Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You have to play nice with the girls

Last week, in the same issue that ran a cartoon carping on the Philadelphia Eagles for giving African-American quarterback Michael Vick a second chance at life after spending two years in prison for dog-fighting, USA Today ran a front page story decrying what it called “sexist jabs” at “female hopefuls” in political races. It referred to “sexist” names like “ice queen” and “mean girl” as “undercutting” a female candidates political standing. Reading stuff like this reminds one of juvenile high school complaints. Have voters not grown-up since then? This is silly sob sister material. A female Democratic pollster named Celinda Lake conducted the poll that found that a female candidate had a 59 percent favorable rating after an initial description (you’d have to ask Lake what that “description” was), and then dropped to 25 percent “after an attack without sexist labels” and eventually to 17 percent after an attack with the aforementioned name-calling.

The problem with this poll—besides being clearly biased and with an agenda to burn—is the suggestion that any “attack” on a female candidate is “sexist.” Even taking the numbers given, the “attack without sexist labels” had a far greater effect on the female candidate’s “standing” than the sexist attacks, which in reality may have the opposite effect “intended.” Furthermore, the media has almost totally ignored the reality that the attacks on Barack Obama, and given the fact that they are coming from a wholly-white “movement” clearly meant to highlight Obama’s “blackness,” tends to highlight the hypocrisy of the media. During the 2008 primaries, CNN continuously decried the alleged “sexist” attacks on Hillary Clinton while refusing to examine her racial code comments about “hard-working Americans--white people” and the RFK assassination—all the while running non-stop for weeks the Rev. Wright video, naturally taken out of context. More recently, while CNN was all over the People Magazine story on Elin Nordgren, ex-wife of Tiger Woods, it failed to discuss the Vanity Fair story on Sarah Palin, which has far greater implications for the well-being of this country. But we’re not allowed to discuss it because it is “sexist,” as feminists immediately condemned it.

Are we not allowed to discuss House candidate Pamela Gorman of Arizona, because it is “sexist” to criticize her campaign? Taking a cue from Palin, Gorman ran an ad showing herself blazing away with a variety of guns, including an old Tommy machine gun. What are we of more sensible mind to make of this? Gorman also appeared at a Tea Party “border” event wearing a shoulder holster, clearing playing to anti-immigrant militants. We are not allowed to comment on this, because it would be “sexist?” She called Mexican president Calderon Obama’s “good buddy”—forgetting that George Bush was such a “good buddy” with Calderon that he gave him hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military hardware to help combat the failed “drug war.” Gorman also seems to suffer from selective amnesia regarding her stint in the Arizona legislature; Republicans have dominated the state for years, and thanks to $10 billion in tax loopholes for businesses (which exceed the total revenue of the state in 2010), and semi-yearly income tax cuts have led to a projected deficit in 2011 that will be 47 percent of the total budget. $750 million will be cut from education, and 13 of 22 state parks are being closed.

But we’re not allowed to comment on this, because it will hurt Gorman, a woman. We are not allowed to say that Gorman is a racist gun nut. Arizona isn’t exactly a game hunting mecca, so what are white Arizonans of the right-wing persuasion doing blazing away with their Tommy guns in the desert? “Practicing” to shoot all those Mexicans in lieu of other suitable “game?”

Gorman and Palin are not the only female political figures who have attracted “unwanted” attention because of their bizarre behavior and beliefs; Michelle Bachmann has practically cornered the market on much of that. Myself, I can take the slings and arrows of being accused of being “sexist” if it means exposing the truth and enlightening the public. But Bachmann is re-elected every two years by her constituency; she doesn’t seem to have been “scarred” by the fact that voters in her district get a kick out of her own incessant taunting, stereotyping and intolerance.

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