Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 23, 2010

'BACK IN THE KITCHEN'.... When Republicans use sexism to go after Democratic women, there are varying degrees of subtlety. Late last year, for example, the National Republican Congressional Committee suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be put "in her place" for disagreeing with an Army general about Afghanistan policy. The subtext seemed pretty obvious.

But in northeast Ohio this week, the Republican Executive Committee in Medina County dropped the pretense altogether while going after Rep. Betty Sutton (D).

A recent Medina GOP mailer that urges voters to "take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen," has angered the Emily's List political action committee, which raises money for female Democratic candidates.

"They're set on defeating Cong. Betty Sutton (OH-13), whom we helped elect in 2006, and filling her spot with a conservative loyalist. And how will they go about doing that? By sending her right where they think she (and all women) belong: the kitchen," says a posting on the group's website, which links to a fundraising page for Sutton. "I wish I could say I were shocked, but I can't. I can, however, say I'm appalled, annoyed, and ready to do something about it."

It's not just Emily's List that finds this offensive. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. For Republicans to still talk about forcing women "back in the kitchen" should be insulting to anyone who takes equality seriously.

For the record, Betty Sutton is an accomplished lawmaker and respected attorney -- and does not have a background as a professional chef. In other words, there's nothing about the congresswoman's background that makes "back in the kitchen" appropriate. The Republicans' rhetoric seems predicated entirely on gender.

Medina County GOP Chairman Bill Heck said the mailing was sent to roughly 15,000 Republican households in Ohio, and he "had not received any complaints."

He might think that makes this better. It actually makes it worse -- why don't those GOP households have a problem with this blatant misogyny?

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (36)

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"A recent Medina GOP mailer that urges voters to "take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen"

MY question is why don't they think that way about Sarah Palin? OK. I know she's a Republican. BUT, she doesn't know anything and she has FIVE children including a newborn with problems.

Nothing new about Republicans being stunning hypocrites, but Palin is the poster child for this topic.

Posted by: Mark-NC on April 23, 2010 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

And yet Palin the Grifter is okie dokie? Apparently being as dumb as a box of rocks is fully acceptable, seeing that she'd need some strong man telling her how to run the country. First dude, indeed.

Posted by: MsJoanne on April 23, 2010 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Please insert a hyperlink to Emily's List (i.e. the fundraising site for Sutton) in this article - might as well capitalize on reader's irritation to support this congresswoman in Ohio.

Posted by: sgsp1074 on April 23, 2010 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Medina County GOP Chairman Bill Heck said the mailing was sent to roughly 15,000 Republican households in Ohio, and he "had not received any complaints."

It's hard to wince over the phone.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 23, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

And the Republicans wonder why there's a gender gap. Sheesh.

Posted by: jvwalt on April 23, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

For anyone interested, Emily's List is an acronym for Early Money Is Like Yeast (Because it raises the dough. . .)

Posted by: DAY on April 23, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Whenever somebody tell me they haven't had any complaints, my immediate answer is "You have now."

Posted by: Virginia on April 23, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't realize today's American kitchens were located apart from the house. In the olden days, rich landowners often did have a separate kitchen for servants to toil while the house was kept cooler during warm months. Just seems kinda inconvenient today though. But maybe the white-only, male-only land owner days are what they're actually pining back to.

Posted by: oh my on April 23, 2010 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Quick! Somebody suggest that Palin and Bachmann need to go back to the kitchen and then take note of the GOP response. My guess is you'll get more than a couple of complaints.

Posted by: chrenson on April 23, 2010 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

This is precisely why I'm not worried about a GOPosaurian resurgence in 2010. They've allowed their pride to prematurely inflate their misogynistic xenophobia (or is it their xenophobic misogyny? I really can't tell; maybe it's both), and since we're too close to the primaries for it to reverse thw high tide, I suppose we'll get to see what a conservative extinction event looks like in about six months' time from now.

this year, my Halloween stunt will be to hang a pachyderm pinata, covered with teabags, from one of my trees.

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 23, 2010 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

http://emilyslist.org/blog/gop_put_betty_sutton_back_in_the_kitchen/

Posted by: Rathskeller on April 23, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

For Republicans to still talk about forcing women "back in the kitchen" should be insulting to anyone who takes equality seriously.

Which, obviously, Republicans don't. So where's the problem?

