November 19, 2006

"Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like."

Said Tom Delay. Is that supposed to not be sexist?
"They are both committed liberals and we will make that clear to the American people."...

Tony Coehlo, a former Democrat whip in the House who ran Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, acknowledged his party concerns. "Even seasoned Democrats are concerned about the Republicans' ability to tar the polished Hillary by attacking Mrs Pelosi," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

"If Nancy does poorly, that hurts Hillary. That's really unfair, but that's what everyone thinks. That's reality. To help Hillary, Nancy has to be perceived as an effective leader and she's had a terrible start. It was just an awful first week."...

[A] former strategist for a Republican House leader said: "If Pelosi comes across as not ready for prime time, that's going to hamstring Hillary. Fair or not, people can't help but make that comparison… Even Hillary's people are recognising that their fates are linked."

This is a ridiculous and offensive sort of logic. The next couple years will reveal much about the way Americans think about women.

68 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I'm sorry, just because the two subjects were women does not make a reasonable association sexist.

what if somebody had said:

"The last 8 years of Clinton gives a good idea of what the next 4 years of Gore will be like," said Tom DeLay, the Republican powerbroker who ran his party in the House before he was caught up in a lobbyist corruption scandal. "They are both committed liberals and we will make that clear to the American people."

every comment about Hillary or Pelosi isn't sexist. They are both public figures and are gonna get spoken about...

Gerry said...
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Gerry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gerry said...

A week or two ago, I made a comment about Conyers, Rangle, and Hastings. Doyle immediately insinuated that I was racist.

The problem from my perspective is not their skin color, an attribute which I don't care about. No, the problem is the views and attitudes of the men of who I spoke (and the prestige of the committees they might head).

So if we talk about two liberals who are leaders of their party and happen to be women, now we are sexist? It was sloppy logic and utterly wrong when Doyle used it on me, and I think it is equally wrong here.

Simon said...

I'd agree with the Sarge, but for the fact that I have heard Republicans - both IRL and on blogs - explicitly making the sexist correlation. The point isn't that the statement can be read in a non-sexist way (which it certainly can, to be sure), it's how it was intended. And I think it probably was meant to imply that "if you like the next two years of a batshit crazy feminazi wacko, imagine what four years of it will be like."

Whether it's descriptively accurate or not, though, is another matter.

Ann Althouse said...

How is Hillary like Pelosi? Pelosi has power now, while Hillary will run in the future. There's an idea of demonizing Pelosi in order to bring down Hillary. That doesn't smell right to me.

The Drill SGT said...

Since Pelosi is the highest ranking woman ever elected to office in the US and is third in line to be President and Hillary wants to BE President the comparisons are there for the making. They'd be there if Pelosi were a man for God's sake. She's effectively the leader and face of the party and her screw ups resound to the detriment of potential Democratic candidates for 08

It would be true if Pelosi were male and it were Hillary, and it's also true if Pelosi is female and Gore were gonna run again. You can't change that fact.

Wasn't there a bunch of hype in the MSM about how Geena Davis "playing" a President was softening up the public for a run by Hillary? well it works in reverse as well.

Any "first" person in a field has to be aware that at some level they are fighting for recognition for their (fill in the bank) peers.

The fact that Pelosi appears shrill, petty and vindictive on the Hoyer thing is gonna make it easy for people of all stripes to make a connection. Hell, my wife the Democrat, makes nasty comparisons to a female General Counsel ex-boss of hers that had the same management style as Pelosi. Wait till Pelosi axes Harman over petty spite. You'll hear "cat fight" from everybody.

Blame Pelosi, not men for this issue. Pelosi has a deaf ear on this topic.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann Althouse said...
There's an idea of demonizing Pelosi in order to bring down Hillary.


as opposed to demonizing Gingrich or Lott, or DeLay or Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld?

LOL, regardless of the candidate for 08, The Democratic speaker of the House has replaced Dean as the demonic face of the Democratic party. It's not sexist, it's basic politics. Pre-06, there were ads by the GOP featuring Pelosi, that was in a pretty much Pelosi vacuum. Now with Pelosi front and center and making an embarrassing start at it, you'll see more. It's not anti-Hillary per se. It's anti-democrat.

