National Women’s History Museum: Behind the Spin
Spin: The legislation (H.R. 863) to develop a National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) in DC is written to bar the museum from ever receiving federal funding.
- Reality: This is not true. H.R. 863 requires the commission to merely develop a plan to fund the museum with private donations as an option. However, there is no language prohibiting federal funding of a future museum (nor could any such language bind a future Congress). In fact, the bill requires the commission to submit its recommendations to the Congressional appropriations committees. Why would Congress need to consider appropriating funds for a plan that does not use any?
Spin: H.R. 863 calls for a bipartisan commission, appointed by both the Majority and Minority leadership, to conduct the feasibility study. This will prevent against the pedaling of a one-side ideology.
- Reality: The museum commission would be comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans, selected by their party leadership. This breakdown represents two different political parties, to be sure, but it does nothing to ensure that a nonpartisan conservative voice is heard. In fact, party leaders are more susceptible to being pressured by opponents wielding a “war on woman” club into finalizing the museum.
Moreover, the NWHM already claims to have a bipartisan Board of Directors and yet the content of their online displays is neither ideologically balanced nor beneficial to visitors (as press reports indicate, by NWHM President Joan Wages’ own account, out of the 300 biographies on their website only four are of conservative women). Figures of questionable values such as Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Albzug, and Victoria Woodhull are endorsed with great deference, while innumerable conservative females across history have been overlooked or under-promoted. Even if a bipartisan Congressional council is successful in including a greater percentage of conservative female leaders, this will not negate the promotion of progressive and anti-life values.
Spin: H.R. 863 only studies the potential for the museum. The commission would report back to Congress after 18 months, at which point lawmakers would decide if the project moved forward. The current bill does not guarantee a museum.
- Reality: In the long view of liberal victories, commissioning a study is more than half the battle. No member of Congress can afford the appearance of failure once the study gains momentum. If this measure is enacted, Congress will be on record endorsing the project. Both Congress and the commissioners will be invested in “success,” defined as a museum being finalized.
Spin: This museum is a chance for conservative women to help craft America’s history and see to it that no worthy representative of conservative values is left out of the discussion.
- Reality: The optimism that a museum of this ideological bend (even with conservative participants in the short term) can long withstand the cultural pressures of Washington DC borders on the delusional. The museum’s website has already made clear that American women extolling family or religious values will be largely secondary to liberal figureheads that epitomize the extreme Left. This is the case even before the museum has received the necessary support from Congress.