Opinion: Pat Schroeder was a tad short of trainable

Editor’s note: Sue O’Brien, The Denver Post editorial page editor from 1995 until her death from cancer in August 2003, wrote this column on Dec. 3, 1995, on the occasion of Rep. Pat Schroeder’s announcement that she was not seeking a 13th term in the U.S. House.

I cringed when Pat Schroeder handed out Easter eggs in that bunny suit on the Great Wall of China.

I wanted to wash out her mouth with soap the first time she confided to a waiting world that she had private parts. (Q. “How, Mrs. Schroeder, do you manage being both a mother and a congresswoman?” A: “I have a brain and a uterus, and I use them both.”)

I loved it when her first Christmas card from Washington said, “Both Jim and I need a wife.” But I worried when the one-liner got her in trouble with more orthodox feminists.

That’s it. Orthodox.

Through all those early years I kept wishing that Pat Schroeder would be just a little more orthodox.

Not because I needed a role model. She’s a year younger than I am. (“Role model,” says Schroeder, “is the purgatory that cultural pioneers must endure before they pass into the heavenly state of being accepted for who they are.”) I wanted her to stay out of trouble, because I liked her and had great hopes invested in her and really wanted her to succeed.

And I believed that no one could survive in American politics — let alone succeed — if they strayed too far from the way we were told all nice girls behaved. Both Schroeder and I were brought up in Iowa. We know how nice girls are supposed to behave.

I didn’t have to wait until 1995, and her announcement that she won’t run for a 13th term in Washington, to find out she’s “always been hard to …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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