By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
It's great to see the Republican National Committee sticking up for women. According to Politico, Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter was on a talk show with the outspoken Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann this week, and lobbed a gender-based snub at her:
The two were on a Philadelphia radio show Wednesday when the Pennsylvania Democrat grew frustrated with Bachmann. "I'm going to treat you like a lady," Specter said to Bachmann. "Now act like one." Appearing on conservative host Sean Hannity's Fox News show Thursday night, Bachmann said she was "stunned" by Specter's outburst.
Then Jan Larimer, the female cochair of the RNC, swung right back at Specter with this little ditty on the RNC's website:
"Senator Specter's rude and arrogant comments yesterday were not only disrespectful to Congresswoman Bachmann, but demeaning to all women. Senator Specter should immediately apologize to the Congresswoman and to all of his constituents for such disgraceful behavior. Women should never be treated as second class citizens. It's clear Senator Specter has spent too much time in Washington, and this November I am confident Pennsylvanians will choose a new direction."
While it's great to see the GOP in action defending its women, I wish it would come more often to the aid of its moderate women such as Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. They may be too "liberal" for the party, now sadly dominated by its right wing. But Snowe and Collins are more in tune with the mainstream American voting public than either right-wing Republicans or left-wing Democrats. Bachmann's social politics appeal largely to the party's far right.
Then there's the question of whether the GOP attack on Specter was more motivated by the "shock" Bachmann professed than by the fact that he changed parties and deserted the Republicans not too long ago.
I am not a fan of Specter or Bachmann (for various and different reasons) and agree that Specter chose his words poorly. He should have left gender alone. But shock? Compared with the verbiage spouted by radio talk show shock jocks (Hannity, Limbaugh, Stern, et al.), Specter's comments were feckless.