You want the GOP to give both a pass because they are female? Now that would be sexist.

Garage Mahal said...

I think Drill Sgt and Mickey Kaus have a healthy crush on Nancy Pelosi.

And is it just me that thinks Tom Delay looks just like Liberace?

Michiel said...

What I find intriguing is how often powerful women are referred to just by their first name. "Hillary" I can understand - calling her Clinton would be confusing - but why "Nancy"? "If Nancy does poorly, that hurts Hillary."

How about: "If Trent does poorly, that hurts Rudy." That sounds ridiculous!

The same goes for novelists: we comfortably talk about "Dickens", but "Austen" sounds strange, rude. Much rather "Jane Austen" or even "Ms. Austen", but is this not sexism, however subtle?

Internet Ronin said...

While it may be theoretically true that just because the 2 are women, it does not necessarily follow that the association is sexist, based on the commentary I have heard and read, I'm inclined to the belief that the comparison is being made solely because both are women, Pelosi will be the first female Speaker, and Clinton could become the first female President.

At the same time, while Nancy Pelosi's behavior in office really should not affect Clinton's electability because both are women (as opposed to the fact that both are Democrats), the truth is that it could affect how people vote.

By the same token, I haven't seen any articles in the press advancing the idea that how Harry Reid acts in office is going to affect John Kerry's chances (at least they are both in the same chamber) or John Edwards's chances (he was once a Senator) or even Hillary Clinton's chances.

After all, while the Speaker of the House is powerful, in the course of the average year, far more public attention is focused on the United States Senate and the majority leader there.

AJ Lynch said...

Nah not sexist; it's what they like to call a bipartisan consensus- at least that is what it looks like based on the folks quoted in the story.

It's only sexist, Ann, if you only weigh the gender issue and overlook the party and the far left lean. So you are complaining because YOU have concluded the gender is the overiding and dominant characteristic.

But, come to think of it, I don't remember Condi being judged as a woman first. Her hierarchy was black traitor, idiot pawn conservative, lesbian or Bush psuedo-wife, cold dominatrix/fashionista and lastly a brilliant, educated,qualified, expericnced person who rose from humble Alabama upbringing.

So if I were you, I would not complain about how Hillary may be treated. She's getting red carpet treatment compared to Condi and other black, female conservatives or any black conservatives for that matter.

Simon said...

Michiel said...
"What I find intriguing is how often powerful women are referred to just by their first name. 'Hillary' I can understand - calling her Clinton would be confusing - but why 'Nancy'?"

That's wrong. People refer to "Newt" and to "Rudy" as much as they do to "Hillary." If you have a distinctive first name within a field, it may well get used rather than one's surname. But in any event, in the context of this story, Coehlo probably referred to "Nancy" because he's a former colleague.

The Drill SGT said...

Ronin,

1. Who is the deFacto Leader of the Democratic party now? One can make a case for:
a. Dean, the DNC chair
b. Kerry, the failed candidate
c. Pelosi, Speaker and 3rd in Line for the Presidency
d. Byrd, soon to be President Pro Tem
e. Reid, Majority leader?

2. I seem to recall that Gingrich was the boggy man in most democratic ads during the Clinton years, why is using Pelosi unfair?

The Drill SGT said...

Simon, I was gonna make the same point, and also that

it also makes it easier to use a Newt or Rudi when the last name is either common or harder to spell than the first/nickname

Edward said...

The horribly funny thing is that Delay really believes he is helping the Republicans by talking this way.

Delay has no idea how offensive and sexist such language appears to large segment of the American electorate. Intelligent and thoughtful voters from across the political spectrum will take offense when leading Republicans talk like Delay.

The Republican Party has a huge problem with diversity issues. The paltry number of female Republican elected officials in this country is a scandal all by itself.

The Republican Party will have to remain in the minority for quite some time before people like Delay get enough sense smacked into them that they begin to think about the larger social implications of their absurdly partisan rhetoric.

It has required a decade of being smacked down at the polls by Tony Blair’s Laborites for the British Tories to begin to speak respectfully about the many diverse segments of the modern British population.

