Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

To Kirsten Gillibrand, a mother of two young sons, the legislative behavior she saw this autumn looked, well, familiar. Watching a faction of Republicans in Congress made her think of her 5-year-old son wanting candy for breakfast: "It's really a tantrum; it's a tea party tantrum. 'You either give me my way, or we're going to shut down government.' "I think they have to be told no, and they have to come back to the table," Gillibrand told interviewers. "This is not a place for negotiation. This is what we should be doing as part of our jobs." In the summer, the Senate women had met after a deadlock on the problem of sexual assault in the military. The group supported Gillibrand's bill over Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill's version, creating an uncomfortable division. Tellingly, wrote an interviewer, the group agreed not to air its differences but to emphasize the significant overall reform. And the two senators, who are aligned on many changes in the military, have refrained from sparring in public. "Women's voices are not better than men's," wrote Gillibrand, who urges more women to run for public office. "They're different, and the broader perspective that we bring often leads to better results." ALSO: Washington's 5 biggest 'fails' of 2013 Kindness in the world of politics? 7 uplifting examples from 2013 13 biggest political blunders of 2013 -- and what they mean for the year ahead
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