One thing which seems to unite all gay men is our respect (in some cases, reverence) for strong woman. We see this notably in our affection for such screen legends as Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor and for Broadway divas like Ethel Merman, Tallulah Bankhead and Carol Channing. Some turn to their affection to woman who have succeeded in a variety of different venues, particularly such divas as Marlene Dietrich and Barbra Streisand, the latter whose song and screen performances (especially Funny Girl, What’s up Doc? and The Way we Were), we enjoy despite her angry leftist politics.
Given Barbra’s politics, perhaps we gay conservatives need to find a few divas of our own, strong women, who are successful and command respect even from straight men, but whose political views don’t turn our stomachs. To that end, Bruce and I have decided to poll our readers to help determine the gay conservative diva — or perhaps divas.
Before we do that poll, we’d like to open nominations in several categories.
In the Political Leaders category, obvious nominees include Margaret Thatcher and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but perhaps we should also include German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And of course, we should consider such political aides as Mary Matalin (who once complimented your humbled blogger on his then-long and curly locks) and the President’s confidante, Ambassador Karen Hughes. Is there anyone else we should consider?
In Entertainment, our choices seem limited as so many strong women either have kept their politics to themselves or mouthed off against conservatives. One great playwright comes to mind–Claire Booth Luce, a friend to the Buckley family and author of The Women, a perennial favorite of gay men. Emmy Award winning actress Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond and Elizabeth Hasselback of The View have come out as Republicans. Are there others?
If we turn to U.S. history, we would naturally include Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of a Republican president and wife to a Republican Speaker of the House, who kept an embroidered pillow on her sofa with this phrase, “If you haven’t anything nice to say, come sit by me.” Some Federalists would surely opt for Dolley Madison. And since we’re now talking first ladies, we must of course consider Nancy.
So, please e-mail me or drop a comment with your nominees in these categories. And if you find a strong Republican woman who doesn’t fit these four categories, include her anyway and tell us why you think she should be nominated.
*If you define diva as I do, a strong, talented woman who commands the respect of men, the goddess Athena may well have been the first diva.