Hillary Clinton wants to make history as the first female president of the US. But is there a bit of women’s history she doesn’t know?
At a campaign appearance in Missoula, Montana, on Sunday, Clinton invoked Jeannette Rankin, a Missoula resident who, in 1916, became the first woman elected to Congress.
“Remember, Jeannette Rankin was elected before women could vote … so who says men won’t vote for a woman?” Clinton asked the crowd. It’s true that women across the U.S. didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. But in Montana, thanks in part to Rankin, women got the right to vote in 1914 (which anyone who has ever played "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego" would know).
There’s another reason Clinton might not want to bring Rankin up too often.
In one of her first votes in Congress, Rankin opposed US entry into World War I. Rankin didn’t run for the House again in 1918, but failed in her Senate bid. She was re-elected to the House, arriving back in Washington in time to cast her vote on US entry into World War II.
In that 1941 vote — just one day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor — Rankin was the lone vote in Congress against the war.
"As a woman I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else," she declared. (Then she was chased from the Capitol by her angry colleagues.)
Clinton is still facing tough questions about her vote for the Iraq war. Maybe she should forget about Rankin for a while.