Posted by: martin on April 23, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with S. Waybright. Although I'm not sure if the GOP will suffer a huge collapse I just don't think GOP gains will be as much as conventional wisdom suggests. For one, the economy is bound to be better and no one will have suffered a health care apocalypse. I think the GOP's premature victory laps will rob them of the discipline they need to appeal to the general electorate. Some of them are so brainwashed by Fox News they actually think teabaggers are the majority and what people actually believe.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on April 23, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

I just don't get it. Why would any woman be a rethug?

Posted by: buddym on April 23, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

MY question is why don't they think that way about Sarah Palin?

Gastronomic self-defense. In one of her interviews with the gushing and sycophantic Greta van Susteren, Palin is shown preparing a dinner of moose hot dogs topped with Velveeta. I can't say she could even get the little cubes of processed cheese onto the dogs that efficiently, either -- it seemed to take her an exceptionally long time because she was talking while she did it and, well, you know.

And the Republicans wonder why there's a gender gap.

I don't think they really bother to wonder. They skip over the analytical phase and go straight to being indignant that women, like African Americans, don't flock to them.

Posted by: shortstop on April 23, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Rathskeller. Made my contrib.

Posted by: stinger on April 23, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Reply to shortstop: Actually, come to think of it, the Republicans do try to close the gender gap. Unfortunately, their primary tactic is to nominate brainless pretty boys -- Dan Quayle, John Ensign, Scott Brown -- because, as we all know, the gals swoon when they see a handsome face.

They do exactly the same thing to try to close the ethnic gap -- promote idiots like Bobby Jindal and Michael Steele.

Posted by: jvwalt on April 23, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Blacks...check

Gays...check

Women...check

Hispanics...check

They seem very anxious to completely alienate whole groups of voters to appeal to some old, bitter, bigoted white people.

Posted by: SaintZak on April 23, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, their primary tactic is to nominate brainless pretty boys -- Dan Quayle, John Ensign, Scott Brown -- because, as we all know, the gals swoon when they see a handsome face.

Good point; I forgot about that.

Posted by: shortstop on April 23, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

He might think that makes this better. It actually makes it worse -- why don't those GOP households have a problem with this blatant misogyny?

Because the men in those households don't allow their women to voice their opinions, what with the women being all busy cooking and cleaning and all.

Posted by: josef on April 23, 2010 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

How come the GOP's don't send Palin and Bachman back to the kitchen? We know Palin has one , The world has seen it.

Posted by: MLJohnston on April 23, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

why don't those GOP households have a problem with this blatant misogyny?
----------------------

Excuse me, but why would a GOP household have a problem with blatant misogyny?

You are a sweet young man, and sometimes I think you expect others to be too much like yourself. Particularly Republicans. Sweet ain't in it, so far as I've been able to tell.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on April 23, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

They seem very anxious to completely alienate whole groups of voters to appeal to some old, bitter, bigoted white people.

Who are a dying breed. The Old white peeps are not getting any younger and won't be around forever.

Posted by: MsJoanne on April 23, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well, someone has to tend the chickens we'll need to pay our doctors.

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on April 23, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Repub Women Accept Their "Place"

Some years back, I spent a late afternoon at an upscale daycare center, registering voters. It wasn't much worth the exercise; all the parents coming in to pick up their children were already registered. But many of the daycare workers were not, and I signed them up.

All the workers were women; not much of a surprise. They were also all Republicans - which really amazed me. But it gets worse - each one said that they just vote whichever way their husbands told them to.

Frankly, it's easy to get women to discount themselves. Marketers have been profiting from this fact for a long time. Apparently, so do Republicans.

Posted by: Zandru on April 23, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Women in the kitchen, bartering, repealing suffrage, racial profiling. These are all GOP themes or topics from just the last few days.

How they feign surprise when accused of being sexist, racist, or just plain backwards is beyond me.

Posted by: doubtful on April 23, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Some of them are so brainwashed by Fox News they actually think teabaggers are the majority and what people actually believe."
Posted by: Unstable Isotope

And McCain actually won the 2008 Presidential election which was stolen by ACORN.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on April 23, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

It's the same with Black folks. Yesterday on the Ed Show, the designated black Republican (oxymoron) talking head got absolutely indignant about Michael Steele's statement that black people have not been given any reason to support the GOP.

He actully had the nerve to cite Democratic obstruction of the Civil Rights Act. Of course, he was referring to the 1875 Civil Rights Act, but he was very careful not to make the distinction between 1875 and 1964.