Internet Ronin said...

Gerry: As a bystander (by-reader?) to the conversation you mention, it was quite obvious to me that you did not name those three congressmen because of their color.

Like Simon, I know how this comparison is meant. In most cases I've heard so far, it has been pretty blatant, in fact. Simon's line, "if you like the next two years of a batshit crazy feminazi wacko, imagine what four years of it will be like," pretty accurately characterizes the radio commentary I've overheard.

Cedarford said...

I think it is mostly a sexist attitude by DeLay. By the same logic, any male Republican running for Congress this year was simply another corrupt bug exterminator from Podunk, Texas.

Clinton is different than Pelosi in background and temperment. Pelosi is a daughter of the Baltimore machine politics leader, of middling academic credentials, who was in politics all her life - and who places great value on ideology. Hillary came from a non-activist Republican professional family, was in the academic elite at Yale. Who was interested in politics, but in other things, too. In politics, she appears more interested in ideas and solutions. Clinton is liberal, of course, more than she tries to show - but she has shown some very admirable traits since becoming a Senator.

1. Her performance on Armed Services is described by both sides as very impressive.
2. She proved she could work not just with urban NYC and lefty suburban constituencies in NY, but has done a commendable job getting things done for Reagan Democrats and Upstate Republican residents. She is well thought of in NY not just by Democrats, but by significant numbers of Independents and Republicans.
3. She has proved she is willing to stake out conservative positions on some issues and does not cave in under pressure like Kerry.

I am a conservative, no way I will vote for her - but I am comforted knowing that she is better than I thought she was, and even if I am going to be hit with high taxes and be demonized again as a gun owner - she will likely be a better Prez than Bush.

Pelosi, on the other hand, appears to be as her critics say, a brittle ideologue, who will have real problems as San Francisco values butt up against Blue Dogs and Republicans.

No comparison between the two, other than they are females on the left. Wholly different personalities and intellectual approaches and methods.

Steve said...

And so it begins:

Thou shall not criticize Nancy Pelosi, or thou shall be labeled a sexist.

No Liberal who is a minority can ever be criticize, no matter how justly, due to them being a minority. Identity politics will be the end of us.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Several commenters are arguing that it's not sexist because you could say the same thing about any other Democratic presidential hopeful. But of course you could compare Pelosi to male Democrats; no one's denying that. The point is that Delay didn't compare Pelosi to any male Democrats.

The only possible way to redeem DeLay would be to say it's because Hillary is the frontrunner. But surely DeLay was aware of the gender connection and chose to play on unspoken stereotypes (whether it's "woman = liberal" or "woman = incompetent leader" or whatever).

Doyle said...

Steve: It's not sexist to criticize Nancy Pelosi. It's plainly sexist to assert that Pelosi can be seen as a predictor of what Hillary would be like, without substantive evidence of that.

Gerry really has a thin skin, huh? I didn't mean that you were personally a racist. Those are the same 3 names (along with Pelosi's) that were used by every right winger to scare people about a Democratic House.

I did find it a remarkable coincidence that all three of the GOP's scariest congressmen are black, but I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings.

Internet Ronin said...

Drill SGT: That's a good question. Each of them probably think he (or she) is ;-)

Look, I agree that if Joe Blow from Kokomo was Speaker of the House, whatever he does may impact any potential candidate's campaign somehow. But, I'm not personally prepared to pretend that the constant equation of these two individuals (to the exclusion of all the other players you mentioned and all the other potential Democratic presidential candidates as well) has nothing to do with the fact that they are both female. Because it obviously does.

Is that fair? Not really, but no one ever said life was fair. If Pelosi screws up will that hurt Clinton's chances worse than it will hurt others' chance? Probably. That's life. That's the real world we live in.

And in the real world, while listening and reading, I've heard enough blatant equation of the two to make a what I believe to be a reasonably informed personal decision as to what someone who won't come right out and say it meant.

Will Nancy Pelosi become the face of the Democratic opposition like Newt Gingrich did? I doubt it. Gingrich was relatively unique as Speakers of the House go. (Can you recall anything John McCormick ever said or did? Jim Wright (before the scandal)? Tom Foley? Even the loquatious Tip O'Neill didn't get as much attention as George Mitchell, as I recall. I'll wager the sum total of column inches and broadcast newstime devoted to Dennis Hastert in all the years before the Foley scandal is about equal to what he received as a result of it.)

