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GOP’s Woman-Haters Club Swells: Why Their Hatred Is Actually Getting Worse

From Christie to Limbaugh the right's view of women is steeped in the 18th century. It may finally catch up to them.
 
 
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In the recently released report he commissioned on the bridge closing scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyer depicts the client as the innocent who was ensnared in the web woven by an “emotional” woman. No longer is Bridget Anne Kelly his hardworking deputy chief of staff, doing the bidding of a canny, no-nonsense governor; instead, she is your run-of-the-mill hysterical female lashing out against the multitude of commuters to get revenge, somehow, for being dumped by a guy.

Does this scenario make any sense? Why is it so common to subject to psychoanalysis a public official who is a woman? Why must she be cast as the dangerously “emotional” one in a political drama that paints Christie as a properly sensitive, duly caring public servant with “heartfelt” concern for his staff? Kelly’s attorney reacted to the obvious gender bias: “The report’s venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report.”

The Christie report’s sexist motif cannot be treated in isolation. The evidence suggests a deep-seated hatred that calls to mind the hatred directed at President Obama for his oft-imagined illegitimacy. Just like the knee-jerk “You lie!” and “subhuman mongrel” that Obama unfortunately has to hear, sexist remarks from thought-deprived men are more than an eye-rolling distraction. “Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” is not a dead ideology; insidious remarks about women’s “natural” helplessness are automatic in certain circles. They keep popping up like an annoying Whack-a-Mole. Can we figure out what’s going on?

The month just past was a heckuva month for know-nothingness and woman-bashing. In mid-March, responding to news of a projected National Women’s History museum, the always instructive Rush Limbaugh auto-blurted: “We already have, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know how many museums for women all over the country. They are called malls.” Pregnant pause. “Hey, I could have said brothel.” Yes, and you could have admitted that in your oafish imagination a woman who is not deferential is a militant.

The marginally less rude but equally humorless Sen. Rand Paul grabbed momentary headlines when he tried to smear Hillary Clinton by associating her with the decades-old taint of her husband’s infidelity. Meanwhile, in defense of his own political virtue, Paul added a personal reflection to his stock of convenient statistics. “I’ve seen the women in my family and how well they’re doing,” he explained. “My niece is in Cornell Vet School, and 85 percent of the people in vet school right now are women. Over half the young people in medical school and dental school are women. Law school, the same way. I think women are doing very well, and I’m proud of how well we’ve come and how far we’ve come, and I think that some of the victimology and all this other stuff is trumped up.” Nothing to worry about, ye women seeking an equal place in society. He’s got anecdotal evidence. So stop complaining.

On March 20, apocalyptic visions with political resonance came from the lips of the author, onetime Limbaugh research assistant and born-again Christian Joel Rosenberg, a guest on the “700 Club.” He assured sympathetic host Pat Robertson that God will punish America when it reaches 60 million abortions – which, he hastened to compare, would mean six times the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis. He also likened those Christians who refuse to actively oppose abortion to the German Protestants who collaborated with Hitler’s Bible-burning regime.

Then, on March 28, radio talk show host Bryan Fischer, the director of “Issues Analysis” for the American Family Association, said he only hires women as secretaries because of “God’s basic design,” which necessitates gender discrimination; a woman’s “primary outlet” was at home. The same sentiment was expressed by New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce in his new book: “The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice.” By his logic, her submission to him is equally rooted in submission before God and love for a husband. Pearce, a Baptist, places on the man the biblically inspired requirement that he “take the leadership role” in all principal issues, “and be accountable for the outcome.”

 
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