If South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley were “Nick” Haley he would be political toast. Instead, because she is a Republican woman, in the post-Palin world she is the victim. She is to be treated with kid gloves by the men. They are to be gentlemen when it comes to Haley.
As a Republican woman I find this latest development with women, propelled by the Tea Party “patriots" (of which I am proud to say I am not among their ranks) troubling. Sarah Palin was treated like dirt. Because she was treated like dirt, other Republican women, who may deserve closer scrutiny, are not getting it.
Gresham Barrett, Third District Congressman, is being asked to be a “gentleman” and let Nikki have the victory. If we were dealing with “Nick” Haley, you would hear none of this. There would be conversations about finances, practicality, and numbers, but you would not hear the world “gentleman.” I’ve been involved in politics all of my life and have never heard the requirement that a male candidate act like a gentleman and give in to the demands of the female candidate in order to be a … gentleman.
Thanks to Sarah Palin there is now a double standard with women in the GOP. It is a very disturbing double standard that bodes ill for the future of women within the GOP. If our male candidates cannot go at it on an equal footing, how long do you think they are going to put up with it?
It is possible that only women who are part of the Tea Party “movement” are sacred and those who are not part of the Tea Party “patriots” are just regular Republicans. Case in point is Susan McDonald Gaddy. She was certainly not treated with kid gloves, when she was treated with anything at all. Instead, she was ignored. Then again, she was running against a Tea Party darling. Yeah, she was ignored. Do you even know who she was running against? Try Jim DeMint.
It was a bit frustrating, She did not have the money. They said she was not a “real” conservative, even though she ran to the right of Jim DeMint, if that is possible. She should have been embraced by the Tea Party crowd, but she was ignored completely. She was not “serious.”
If Nikki Haley were “Nick” Haley and there were two (count ‘em – two) allegations of infidelity, even though they were allegations, “his” career as a Republican in South Carolina would be history. Instead, the wagons were circled around Nikki Haley. She was the woman wronged to the point where her opposition could not even run against her on the issues.
This leads us to another problem with the select women of the GOP. Issues do not matter. Standards don’t matter. Neither do votes, voting history, or where she stands. All that matters is SHE knows the right words, apes the right phrases, and spews back the clichés the Tea Party “patriots” and FOX anchors so delight in hearing. Did you hear anyone question Haley over the fact that she voted twice to accept “stimulus” funds for South Carolina? This is a kiss of death for a man. Oh, we’re talking one of those dear Tea Party women. We must never, ever hold them to the same standards we hold normal Republicans and normal Republican women.
Speaking of double standards, you will not hear Tea Party “patriots” question Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s very strange remarks about her father’s military service. Her father did not die in Germany, did not fight in World War II, and was not killed by the Nazis. Contrast her reception by the right (no one is mentioning her big lie) with that of Richard Blumenthal.
If the Tea Party “patriots” cannot accept that the women of their ranks are the same as men they are going to seriously damage the role of women in the GOP. Perhaps this is the plan all along. Women within the GOP have fought long and hard to be treated as equals with the men.
Having spent most of my political life in South Carolina, I can honestly say I was in the trenches, fighting when we were relegated to punch and cookie servers. This most recent development with Nikki Haley and Jan Brewer is very disturbing. We Republican women have fought against the pat on the head, and the 'good little woman' brush-off for years. We have fought to be equals, not better and not worse. To see a Republican woman treated like she is better than the men is a dangerous turn of events.
As an aside, when Gresham Barrett first started in politics, I was his GOP county chair. I was and am cheering for him. I find it absolutely disgusting that he is being asked to be the good little man and let the little lady have her victory lap. If women want to play with the big dogs, they’d better learn how to play with them and not demand special favors.
It's too bad some of the women of the GOP who are running can't take a page from the down and dirty governor's race here in New Mexico. It is a down and dirty slug-fest between Susana Martinez (R) and Diane Denish (D). During the primaries, when one of the GOP candidates did something that wasn't quite ethical, New Mexico's GOP Chair, Harvey Yates, stepped in and put a stop to it. There was none of this "be a gentleman, poor little lady" thing. Susana Martinez did not require it. She played hardball with the guys on their terms and won.