That said, Harry Reid is not very good in front of the cameras.

Yes, Gingrich was the bogey man in the '90's. And before that O'Neill was (probably the funniest ad I ever saw was about him). So Pelosi may end up being one.

Needless to say, YMMV, and it appears that it may do significantly ;-)

Internet Ronin said...

Steve: I didn't notice anyone saying criticizing Pelosi means the critic is sexist, so hands off. Could you point to anyone who said that?

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"I did find it a remarkable coincidence that all three of the GOP's scariest congressmen are black, but I'm sorry if I hurt [Gerry's] feelings."

Well, the three scariest Democrats in Congress aren't black. They are Pelosi, Rangel and Waxman. Conyers is number four. Look, we didn't dictate who was going to be made committee chairman, so we don't get to pick their race. Rangel isn't scary because of his race, it's that he's a batshit insane liberal who now has a gavel in the Ways & Means Committee. If you think the criticism of Pelosi would be any less harsh if the incoming Speaker was Nathan Pelosi, or that the criticism of Conyers would be any less if he was blue of eye and blond of hair, you're wrong.

Internet Ronin said...

AJ: Your point about the treatment of Secretary Rice is well-taken. In my opinion, it is a disgrace that so many good people have remained silent. Same holds true for the continuing assaults on Justice Thomas.

Gahrie said...

Pelosi said at the Ms. awards ceremony that "we really will not be satisfied until we have a woman in the White House."

http://www.maynardije.org/columns/guests/030109_pelosi/

If it is OK for Pelosi to engage in gender politics, why can't delay?

AJ Lynch said...

Internet Ronin:

Ann said this and I think it's safe to assume she was accusing people of being sexist without using the word. Here is Ann's quote ..."This is a ridiculous and offensive sort of logic. The next couple years will reveal much about the way Americans think about women."

Internet Ronin said...

Simon, I don't know about you, but I think Conyers is always mentioned because he has been publicly talking about impeaching Bush since about one day after Bush took office, gets himself lots of press attention, and had that show trial of a hearing some time ago.

So his name was tossed in to scare GOP voters that they might actually impeach Bush if the Democrats took power.

PatCA said...

Well, they're the two top Dems, aren't they? I don't see it as sexist.

I think all this harping about women or others in the designated victim classes is overdone. Like today, the "first woman!" head chef at the White House in the news. I wasn't keeping track; is anyone?

Edward said...

If anyone wants prime examples of “batshit insanity,” go back and read some of Newt Gingrich’s choicer quotes from around the time he became Speaker.

Better yet, go back and read some of the outrageous things that Gingrich said when he was the firebrand leader of the Republican minority in the late 80s and early 90s.

I’ve never heard a single quote from either Pelosi or Charlie Rangel that sounds anywhere near as crazy as the worst things that Gingrich has spouted off.

Internet Ronin said...

AJ: And you take that to mean that Ann believes any criticism of Pelosi is really a manifestation of sexist behavior?

FWIW, I thought she meant that, should Clinton be judged beacuse of the independent actions of Pelosi, it would reflect poorly on society. (How can we tell if Clinton is being judged because of the actions of another woman only because they are both women? Easy. Whenever Pelosi does something, let's see who the pundits say it affects. If they ignore all the other Democratic presidential candidates, I think we have an answer, don't you?)

For those who believe these women are two peas in a pod,have you forgotten that Senator Clinton supported the War in Iraq from the beginning and Nancy Pelosi opposed it.

The Drill SGT said...

Simon said...
Well, the three scariest Democrats in Congress aren't black. They are Pelosi, Rangel and Waxman. Conyers is number four.


At the risk of being called racist as well as sexist, I'll agree with your 4 and raise you with Hastings.


changing subjects back to Newt, and Rudi, we forgot to add Dubya to the list of male nicknames used. as well as Ah-nold

changing subjects once more, Reid just isn't scarey. He's a Nevada conservative Democrat. Pelosi is a SF really liberal machine pol. She is made for horror video ads

John Althouse Cohen said...
The point is that Delay didn't compare Pelosi to any male Democrats.


