Women on the verge

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  August 20, 2008

Murray took a prominent public role during Clinton’s successful Massachusetts primary campaign, including speaking for the Zucker group. If, as several women say, Murray is now serious about promoting women, she is not only in a position to direct recruitment and support campaigns, she also has tremendous savvy at working the political machinery.

That, some say, is exactly what has been lacking from the efforts to promote women in office until now. Rather than bemoan the system, or factors outside of their control, they argue, women should go straight into the back rooms with strategies designed to gain institutional support for their candidate.

Cheryl Cronin, attorney and political strategist — and Obama supporter — agrees. “We have to use the rules of engagement in politics — that’s the industry that we’re in.”

One insiders’ game women here have learned is the power of the checkbook. The number of Massachusetts women who contributed in this presidential cycle skyrocketed.

With more money available, more support, and the examples of Clinton and the Commonwealth’s own recently successful female pols, many are cautiously predicting that we are at the cusp of a new wave of women in public office. “There’s a huge difference in this election cycle, just from two years ago,” says Monahan.

“I see a real change in women being inspired that they can do it,” says Lee. “The women of Massachusetts are on a roll — people are seeing the power that women have to make a change in government.”

To read the “Talking Politics” blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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