As a conservative, I want the GOP brand to be successful. As a woman, I know that won't happen unless the party cleans house. It's not enough to go after only the ones who grab headlines with inane comments about women. Subtle sexism is harmful, too, because it perpetuates harmful ideas and is less likely to get called out by the public.
I'm a conservative because I know that limited government means more freedom and more independence. But there are some Republicans who didn't get the memo.
Below, 8 of their most cringeworthy comments, which the media, for some reason, has largely ignored. Can you guess who said each one? (Answers at the end.)
1. "Why would he pick her? I thought we were done with the Clintons. She'll just use it to build her power base. It's Machiavellian. And then we'll have Bill Clinton, too. I thought Obama didn't want drama ... He'll have even more drama with her."
At least this television host used his public platform to apologize!
Ugh. Ladiez. Just causin' drama wherever they go, am I right? Can't trust 'em. They might actually use a position of power to...like, actually get people to like them. They're all a little crazy, I tell ya.
There are plenty of reasons to disagree with Hillary. "Drama" isn't really a valid one.
2. "What about saying she's a wh*re?"
(This gubernatorial candidate had an interesting strategy for smearing his female opponent.)
Some may argue that the word "wh*re" was used to reference the candidate's selling out, or shady dealmaking. They may be right. But that doesn't excuse the use of a sexist jab in place of, say, "sellout" or "shady dealmaker."
3. "We recognize the importance of small business to women, people of color, tribes, and rural America and will work to help nurture entrepreneurship."
On the surface, this one isn't so bad. But then you realize what it implies: small businesses for small people, the people who need to be "nurtured" by the government. White men aren't included in the list of people for whom small businesses are important. This is from the party platform - and it's not okay. Free markets don't discriminate based on color or sex, so if you want to be the party of the free market, maybe don't bring race and sex into it, okay?
4. “Women can see through that nice shiny packaging that [they] have been putting out there, through to what’s inside, which is really a disaster for women’s future, extreme policies.”
(In response to female speakers at the 2012 nominating convention.)
This is not acceptable. If we're going to go after the other party's female leaders, it has to be done on the basis of policy - not on the basis of looks, or as this person calls it, "shiny packaging."
5. "Very valiant folks stood up to defend themselves, to protect themselves, and they did it with ballpoint pens."
(From a Colorado state Senate meeting.)
There is one key difference between the written word, and guns: Only a gun will deter a violent person.
Anyone can sit in a room and make up policies. You don't have to be "valiant" to do that. It takes real strength, both physical and emotional, to defend oneself from an attacker, as so many women have unfortunately had to do. Let's give them some credit for what they overcame, and skip the legislators calling themselves brave.
6. "Bill O'Reilly told me he had a secret weapon; I didn't know it was just a pretty girl he would bring here."
It's obvious why this comment, directed at Laura Ingraham, is misogynist. The "just a pretty girl" part is impossible to ignore.
The subtly sexist part is the idea that Ingraham is a weapon, a tool, being wielded by a man. She is not a pawn in the debating game. Her calm, measured response showed that she is a player, and a darn good one, too.
7. "I know it wasn't rape-rape. I think it was something else, but I don't believe it was rape-rape."
(In response to Roman Polanski's criminal charges for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.)
This Hollywood personality is known for her outspoken political endorsements of high-profile candidates. She is not as widely known for her (yes...her) misogyny. If it wasn't "rape-rape, then what was it, exactly?
8. Surprise! Every last one of these quotes came from a Democrat.
Remember at the top when I said "the media, for some reason, has largely ignored" these misogynistic statements? It may be because those quotes are all from Democrats. We all remember the kerfuffle over "binders full of women." We don't remember who dropped these whoppers. And the biased press is to blame.
1. Chris Matthews
2. DNC Platform
3. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
4. Jerry Brown
5. Jessie Ulibarri
6. Charlie Rangel
7. Whoopi Goldberg
Misogyny isn't a problem for one party or the other. It's a problem for all of us. The media jumps all over sexists in the GOP, as they should. But it's not enough to go after sexism on one side, while the other gets a free pass. If they're really concerned about women in society, they would attack misogyny on both sides. To do anything less is to enable sexism to persist.