The House voted 383-33 last night to move forward with a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall, despite an effort by Religious Right groups to prevent the museum from going forward.
Now, we learn that Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, the activist leading the fight against the museum, was offered a spot on its planning board but refused to participate unless an anti-feminist activist like herself was allowed to head the planning effort.
The Daily Caller reports that in an effort to shore up support for a bill authorizing a planning study for the museum, the museum’s chief Republican supporter, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, offered Nance a spot on the museum’s board. Nance refused, saying that she would only accept an offer to lead the museum as the board’s chair or to pick another right-wing activist for the job.
“Regardless of that effort some critics of this legislation have, incorrectly, said that the bill would create a museum that would portray women as monolithic in their views on abortion as well as other issues of concern to women,” said Blackburn, adding that she asked Nance to serve as a member of the commission.
Nance said that the offer — sent by Blackburn’s chief of staff on Tuesday night — is “an exercise in futility and frustration without the chairman being someone who at least is impartial on our views.”
“One seat would not change anything,” said Nance, adding “I am happy to either serve or find someone else to serve as chairman.”
Religious Right groups came out against the plan because, they said, it would place too much emphases on women who had fought for women’s rights. CWA complained that the museum would “indoctrinate” visitors into “a jaundiced view of women’s history” because the museum’s website mentioned pioneering abortion rights advocates but didn’t mention CWA’s founder Beverly LaHaye or fringe right-wing activist Star Parker.
Eagle Forum urged its members to oppose the creation of the museum, saying, “Long sought by feminists, this project would enshrine their warped view of American history on the National Mall” and added that the museum wasn’t needed anyway: “Women's history is American history, and there is already a National Museum of American History on the Mall.”
The Family Research Council warned that the museum would become “a permanent monument to radical feminism and abortion.”
Writing for RedState, David Horowitz called the museum proposal an “interesting endeavor,” but warned that it would “promote leftwing propaganda”:
One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.
In the end, yesterday, activists were only able to persuade 33 Republican House members to vote against a bill that “authorizes a study to find a location for the museum and establish its mission.” Only two of the eighteen Republican women in the House voted against the bill – Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said it would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
But despite her attempted concession to Nance, Blackburn told National Journal that she could not figure out what all the fuss was about: "Look, I'm a pretty conservative person. I can't even follow that train of thought. It's too convoluted for me."