1963 Newspaper Goes Viral Because of One Man's Answer to 'Would a Woman Be a Good President?'

The internet is agog for Vern Hause, the only person interviewed who even entertained the possibility that a woman could be a good president.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Nov. 12 2020, Updated 9:16 a.m. ET

Twitter has absolutely lost their minds over a man doing the bare minimum once again. This time, the man is Vern Hause, a Wisconsin man who was once interviewed for a 1963 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

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He was among five people asked this simple question nearly 60 years ago: "Would a woman make a good president?" Lo an behold, Vern was the only one who even entertained the idea, though he didn't seem too enthused about it.

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The four other interviewees, including two women, all gave a definitive "no," along with their reasoning. But Vern, the hero of the internet this week, said, "She couldn't do any worse than some we've had." Hallelujah! What a guy. 

Immediately, people stanned Vern way harder than he probably deserved. It's worth noting that Vern didn't say, "Of course a woman could be a good president. Women are just as capable as men of performing high-powered jobs." He basically said, "Well, men suck too, so why not?" Still, Twitter loved him.

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But hey, you can't blame us. The bar for being a decent man these days is basically on the floor. But plenty of people noticed that Vern wasn't exactly the feminist hero some were making him out to be. "Vern: more nihilistic than misogynistic," one Twitter user wrote.

"Everyone is praising Vern but let's go back to 1963 and ask how he feels about a Black man / woman as president and see if y'all still like him," another person wrote. Yet another person offered the succinct but surprisingly encompassing, "Go Vern?" Yeah, I guess.

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But while Vern stole the spotlight, some others took a closer look at the other four interviewees and noticed something very interesting. It seems that Tom Romanowski and his wife, Mrs. Tom Romanowski (guess she doesn't have her own name??) stumbled across the reporter while they were together because they were both interviewed for the piece. And I guess if I had to sum up what their marriage was probably like in one word, it would be, "Oof."

Tom flat-out said he didn't have "much faith in women to let them run the country." And his poor, oppressed wife echoed his sentiments: "No. A woman is too likely to give in. They might not stand their ground when they should." Is this her opinion about women presidents or a cry for help? We will probably never know.

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One (a.k.a. lots of people on the internet) wonders if Mrs. Tom Romanowski's answer would have been different if she wasn't asked while standing next to her husband or if she wasn't Mrs. Tom Romanowski at all. 

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Then again, Mrs. Maureen Mellum had no trouble giving in to the gender norms of the time, and she was presumably interviewed on her own. So who knows? Obviously, 1963 was a fairly long time ago, and things have changed since then. 

But have they changed as drastically as we may think? If a local newspaper today decided to ask the same question of five random people they met on the street who were inexplicably also OK with giving away the exact address at which they lived (seriously, that's the most shocking part of this whole thing), would we get five people more enthusiastic about the idea than Vern? Or even five Verns? Unfortunately, I think Franks, Toms, Maureens, and Mrs. Toms are a little more common these days than most of us like to think.

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