Susan J. Demas: Gretchen Whitmer isn't running for governor: What does that say about feminism?

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) once told me why she thought it was harder to be a Democrat than a Republican and for her party to stick together. 

"We see shades of gray," she said. "Life's a lot more complicated, I think, when you see all the different arguments and points. But it also makes our decisions better and more representative of the people."

I thought about that when Whitmer stunned most people on Wednesday by announcing she wouldn't run for governor in 2014, citing her family:

"I've said all along that I wouldn't be making this decision alone, but rather would be doing it along with my family, and in particular, what's best for my 2 girls. They're 9 and 10 years old now, and without question, being their Mom is the single most important thing in the world to me.

"So, while making this decision is undeniably difficult, knowing why I'm making it also makes it very easy. To be the kind of Mom I want to be for my girls simply does not allow me to make the kind of commitment necessary to run a successful campaign for Governor at this point in their lives. So, as much as I relish the challenge, as much as I want to see a change in the Governor's office and as truly honored as I am that so many of you believe in what I'm fighting for, I will not be running for Governor in 2014."

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