You ought to ask yourself whether the headline was written based on the story or whether the story was researched and quotes gathered after the headline and storyline was chosen. It's possible that the storyline was there and the writer asked DeLay for a comparison. Certainly that seems to be what was done with Coelho. It seems they called him and asked him for comment on the topic rather than overhearing a quote or getting it from a news conference. They set the story up:

Tony Coehlo, a former Democrat whip in the House who ran Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, acknowledged his party concerns. "Even seasoned Democrats are concerned about the Republicans' ability to tar the polished Hillary by attacking Mrs Pelosi," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Internet Ronin said...

Drill SGT: Just in case it was not clear, I'm not saying it is only Republicans like DeLay who are doing this. There is no question that the mainstream media is feeding the fuel here, and there are many Democrats happy to jump on the bandwagon. It isn't about partisanship at all.

Aside: For those on the right who get so worked up at the possibility that Hillary Clinton might just become the next President of the United States, take heart that you have company: just about all the KosKids hate her as much you do and are doing everything they can to stop her. I'm sure that together, you can do it!

Edward said...

Internet ronin: I’m sure Drill Sgt absolutely loves being in bed politically with the “KosKids.”

AJ Lynch said...

IR:
Let me clarify - you were defending Ann by saying she would NEVER claim citicisim of Pelosi WAS PURELY due to sexism.

I am saying Ann (in her post) has seemingly elevated gender to the highest evaluating denominator and therefore claims that criticsm of Pelosi when also equated to Hillary is sexist (again per Ann).

IMHO, in this case, Ann has surprisingly stooped to that level and that is unlike her. But, I suspect she will feel differently in the morning. Opera can have that effect on a woman.

Internet Ronin said...

Edward: The truth is that part of the comment was labeled as "Aside" and directed at others reading it because I have no idea what Drill SGT thinks about Senator Clinton.

Internet Ronin said...

AJ: I've read her words, and the quotes, over and over again. It just doesn't add up to that for me:

"Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like."

"If Nancy does poorly, that hurts Hillary. That's really unfair, but that's what everyone thinks.

"If Pelosi comes across as not ready for prime time, that's going to hamstring Hillary. Fair or not, people can't help but make that comparison… Even Hillary's people are recognising that their fates are linked."


Ann's comment:

This is a ridiculous and offensive sort of logic. The next couple years will reveal much about the way Americans think about women.


Gosh, those statements all seem very straightforward to me.

(As does the intent of the piece, for that matter.)

JimNtexas said...

Frankly, what I hear Ann saying is "Those mean boys better stop picking on those poor girls or I'm going to tell the teacher!".

Ann's comment is far more demeaning to women than Delay's.

downtownlad said...

It's so obviously sexist. Is that even up for debate?

But so what. It is smart politics.

reader_iam said...

I think J.A.C. brought up (in 8:26 comment) a dead-on question to ask. It's what I wondered about this story (as I do often about stories like it) due to my own background.

Here's the other thing: I don't really want to hear from Tom Delay OR Tony Coehlo, people about whom I have a deep skepticism from the git-go. I'd have to get over that even before the issue you bring up, Ann (though that doesn't mean I'm pooh-poohing it).

Good grief: Why DeLay and Coelho? I'm at least a quarter-tempted if someone, somewhere, isn't indulging an obscure sense of humor. Or is just out of touch. Or something.

reader_iam said...

"... a quarter-tempted to wonder ..."

Internet Ronin said...

ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO #1:

"Two years of Reid gives a good idea of what four years of Evan will be like."

"If Harry does poorly, that hurts Evan. That's really unfair, but that's what everyone thinks.

"If Reid comes across as not ready for prime time, that's going to hamstring Evan. Fair or not, people can't help but make that comparison… Even Evan's people are recognising that their fates are linked."

[Evan= Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana]

ALTERNATIVE #2

"Two years of Reid gives a good idea of what four years of Mitt will be like."

"If Harry does poorly, that hurts Mitt. That's really unfair, but that's what everyone thinks.

