The first congresswoman

As Ben-Peter Terpstra says in his article "The First Congresswoman", Rankin's character traits are much preferred over Hillary's phony accomplishments. Ben does however, gloss over her "anti-WW I" views and her later "anti-WW II views," if one could call them that.

Based upon her principles, she voted against American participation in WW I. This may have been the right thing to do at the time, especially since information flow wasn't what it is today, but I don't happen to think that anyone's hindsight analysis that we wasted lives and resources to fight the war is justification for Rankin's vote. Any war could be judged in that light to posit any number of reasons that a war was no good. Today's Congress seems to have Rankin's modus operandi down pat when it comes to members' "buyers remorse" over the Iraq campaign, while simultaneously threatening to defund it in order to secure our surrender.

For Rankin, though, it gets trickier about 24 years later. To my knowledge, she was the only one in Congress to vote against declaring war against the Axis after the attack on Pearl Harbor. At this point, Rankin had just cemented her place in history as the typical extreme libertarian who is less concerned about constitutional purity than being the nutty isolationist who frets the war will interrupt some idylic, fantasy frontier life for her and her constituents. All well and good I suppose - right up until the time the Waffen SS and/or the Imperial Japanese Army make an appearance in Bozeman.

Conservatives rightly defend the core principles of our representative Federal Republic to ensure that big city liberals don't bet the farm on collectivist, nanny state programs nor that they have an undue influence on our national elections by fighting the elimination if the Electoral College. We just need to remember that someone ekeing out a life in the wilderness using her wits and skills, though admirable, does not grant any special immunity to due consideration of our entire nation's interests once elected to our highest legislative body.

Tony George

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