By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff
WASHINGTON -- They came by the thousands, cheering rowdily and congratulating each other on their big achievement: getting dozens of Democratic women elected to Congress and governorships, and several women appointed to the cabinet in the new administration.
And -- oh, yeah -- helping to elect that Barack Obama guy, too.
As massive crowds thronged the National Mall for a concert honoring President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, more than 2,000 women (and a smattering of men) gathered at a Washington hotel today to honor the many women who won elected office in 2008. And while the supporters of EMILY's List -- a group that has been funding campaigns of pro-abortion rights, Democratic women for 20 years -- were technically there as ladies who lunch, there wasn't a hint of daintiness to the celebration.
"Unlike Wall Street'' -- run largely by men, noted Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, "`EMILY's List investments are coming back with big dividends.''
Not only has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and the country's first female speaker, done her part to "stomp out discrimination '' in the halls of Congress, "she stomped it out in four-inch heels!'' Moore declared, loudly slamming a black, high-helled shoe onto the podium as the crowd cheered and laughed.
The crowd heard from a series of female power-brokers, including new cabinet secretary-designates Hilda Solis (Labor) and Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security), as well as recently-elected Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. There are now a record 13 female US senators.
The women hailed the election of Obama, noting that the strong support the president-elect had among female voters. Obama's inauguration Tuesday will bring "a sigh of relief'' to the country, said Ellen Malcolm, the president of EMILY's List. But the event was all about the women -- those who worked for Obama, who won their own elections or re-elections, and those female leaders determined to bring their values to legislating.
"In everything we do, we are putting women and children first,'' Pelosi said, noting the recent House votes to expand healthcare coverage for children, and to give victims of pay discrimination more time to file lawsuits.
"We have reached the place where we can make a difference,'' Pelosi said. And now, she said, "we must show results."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.