Ed and his Democratic pundit were too slow on the uptake to notice.

Posted by: Winkandanod on April 23, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Because the men in those households don't allow their women to voice their opinions, what with the women being all busy cooking and cleaning and all.

No, actually plenty of non-wealthy Republican married women work, share chores, and all that nominally-equal stuff (and even the wealthy stay-at-home ones usually do all the social business that keeps their family's status where it's supposed to be). What they don't seem to like is the idea of codified equality, that women could be allowed to advance along non-traditional paths. Maybe that threatens their sense of accomplishment-- after all, they do the 'traditional' thing and still manage-- or maybe they just consider it special treatment for other women to rely on policies instead of personal negotiations to succeed, but either way they like to maintain a very high opinion of themselves & their arrangements. And it's also true that many women reflexively align themselves with their husbands' political concerns, which is sad but unsurprising.

My policy is that it's always smart, when questioning conservatives' motivations, to examine how their positions might allow them to (in Jane Austen's two-century-old words) "think well of themselves, and meanly of others."

Posted by: latts on April 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The linked article has a link to Emily's List. I've sent my contribution already.

Waybright and Isotope, I think you're onto something. I haven't seen the Republicans do so much gloating about prospective gains since 1998, when they were sure that the Clinton impeachment would sweep them into veto-proof majorities.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 23, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody remember the flash-in-the-pan-angry-town-haller who was later revealed to be low-profile-Republican-activist Katy Abram? Get your laugh on early this weekend by googling the YouTube video of her performance on Hardball with Lawrence O'Donnell.

When he pointed out that Obama's proposed revisions to the tax code would only affect households hauling down more than a quarter-mil annually, and asked her if that would include hers, she famously replied that she didn't really know her household income, "...my husband looks after those things, he takes care of us, that's what really matters..."

Obviously, there was more to it than that, and she was probably smart enough to think at least one step ahead to where citing a large household income would damage her storyline as a late-awakening angry American voter from Smalltown, U.S.A. who was mad as hell about socialism and not prepared to take it any moere. But the larger point is the model she established for women while she was dissembling. Let your husband run the finances, don't concern yourself with the underpinnings of your family's life; it'll leave you free to volunteer for a few worthy causes to occupy your spare time.

Katy Abram didn't just disappear, although the instant Republican meme that she might run for some public office (they have more hotshot startups that amount to nothing, I swear) was effectively torpedoed by her floundering performance on the boob tube. A search for "interview Katy Abram" resulted in a few hits other than the one I was looking for, including (surprise!!) Glenn Beck and Hannity.

Posted by: Mark on April 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

He actully had the nerve to cite Democratic obstruction of the Civil Rights Act. Of course, he was referring to the 1875 Civil Rights Act, but he was very careful not to make the distinction between 1875 and 1964.

Well, racist white Southern Democrats did obstruct the 1964 act. Then the GOP coopted them all during Nixon's Southern Strategy (which apparently your talking head failed to mention), and they stayed on the Republican side of the aisle until they died.

Posted by: shortstop on April 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

The 'Publicans aren't embarrassed about this sort of thing because they believe that all men, think the same way about professional women as they (the pubs) do. I.e., in the pubs' reality, they're just saying what everybody's thinking.

Posted by: KarenJG on April 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Like I said on the Steele truth telling.

Only white male millionaires should ever vote Republican.

Posted by: SHARKSBREATH on April 23, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why would any woman choose to support the Republican Party given their sexist, mesogynistic attitudes? I expect Michael Steele to make a statement to that effect any day now.

It's still 1955 in the minds of Republican men. The old white men of the GOP, i.e. Pat ,really feel threatened by smart, independent, self-assured women. Where's Dr. Freud when you need him?

Over the Past year Republican politicians have not only repeated the remark about returning women to the kitchen where they belong, but some have actually passed laws that take away women's reproductive rights and rights to medical privacy. Some have even proposed repealing women's voting rights!

Unless the women are air-headed but snarky, attractive bimbos (like Palin, Perino, and the Fox News babes), they should be at home, barefoot and pregnant, wearing a housedress and fresh lipstick, waiting with cocktail in hand for hubby to return home from the office. Mad men.

Posted by: Carol A on April 23, 2010 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"...really feel threatened by smart, independent, self-assured women."

The smart thing to do is to marry one.

Posted by: Mark on April 23, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK
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