By Doreen Mattingly
A feminist, an outspoken activist, a lady with no collage schooling, Midge Costanza was once one of many unlikeliest of White condo insiders. but in 1977 she grew to become the 1st lady Assistant to the President for Public Liaison lower than Jimmy Carter, rising as a well-known point of interest of the yankee tradition wars. Tasked with bringing the perspectives of detailed curiosity teams to the president, Costanza championed innovative explanations whilst americans grew more and more divided at the very concerns for which she fought.
In A Feminist within the White House, Doreen Mattingly attracts on Costanza's own papers to make clear the lifetime of this attention-grabbing and arguable lady. Mattingly chronicles Costanza's dramatic upward thrust and fall as a public determine, from her preliminary acceptance to her final clashes with Carter and his aides. whereas Costanza challenged Carter to aid abortion rights, homosexual and lesbian rights, and feminist guidelines, Carter confronted elevated strain to soothe the pursuits of rising non secular correct, which without delay adverse Costanza's beliefs. finally, marginalized either in the White condo and through her fellow feminists, Costanza used to be careworn to surrender in 1978.
Through the lens of Constanza's tale, readers seize a special point of view of the increase of debates that have outlined the feminist move and sexual politics to this very day. Mattingly additionally unearths a much broader, yet heretofore overlooked, narrative of the advanced period of gender politics within the overdue 1970's Washington - a heritage which keeps to resonate in politics today. A Feminist within the White House is a must-read for an individual with an curiosity in sexual politics, girl politicians, and presidential history.
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Additional info for Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America’s Culture Wars
I am not threatened by the ERA. ”9 Jimmy Carter was personally comfortable with strong women, as evidenced by his much lauded “equal partnership” with Rosalynn and his friendship with Costanza. Unfortunately, the rest of his top aides were less tolerant. Biographer Peter Bourne points out that “most of the men around him found it impossible to break with their traditional southern views of the role of women. ”10 A number of Carter’s other beliefs further limited his support for many feminist issues.
Introduction • 5 radical, anti-family agenda. She also became a symbol for liberal Democrats unhappy with Carter’s moderate positions on domestic issues and his administration’s tendency to make decisions without including Congress and interest groups. For many on the left, Costanza’s departure signaled the death of any progressive hopes for the Carter administration. As a symbol at the center of these contentious issues, her perspective offers valuable insights about the role of the Carter administration in partisan realignment and the emergence of national battles over social issues, especially abortion and homosexuality.
How could she remain both true to her ideals and support a president courting those who opposed everything she believed in? Behind the scenes she pleaded with Carter to move to the left, but to no avail. Nor did Carter share her commitment to a federal safety net. Instead, he initiated an era of streamlining and cost-cutting that triggered vehement opposition within his own party, and meant he did not support a range of feminist policy proposals aimed at supporting poor women. With the White House and the nation shifting to the right, the idealistic Costanza became a powerful symbol for unhappy liberals across the country.
Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America’s Culture Wars by Doreen Mattingly