My thoughts exactly:
Trigger warnings, safe spaces, rape culture, gamergate, etc. isn't about protecting anyones bubble, it's about making everyone else shut up.
— RockPrincess (@Rockprincess818) May 12, 2015
I don’t get the chance to blog as much as I used to, but today I felt compelled to write after months of reading feminists launch ridiculous nationwide movements decrying America’s so-called “rape culture”, a culture they – get this – say “promotes” the belief that rape is “acceptable” and should be tolerated. Feminists have even gone so far as to accuse those in favor (gasp!) of due process for college men accused of sexual assaults of being “pro-rape”, while at the same time suggesting that the “default” position for anyone listening to a woman accuse a man of rape is to believe it without question. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. The accuser should be given the benefit of the doubt without hesitation, while the accused should be punished in the court of public opinion before he has a chance to make his case at trial.
Last I checked, this wasn’t how the system was supposed to work.
The latest “rape culture” grenade thrown by feminists is over the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. From the Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A U.S. senator is among those condemning a rape scene on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
In a comment tweeted Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill described the sexual assault as “gratuitous” and “disgusting.” The Democratic lawmaker from Missouri said she was done with the show.
Others critics included the website The Mary Sue, which offers a feminist view of pop culture. The website posted that it would no longer promote “Game of Thrones” and said that rape is not a device to drive a story.
HBO declined comment Tuesday on the reaction to the episode that debuted last Sunday. An after-hours call to McCaskill’s office seeking further comment was not immediately returned.
The attack involved newly married characters Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, and Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon. Ramsay’s rape of Sansa was off-camera, suggested in her cries and the distress on a bystander’s face.
Sidenote: Incredibly amusing that the self-important Senator from Missouri couldn’t be bothered to tweet her comments about the “offensive” episode until a full 24 hours or more after the outrage started. Can you say “bandwagon”, anyone? But I digress.
I confess: I don’t watch the show. I don’t have HBO. I’m not sure I’d watch it even if I did. But I find all the pearl-clutching over this episode to be embarrassing for women, as if we’re supposed to be delicate little snowflakes who should be shielded from the realities of… fictional rape. It happens. It’s been used as a “plot device” in books, TV shows, and movies for as long as those mediums have existed and, in the case of GoT, my understanding from fans who are both viewers of the shows and readers of the books, what’s depicted on HBO (which has included incestuous rape and penis-severing) is actually a very sanitized version of what takes place in the books – and that includes the various rapes that have been shown to “shocked” feminist viewers.
My questions to the McCaskills and other feel-good left wing narcissists of the world are these: If you’ve read the books, how can you dare even make such complaints about the show? And if you’ve read the books, why would you watch it if you were worrying about so-called “triggers” that might upset your delicate sensibilities? And even if you haven’t read the books, why would you sit through the series for five seasons silently even though the pilot episode from season one included a rape scene?
None of us have to wait for answers to these questions because it’s hiding in plain sight: Feminists and their ilk have become the modern-day thought police, using a combination of shame tactics, obedient group-think, and mindless mob-rule to shut down dissent. Noah C. Rothman described this in a brilliant piece yesterday at Commentary Magazine:
….The mechanisms through which the vulnerable are shielded from discomforting thought develop over the course of decades. The process often begins imperceptibly, but the trained eye can see it in its nascent stages. It is the application of that perspective that renders Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s ostensibly fatuous and self-serving condemnation of Game of Thrones so dangerous.
In service to the new demands associated with a culture of “social justice,” a concept distinct from objective justice, Missouri’s U.S. Senator castigated the HBO drama for daring to depict the unseemly aspects of life; namely, sexual assault. “Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” McCaskill wrote on her Twitter account. “[S]tupid. Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.”
This casual admonition would be easily dismissed if running afoul of the ever-evolving concepts of social justice did not have dire career consequences for the accused. Livelihoods have been lost for offending the sensibilities of the left’s culture warriors, even years after the supposed offense has occurred.
And not only have livelihoods been lost by some for daring to be different, for daring to challenge left wing “social justice” narratives, but college life for some young men (falsely*) accused of sexual assault without the benefit of a trial have been one giant experience in humiliation, degradation, and ostracization via wars waged upon them by self-serving left wing “culture warriors” who are really no more than modern day digital/verbal lynch mob types who need no evidence whatsoever before publicly convicting a man based on nothing more than preconceived notions and prejudices. And if you dare see some merit to the arguments of the accused? The mob then becomes relentless.
