Why The “Sexism” Argument Against Newt Gingrich Is Ridiculous
1:23 pm, December 16th | by Amy Tennery
Here are the facts: Last night during the debate the two candidates got into a heated argument over abortion. The first candidate accused the other of having an inconsistent track record on the issue. The other, the target of this accusation, smirked and feigned disbelief, before firing back.
In all, it was par for the course, as far as political debates go. But why is everyone so outraged today? Because one of the candidates in that verbal spar was a woman. And now everyone wants to cry sexism — and that’s total B.S.
Here’s the clip everyone’s getting worked up over:
Did I miss something? Where was the part where Gingrich was treating Bachmann differently because she’s a woman?
This morning Joe Scarborough called Gingrich “condescending” for his remarks. Scarborough’s guest, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele concurred, and praised Bachmann for her composure, adding that “the only thing I could write was, ‘you go girl.’” (Which, seriously, are you kidding me?)
Jennifer Rubin over at The Washington Post argued that “[GIngrich] comes across to women as arrogant and condescending.” The Atlantic cried outrage, noting that Gingrich “couldn’t help but let Michele Bachmann know that he thinks she’s dumb.”
Well, yea, of course he did. That’s what candidates do during debates. They try to undermine one another. They try to make each other look stupid. When they think someone has her (or his!) facts wrong, they call them out. They make faces, they mock, they provoke. They’re jerks to each other. All the time. This had nothing to do with Bachmann being a woman. She’s powerful and she’s playing to win. Good for her. And Gingrich treated her like a threat — the same way he’d treat any other candidate. She is not some delicate flower. She does not need coddling. To imply otherwise is insulting.
And can anyone reasonably claim that the Gingrich-Bachmann flareup was that different from this kerfuffle between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in October?
If anything, Gingrich was more civil (and he didn’t put his hand on her, which tips the scales of condescension).
Is smirking during a debate, while your opponent speaks, childish? I’d say so. And other candidates have attracted negative press for doing that. But just because Gingrich made a silly face (and dared to claim Bachmann may have her facts wrong) doesn’t mean he’s a sexist.