"If Reid comes across as not ready for prime time, that's going to hamstring Mitt. Fair or not, people can't help but make that comparison… Even Mitt's people are recognising that their fates are linked."

[Both Harry Reid & MA Gov. Mitt Romney are pro-life Mormons. Reid is the first Mormon to run a house of Congress.]

Seven Machos said...

I'm kind of struggling with this. In your gut, do you really not think that Pelosi and Clinton seem to have roughly the same political outlook and the same management style? Certainly, the massive failure in foisting socialist heahtcare on America is tactically similar to the massive failure to instate Murtha as Majority Leader.

I see your point from an abstract logical perspective, Ann Althouse, but I wonder if it is correct in this particular instance. Let's try this thought experiment: how come people have not been saying the same thing about Condoleeza Rice? Would people say the same thing if the Speaker of the House were Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo) or, say, (heaven forfend) Elizabeth Dole?

I think there are some personal similarities that go beyond gender here, and I think you are being too theoretical if you don't address them.

Internet Ronin said...

Good grief: Why DeLay and Coelho?

Because the reporter still has them on speed-dial?

Because they were all in a bar talking and the reporter remembered a forgotten deadline?

Because they miss the action and are desperate to get their names in the paper?

Good question, yours. (I'm not quite half-tempted, but more than quarter-tempted, so let's say one-third tempted to ask ... then again. let's not ;-)

Dave said...

Delay is playing to stereotypes. The Republicans have been trying for years to paint Hillary as part of the hard left. It generally hasn't worked. Tying her to a WOMAN and a DEMOCRAT who is closer to the hard left is just another stab at it.

Who knows? John Boehner's leadership might signal what the next Republican presidency would be like. Or maybe not.

Internet Ronin said...

Just for the record here, folks. Until just a while ago, I had no idea that I was presumed to be somehow defending Ann. It wasn't my intent to defend Ann. She is quite capable of doing that job herself. I have been expressing my opinion of the article and her comments.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the reality is that they are right - that a lot of whatever Pelosi does wrong will tar Hillary. Republicans don't have to do anything here - it will happen by itself.

You have two fairly shrill liberal females, one with a lot of power, and the other one trying to get it. It is just human nature to look to the one to see how well the other will be able to do. It is stereotyping of the worst sort - i.e. it is human nature.

But I don't see this as any worse than tarring the entire Republican House leadership with Foley. It is guilt by association, pure and simple. At least Ann is not a hypocrite here - I believe that she opposed that too.

But I think that more important than the Republican response here is that the Democrats are likely to do as badly, if not worse. I don't think that Pelosi is going to be a good face for the Democratic Party for the next two years, and have predicted from well before the Democrats won the House that they would lose it in 2008 because of her and her committee chairs. And it is that that I think will ultimately drive the Democrats away from Hillary - the worry that their presidential asperations will go down in smoke along with the House, if they nominate Hillary. Rather, because of Pelosi, I expect them to nominate an anti-Hillary, like Edwards.

It is not that the country isn't ready for a woman president, but rather, that I don't think that we are ready for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, 3rd in line for the presidency, etc.

Of course, she could surprise us all by her ability to do the job effectively. But so far, she is coming across as shrill, very liberal, unwilling to compromise, and incompetent. For one thing, she will be tied to those committee chairmen she has put in place, regardless of justification (why is Harmon the only ranking member she is jumping over? Is it being beholden to the CBC? Or just a personal vendetta? Neither looks good). And note that since she is jumping over Harmon, then she can't later argue that she was just following seniority rules. Rather, by doing that, she is overriding seniority, and these are her people. She is going to be just as responsible as Conyers, for example, for miring the next two years in continuous hearings over rediculous matters. (And just as O'Neil shut down the Abscam hearings against Murtha, does anyone doubt that he could have shut down Conyers if he wanted to?)

jaed said...

For those on the right who get so worked up at the possibility that Hillary Clinton might just become the next President of the United States, take heart that you have company: just about all the KosKids hate her as much you do and are doing everything they can to stop her. I'm sure that together, you can do it!

