, Janet Reno, the first woman to lead her party in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, or the first First Lady elected to the Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is silent about the first woman governor, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, even though she governed Texas. And despite her particular interest in spunky Texans, she has nothing to say about Barbara Jordan, Sissy Farenthold, Lady Bird Johnson, Liz Carpenter, Sarah Weddington, or Ann Richards. The section on women artists recounts the lives of Mary Cassatt, Marian Anderson, and Selena Quintanilla, curious choices when the subset of heroic women in the arts also includes Phillis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson, Billie Holiday, Katharine Hepburn, Louise Bourgeois, Emma Tenayuca, Toni Morrison, Sarah Caldwell, Meredith Monk, and Maya Lin. Nor was Judy Chicago invited to the Senator’s imaginary dinner party. To introduce her section on artists, Hutchison recalls growing up in La Marque and performing with the Houston Youth Symphony Ballet. Yet she omits such major innovators in dance as Isadora Duncan, Agnes DeMiIle, and Martha Graham. To solidify her credentials on women in the arts, Hutchison notes, “One of the toughest political positions I have taken in my Senate career is to support the National Endowment for the Arts right-wing s 0.-ges of Karen Finley is an anomaly iti a legislative career that has earned 100 percent ratings from both the American Conservative Union and the Christian Coalition. The fact that she voted 0 percent of the time in favor of positions supported by Planned Parenthood probably has something to do with the fact that Margaret Sanger, the valiant pioneer in providing women with control over their own bodies, is entirely missing from American Heroines. The fact that Hutchison scores 5 percent with the League of Conservation Voters and 0 percent with the Sierra Club probably has something to do with the fact that Rachel Carson, who inspired the modern environmentalist movement, is not one of her heroines, either. It is no surprise that Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA, is missing from a book by a Senator who scored 0 percent with the Fund for Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. For Hutchison, whose voting record on labor issues earned a zero from the AFLCIO, Mary “Mother Jones” Harris has no place in the pantheon of American heroines. And for an author with a 15 percent score from the NAACP, Rosa Parks has no place even at the back of the book. Gloria Steinem, who once called Hutchison “a female impersonator,” is missing from American Heroines. But those who are included did strive to overcome sexist impediments in order to accomplish what they did. Without impediments there is no heroism. And the Texas Senator, who once earned a zero from the American Association of University Women, seems so enamored of these women’s heroism that she is loath to remove the impediments. Steven G. Kellman’s biography of novelist Henry Roth will be published by W W Norton in 2005. 11/19/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23