Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski — “the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right” — spoke to the delegates at the Democratic National Convention last night. And unlike O’Malley the night before, she didn’t let her enthusiasm lead her into the uncanny valley of oversmiling. She also didn’t let her speech run over six minutes.

Mikulski, flanked by her fellow Democratic women senators, pointed out the inroads made by women in the halls of congress, painted Barack Obama as a president who makes gender equality issues — equal pay, affordable health coverage — a priority, and urged listeners to support the Democratic party’s female candidates in November.

Besides her baffling use of the phrase “macaroni and cheese issues” I was most struck by the sentence, “We’re Sunday school teachers and former governors, prosecutors and moms in tennis shoes.” It struck me as far more relevant and up to date than a similar passage from Ann Romney’s RNC speech: “We’re the mothers. We’re the wives. We’re the grandmothers. We’re the big sisters. We’re the little sisters, and we are the daughters.”

Of course, Mikulski was referring specifically to women in the Senate, whereas Ann Romney was speaking from her point of view as a stay-at-home mom. Not to mention first ladies and senators fulfill different roles at these conventions.