If the Kossacks hate Hillary, she is a shoe-in to win. There's not even any point in conservatives joining up with Kos to defeat her. Her victory is ordained by a fate stronger than any political endorsement.

More seriously, I'm inclined to believe the theory that the story was already written and Sherwell went around asking for quotes to support it, and these two happened to be the first two called/available/producing the pithiest quotes. As far as I can tell it's the way most analysis pieces (and a lot of straight reporting pieces) are written: start with the story line, then write the story, then find quotes to put into the prepared slots left open in the story.

So if this is sexist in some way, I'm not sure whether we're talking about the sexism of Delay or of the journalists. For my money, referring to a politician powerful in her own right as "the First Lady of American politics" is sexist in itself, as though no woman can be powerful other than as the wife of a politician. Perhaps being British they should get a pass on this.

Anonymous said...

Professor Althouse:

With all due respect - and with apologies for being blunt - I think the next two years are going to say a lot about whether women in politics take themselves seriously enough not to play the 'I have a vagina and you don't' card when faced with robust political criticism.

Let's get real for a moment: I think rational centerist voters are perfectly cogisant of the fact Hilary Clinton and Nancy Perlosi are women, and don't really care. What remains to be seen is whether enough of them believe that Rep. Perlosi and Sen. Clinton are far-leftists in centerist drag. (Whoops... was I sending a coded message that they're not "real women" at all? No, but if that's the subtext you want to project on my words that's your problem.) De Lay obviously thinks so, and I happen to believe he's wrong - but I'm just not seeing the sexism here.

reader_iam said...

The next couple years will reveal much about the way Americans think about women.

And one "empirical" "measure" might be to track how much of a comeback the word shrill makes, in what contexts (and not) and with regard to whom (and not).

Ooh, sorry. Is this comment too bitchy?

hdhouse said...

not admitting that either senator clinton or representative pelosi are "shrill"..whatever the heck that means..

but if it is a toss up be shrill and dumb, sell spoken and idiotic, and above all honest and crooked, i think i'll stick with clinton and pelosi thank you. i've had quite enough of the GOP and its lineup of criminals..but then i guess the country has too.

Seven Machos said...

hd -- You are the very defintion of shrill.

Garage Mahal said...

If she is judged by her predecessors, she might only need not get indicted to come out on top.

Who would you trust your daughter with?

Newt Gingrich
Denny Hastert
Tom Delay
Nancy Pelosi

Seven Machos said...

Who would you trust your daughter with?

Glad to see Garage Mahal doesn't make sexist comments. It's okay as long as you are a lefty, though, right, G?

Zeb Quinn said...

How is Hillary like Pelosi?

Yes, they are both women. Okay. Now, with that stated, can you think of any other attribute they share? [Cue the Final Jeopardy theme]

Yeppers, they are both ultra liberal women, with a very similar ideology tending seriously towards socialism. That's how Nancy taints Hillary. A variation of guilt by association.

It isn't sexist because it doesn't stretch to all women. Just to Hillary. Condi Rice, for instance, won't be diminished by Nancy's performance. Just Hillary.

Now Ann, stop looking for the sexist bogeyman under every bed. You better than that.

Internet Ronin said...

Ooh, sorry. Is this comment too bitchy?

LOL! You?

And one "empirical" "measure" might be to track how much of a comeback the word shrill makes


It has had quite a run-up in usage the past couple of weeks, but we would need lexis/nexis or something to be accurate in our data. Then again, impressions matter than facts these days, so feel free to use your (dare I say it?) feminine intuition and I'll go gaily forward and we can compare notes at regular intervals. Deal?

PatCA said...

I also thought the remarks in the article clearly referred to Pelosi's first week loss, re the Murtha brouhaha.

And if it's sexist to link these two women politically, is it sexist for Pelosi to remind everyone she's a grandmother every time she opens her mouth? I would say yes.

Revenant said...

My gut reaction is that DeLay was comparing Clinton and Pelosi because they're both women, which would make the comment sexist.

I just don't see what the parallel is between the two. The Clinton/Gore comparison doesn't really work, since they were part of a ticket. Clinton and Pelosi are, if anything, rivals within their party, and are pretty significantly different from one another within the context of Democratic Party politics.

