Yesterday the all male GOP candidates for Governor of Colorado decided to have a debate geared toward addressing women’s issues. What could possibly go wrong? Here’s a hint: If you want women to think you see them as equals, you might want to avoid patronizing them by calling them “ornamental” and setting up your Q & A panel in the format of The Dating Game, complete with theme song. Clearly these men are in touch with what women want. In addition, you may want to actually talk about the issues where the GOP has alienated women. But as Rebecca Leber pointed out in her article on ThinkProgress.org,
…little of the gubernatorial debate’s substance had anything to do with issues where Republicans have alienated women. Republicans typically find themselves on thin ice when discussing things like birth control, abortion bans, sexual assault prevention, equal pay, and maternity leave. Instead, there were questions about which women they admire (excluding their wives and mothers), creating jobs, and even about oil drilling.
John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent said in his assessment of the debate that:
…the three candidates — former Congressman Bob Beauprez, former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp and Secretary of State Scott Gessler — had no specific policy proposals regarding women’s issues and barely mentioned women…
In ColPols.com’s live blogging of the event:
This was billed as a debate centered around “Women and Colorado’s Future,” and it was about as insulting to women as you could get. It would have been difficult to make this look less genuine, though it would have helped — a lot — to not play the theme song of “The Dating Game” after every break. It’s hard to explain how uncomfortable it was in the room every time that song came up and the candidates tried to chuckle about it. What a disaster.
They also included some of the questions and answers:
Next question: How would you deal with Democrats accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women?”
Beauprez: Says 1/3rd of our kids can’t read at a third-grade level. Don’t know what that has to do with this question.
Gessler: “I think we have to take that head-on.” Says Barack Obama and Mark Udall clearly discriminate against women. Says the New York Times just fired a woman as editor in chief. Why those two items are connected is not clear.
Kopp: Brings up Ronald Reagan for the 10th time. If you wonder why Republicans have trouble attracting young voters, it doesn’t help that candidates like Kopp keep bringing up a President who left office in 1988 and has been dead for 10 years.
Or how about this doozie?
“Name a woman you admire, not including your wife or mother.” The fact that the questioner thought this qualifier was needed tells you everything you need to know about this “Women and Colorado’s Future” shtick.
Beauprez: A woman who worked in his bank.
Kopp: There is a woman in this audience (whose name he butchers). Kopp says she is an immigrant from Colombia. Says he calls her “The Colombian Hurricane.”
Gessler: “Helen Keller and Susan B. Anthony.” This could not get any more ridiculous. Asked to name a woman he admires, Gessler can’t even come up with someone who is actually alive today.
Enter this meme posted by a friend today on Facebook:
Do you see how maddening this is? If you are a woman and do not laugh these things off, or if you respond to it in a negative way at all, you will be labeled as an “overreacting female” and they will say, “See? This meme is truth.” Arrrrg. No, this meme is misogynistic hogwash. This time the meme in question was posted by a male friend of mine. However, I have seen very similar ones posted by WOMEN in my feed. DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED. These women are akin to the women who agreed to take part in a panel that treated them like they couldn’t relate to a panel discussion unless it was set up as A DATING SHOW. But wait, maybe I am just OVERREACTING to the clear efforts of these fine gentlemen to make politics more fun and understandable for us lady folks .
Perhaps all this overreacting explains the article I read yesterday. Clearly this is the reason women who earn 4.0 GPAs in high school earn roughly the same amount of money as men who earned 2.25 GPAs in high school.
Please tell me again how there is no pay gap or war on women and how exactly I am overreacting?