Fourteen days before the election, is it too early to write Rosalind Kurita’s political obituary? Nah, her write-in campaign doesn’t stand a chance. The problem is, I can’t decide what to say about her. Is she a villain or a hero in the little tragicomedy in which she’s starring?
Here are three possible ways to see her:
(1) As a martyr who sacrificed her own political career in an act of conscience by voting against an old fool who didn’t know when to quit. (Wilder definitely needed to go. No argument there.)
(2) As a Judas who betrayed her own party by voting to give Senate control to the Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction in return for a new title and comfier office. (Does anyone believe Kurita’s claims that she didn’t cut a deal with Ramsey?)
(3) As a combination of the above.
I’m leaning toward No. 3 myself. Which leaves open the question of whether she deserved to have her nomination stripped away.
Here’s another question: Would this happen to a man? Kurita was always disliked within the Senate’s old boys’ network. These are the guys, remember, who embrace Doug Henry as a great statesman. Henry’s idea of women’s rights might have been seen as only slightly backward in Victorian England.
Kurita was too assertive for these senators. They prefer their women senators like Charlotte Burks—silent. As one Democratic operative said recently of Kurita, “She’s a bitch.”
If a male senator did what she did, I think he might have been forgiven.
Kurita won’t acknowledge it, but she seems to know her career is over. She’s fatalistic about it. Recently, she explained her vote against Wilder this way:
“Every year we had the same situation of just dividing things up so that nothing really happened. And it was going to go on forever. I really made a vote of conscience. I had to think about this. I knew there would be a high consequence. And even if this is the consequence, I make no apology. I did what I had to do. If there’s price that has to be paid and if it’s me that has to pay it, I’m fine with it.”
For more on Kurita and her write-in campaign, see this week’s Scene