Maybe DeLay sees some parallel between the two that I don't.

Revenant said...

Who would you trust your daughter with? [Newt Gingrich, Denny Hastert, Tom Delay, Nancy Pelosi]

I'd trust her with any of them, if I had one. Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, not so much.

Shanna said...

At this point, Pelosi is in a very high position and has all eyes on her. If she boffs the next two years, this will reflect badly on any democratic candidate for President. And Hillary is the presumptive favorite right now so, strategically, I don't think it's wrong to say that Pelosi actions could hurt Hillary.

However, I do think there is some amount of tying them together because they are women too.

It will hurt Hillary if Pelosi appears to be engaging in the worst type of stereotypical behavior for women in power and it may end up reflecting badly on women in general, at least in politics, for years to come.

What will hurt Hillary most is the fact that the last time she tried to manage something she failed horribly. She may be a good senator for New York, but she would be a rotten president, I think.

When are the dem's going to wise up and nominate a midwestern or southern governor? I think they're afraid they would look soft on National Security or something, but these Senatorial candidates never seem to work out.

Liam Colvin said...

I'm 100% behind Ann's analysis of Delay's comments if and only if I don't hear or see any comments about women politicians governing either better or differently due to the fact that they are women. Particularly out of the women politician's mouth. Things like this for instance: http://www.now.org/press/11-06/11-08.html

Oh, and by the way: I also don't want to hear Pelosi refered to as "a grandmother" again either. Like that has anything to do with her role as Speaker.

paul a'barge said...

Come on. This has nothing to do with women. This has to do with high-profile members of the Democrat party in very close orbit to the Presidency.

Pointing out Hillary's linkage with San Francisco Values is fair game. Hillary's mask has to come off at some point.

hdhouse said...

hmmm out of curiousity...when gingrich popped up as speaker did he want tom delay as the majority leader? nope? hmmmmm

i just think you guys may have forgotten that one.

i don't think many of you fear pelosi as much as you fear women in power.

Simon said...

HDhouse,
Given that many of the leading conservative contenders for Supreme Court nominations were women - Diane Sykes, Karen Williams, Janice Rogers Brown and Edith Clement, to name but four - and given that there was (and maybe still is) a movement to draft Condi Rice to be President, I think you're off your medication if you really believe that.

Anonymous said...

hmmm out of curiousity...when gingrich popped up as speaker did he want tom delay as the majority leader? nope? hmmmmm

And was Gingrich dumb enough to put himself into that leadership race - and get slapped down - as publicly as Perlosi did? Nope? Hummm... If that's the leadership and strategic smarts the Democrats can expect from their leadership over the next two years, I suspect Tylenol sales around Capitol Hill are going to climb dramatically. :)

chickenlittle said...

Well I for one hope they do hurt each other. An elected democratic president in 2008 coupled with an incumbent (and presumably more powerful)democratic speaker and congress is not my idea of a recipe for progress. Didn't the election just show that people don't like power concentrated in one party?

Mortimer Brezny said...

I don't think the logic is: "They're both women."

Nor do I think the logic is: "They're both prominent women in the Democratic Party."

I think the logic is: "They're both prominent women in the Democratic Party and Nancy gets to blaze the trail and hog the national spotlight for two years prior to Hillary's run. If she creates all sorts of terrible press for herself, that will harm Hillary's campaign two-years from now because every story will begin with a reference to the fact that Hillary is the first serious female Presidential candidate and a comparison to the only benchmark for women ascending to high office: Nancy Pelosi, who has been Speaker of the House for the last 2 years."

It's only sexist to compare the two if you think we should ignore the benchmark in the first place.

hdhouse said...

""Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like.""

Two years of Howdy Doody gives a good idea of what 6 years of George Bush will be like.

Two years of Alfred E. Neuman gives a good idea of what 6 years of George Bush will look like.

Two years of Rush Limbaugh gives a good idea of how shallow 6 years of George Bush will be.

Two years of Dick Cheney gives a good idea of what 1 second of hell will be like.

Nancy and Hillary are both female democrats. All Democrat females are shrill and incompetent. All females who play this silly game are shrill and incompetent.