A Feminist in the White House

A Feminist in the White House

Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America's Culture Wars

Book - 2016
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"A feminist, an outspoken activist, a woman without a college education, Midge Costanza was one of the unlikeliest of White House insiders. Yet in 1977 she became the first female Assistant to the President for Public Liaison under Jimmy Carter, emerging as a prominent focal point of the American culture wars. Tasked with bringing the views of special interest groups to the president, Costanza championed progressive causes even as Americans grew increasingly divided on the very issues for which she fought. In A Feminist in the White House, Doreen Mattingly draws on Costanza's personal papers to shed light on the life of this fascinating and controversial woman. Mattingly chronicles Costanza's dramatic rise and fall as a public figure, from her initial popularity to her ultimate clashes with Carter and his aides. While Costanza challenged Carter to support abortion rights, gay and lesbian rights, and feminist policies, Carter faced increased pressure to appease the interests of emerging Religious Right, which directly opposed Costanza's ideals. Ultimately, marginalized both within the White House and by her fellow feminists, Costanza was pressured to resign in 1978. Through the lens of Constanza's story, readers catch a unique perspective of the rise of debates which have defined the feminist movement and sexual politics to this very day. Mattingly also reveals a wider, but heretofore neglected, narrative of the complex era of gender politics in the late 1970's Washington--a history which continues to resonate in politics today. A Feminist in the White House is a must-read for anyone with an interest in sexual politics, female politicians, and presidential history"--
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2016]
ISBN: 9780190468606
Branch Call Number: 305.42 COSTANZA
Characteristics: xxiii, 285 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates ; 25 cm


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Apr 08, 2016

This sounds like a great book -- although I haven't had the chance to read it yet, I do recall Ms. Costanza [was a national volunteer on Carter's first and successful presidential campaign] and remember she wasn't the only honorable person fired in that administration [the fellow who headed the National Geological Survey, a normally apolitical office, was fired for replying honestly to a reporters question on a phony natural gas shortage - - Carter had publicly claimed there was, at the time he was deregulating the natural gas industry] - - don't recall that Linda Chavez, Jean Kirkpatrick or Eliot Abrams, neocons all, were ever fired?
MIdge kept after Carter to fulfill his campaign promises [he didn't]; guess David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger had more say in the matter?


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