US News Poll: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Has Changed Enough Diapers

On Saturday morning US News’ political section, Washington Whispers, published a poll asking their readers the following, very profound, question:

“If you had a choice of four daycare centers run separately by Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, which would you choose for your kids?” (you might be able to still see the results here)

First of all, are you kidding? Second of all, are you kidding? 

What on earth are the editors of US News thinking?  It goes without saying that US News would NEVER ask the same question of any male political leaders–Michelle Obama has been an accomplished healthcare executive, Sarah Palin is a governor, Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State, and Nancy Pelosi is the FIRST female Speaker of The House for Christ’s sake–and this is the question US News asks us about them?

News flash US News–your poll is profoundly ignorant and sexist.  All four of these women, whether you agree with their politics or not, can clearly run anything they set their minds to (I am less certain about Palin, but still). No, what this poll is really about is that US News editors and most Americans clearly cannot get past the idea that the most important quality women should be judged upon is their ability as caregivers, i.e., as mothers.  Can she juggle multiple toddlers with one hand tied behind her back?  Can she change a dirty diaper with her eyes closed?  Give me a break. 

If we judged all politicians on their abilities as caregivers and questioned male politicians about their ability to run, say a daycare center, I might feel differently about this.  But politics is traditionally about power and influence, not about who is the best caregiver.  Maybe this should change, but that’s beside the point.  By running this poll, US News has asked us to judge four political formidable women, not on their political leadership, but on whether or not we want them to take care of our children. It’s beyond condescending.

Remember all the times you’ve heard some male politician say motherhood is the most important job any human being can have? Yes, parenthood is the most important job any human being can have, but that pronouncement has always been a back-handed way of justifying lower wages for women who play those roles as professionals in our society; nurses, teachers, and yes, daycare center workers.  After all, doing the most important work provides satisfaction enough, doesn’t it?  Why worry about a little thing like pay?

When will Americans finally get past the idea that a woman’s success in all roles is judged upon her ability as a caregiver? Or, when will we judge men in the same way?  If a prominent newspaper feels comfortable asking this question, it’s clear we have a long way to go as a nation as far as our ideas about gender roles.

House Speaker Pelosi has changed thousands of diapers and wiped snotty noses, she’s also passed ground breaking legislation that affects millions of Americans thanks to her political leadership and hard-earned power.  How dare the US News?

Update:  As of this writing, Sarah Palin, who ran one of the most vicious vice presidential campaigns we’ve seen in years, is deemed the best care taker.  Those results truly take this poll to a new level of absurdity.

Image courtesy of US News


Susan L.

I have to tell you that in the poll that was offered, "Do you think the US News asked a fair question?"I had to respond that I was "leaning no," instead of the big, emphatic "NO!" In spite of the fact that I think the question was incredibly sexist and definitely off base, I have to say that there is little that is "unfair" about it.

That said, I am appalled that US news & World Report would condescend to such a level. And as for the readers ~ SARAH PALIN? Are they freaking KIDDING?! Look how she's done with her own kids. If the eldest of them is an indicator of well raised young womanhood, YIPES AHOY!

James M Nordlund
jamesm Nordlund8 years ago

My kids, Damien and Damien II, would take care of Sarah Palin for all of US, in 5 minutes she'd be volunteering for Bush's hopeful Mars trip :)


John S.
John Sanders8 years ago

us news is for conservative repugs like palin and her ilk

Urban C.
Urban C.8 years ago

First of all I am male. But parenthood is one of the most difficult time consuming tasks that we as human beings perform. Raising a child/children requires many talents and we as a society have to acknowledge that but putting just women as care givers is sexist. We have two types of human beings, women and men, and no one should have preference over the other. This applies to all tasks that we perform, equal pay for equal work period. Get over it, all.

Amy Lim
Amy L8 years ago

Given the current context, adding men to the mix would give the question a more balanced spin. Valuing PARENTHOOD, positive leadership, and women's contributions to society more equitably would benefit of all. In terms of parental and professional balance, there should be freedom of choice for both men and women. Anything less than a child's healthy and whole development leads to an unhealthy society, the symptoms of which we see in the media.

Tracy Viselli
Tracy Viselli8 years ago

Hi Sherry. Grammatical errors don't bother me so be my guest ;-) I am writing an editorial blog, not a news story so revealing my bias is the intent. Of course you have every right to disagree. However, I stand by my statement--Palin ran a vicious campaign based on fearmongering and classic nativism--very dangerous rhetoric and definitely not what I would want to see in a caregiver. I actually thought I was very restrained when it came to Palin.

Tracy Viselli
Tracy Viselli8 years ago

Mr. Fowler, no offense but this post has nothing whatsoever to so with family courts or father's rights. Going that route with me won't get you far. I'm prepared....with data.

To Lillian and Rosanne: in a perfect world I believe many parents (fathers and mothers) would like to stay home with their children. But for most Americans this is not an economic reality so it's not helpful to make pronouncements about the virtues of stay at home parenthood.

And additional note for Rosanne: I deal in facts and from your statements above, it's clear that you speak from talking points. If we talk about facts, we can have some interesting discussions. I think abortion is an issue that most people actually agree on--most polls show that this is case. Americans want to reduce the need for them and the number of them. Labeling women murderers is not helpful if we want to find solutions. It also puts all responsibility for the decision on women simply because her body is affected. At some point, a man was involved but people don't seem to assign them the same responsibility.

Sarah G.
Sarah G8 years ago

Yep, I've actually noticed that every post I've come across of yours Rosanne G., you rant against abortion, whether it's relevant or not.

Tierney G.
Tierney G8 years ago

To Rosanne G.: It is women like you who give women a bad name! All you care about is abortion this and abortion that and how awful it is, when I bet you supported the pointless war in Iraq that has killed innocent CHILDREN and pregnant women! What about the death penalty that I am sur e you must support too. Two wrongs don't make a right. Palin could care less about life she kills innocent animals and wants to destroy what is left of this planet!! I guess you dont care about your grandchildren having a future???

Elizabeth G.
Elizabeth G8 years ago

OMG to Sherry H:

I am sorry but I agree with the writer on this. If her intentions are to disagree with Palin then let her do that.

You think a governer who thinks it's OK to destroy the planet her KIDS live on, is doing a GOOD job?? Why because she is pro-Life?