Yesterday, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, (D-R-D, PA), was on a Philadelphia radio station debating Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. During the course of their discussion on economic development and job creation, Senator Specter rudely cut off the discussion by patronizingly yelling the following at Congresswoman Bachmann, a federal tax attorney: “I’m going to treat you like a lady. Now act like one!”
To her credit, Congresswoman Bachmann politely sidestepped this rude and degrading comment by the 80-year old Senator and continued to discuss the topic at hand.
It’s hard to imagine the outrage that would have occurred from liberals across the county if a conservative shouted those same words at, say, Speaker Pelosi. Or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The outcry from the highest elected officials in this country would be deafening. The main-stream media would editorialize on how conservatives have degraded our political process with their “over the top, right wing rhetoric.” Uber-liberal political commentators like Keith Olbermann would devote their entire show to a discussion with the aggrieved and how this type of “hate speech” is typical of Republican elected officials. Predictably, the main stream media, liberal blogs and the talking heads on cable news shows would marginalize the offender, reducing them to the lowest level of the political caste system. The well-orchestrated outrage from all sources would be deafening. Ultimately the accused would decline to run for re-election. Interestingly, this would occur to any conservative who behaved as badly as Senator Specter, regardless of their acts of attrition.
In this case, however, those same rules don’t apply. There has been no apology from Senator Specter. I can’t find any editorials saying that Specter and his degradation of women went too far. And when blogs and other alternative media have commented on this outrageous outburst, the assumption is that Congresswoman Bachmann had it coming.
And so today, I’m sending a check to the Pat Toomey campaign to help him retire Senator Specter. It’s the very least I can do to further encourage smart women like Congresswoman Bachmann to stay in the political arena and to stop the hypocrisy. Isn’t that what the women’s movement was supposed to be all about?