It’s frightening, really, when you think about it. Our country has “been there” before on this disturbing and dangerous type of mentality, and it’s extremely troubling to see it rear its ugly head again, even if in a much different modern form. Fortunately, it’s the 21st century, and there are various platforms in existence now that help question narratives and facts, and shine sunlight on people, places, things – and accusations – that seem suspect, much to the dismay of self-designated enforcers who have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of what we should think, feel, believe, watch, do.
For people calling themselves “progressives”, I find their tactics rather regressive – in many ways, and in effect they’ve become the types of activists which they claim to abhor. Don’t you think?
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) April 7, 2015
Right-o, because women aren’t students, veterans, etc …. #derp
**Posted by Phineas
(Credit: Michael Ramirez)
“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Richard Nixon (1970)
(Preface: I should clarify something from the start — I am not a religious person. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I haven’t been to a Mass for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over 35 years. While I respect the Church (and most other faiths) and the opinions of the faithful (Well, most of them), I feel no need or urge to go to church on Sundays or offer up my voice in prayer; the existence or not of God is not of great importance to me, though I don’t doubt that God exists in some form. Neither atheist nor agnostic, perhaps the best description for me is “apatheist.” I just don’t care.
What I do care about passionately, however, is the promise of the American Revolution, the political and social settlement represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedom of all decent people to live their lives as they see fit without fear of being picked on or persecuted for who they are. What I write below should be read in that context.)
What happened in Indiana over the last week was an utter, damnable disgrace, and a good portion of this nation should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a digital lynch mob.
How did this start? A bit over a week ago, the Indiana legislature passed a bill, similar to a federal act and laws in 19 other states, allowing defendants in lawsuits, including those brought by non-governmental actors, to offer religious belief as a defense when accused of discrimination. It was not a “safe harbor” or anything that precluded a suit or encouraged discrimination. A court still had to determine whether the professed religious defense was outweighed by a pressing state need. Its only purpose was to provide a possible shield to those who felt their religious beliefs were being trampled. (Further essential reading.)
The reaction to the bill made one wonder if Indiana hadn’t opened death camps for gays.
The hysteria generated by progressive reactionaries and other fools who I’m sure didn’t read the bill was appalling to behold. Monumental hypocrites such as Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook roundly denounced Indiana for bigotry against gays and for denying their rights… while Apple makes iPhones in Communist China and sells them in Iran, where gays are regularly murdered by the state for being gay. Other ignoramuses called for the NCAA basketball tournament to be moved from Indiana next year, or ran to the microphones to condemn Indiana while pretending their own state’s RFRA didn’t exist..
Eventually the pressure from the howling horde of progressive corporate execs, the MSM, and “activists” proved too much for the cowardly lions in the Indiana legislature and their jelly-spined governor, and they amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to gut its provisions. The mob had won, and the democratic will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives was left beaten and bleeding in a back alley. If that were the end of it, it would be bad enough.
But it wasn’t.
During the week of furor over Indiana’s RFRA, a “reporter” at ABC’s Channel 57 affiliate in Indiana, Alyssa Marino, went looking for
devout Christians mouth-breathing, hate-filled homophobes who would refuse service to homosexuals.
And she found them at Memories Pizza
You can read Scott Ott’s report on how the media created the Hell that was about to descend on the O’Connors, owners of “Memories.” But I want to point out one especially egregious example, a tale of two headlines:
The top is the first headline to run over Marino’s story, and below is the “corrected” version. See the enormous difference between the two? The first claims the O’Connors declared a blanket denial of service to gays. Pretty despicable, right? The later limits that to catering a gay wedding. (And who would order pizza for a wedding, anyway?) But, here’s the kicker: Marino’s question to Crystal O’Connor was wholly hypothetical! There was no gay couple seeking pizza for their wedding. Marino has simply walked in and asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if…?” O’Connor then made the mistake of answering honestly: gays would be welcome to eat at the restaurant, presumably also to get takeout or delivery, but that her business would decline to cater a wedding because it would require them to participate in an activity that went against their Christian faith. Again, a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. The hypothetical gay couple could then go to another pizza parlor for catering, which would profit.
No. This was the crime of “wrong thought,” and for that the O’Connors became vragi naroda, “enemies of the people.” Thanks to the media and the firestorm ignited on the Internet, Memories Pizza’s social media presence was attacked, and threats of violence, arson, and even death were received. It got so bad the O’Connors closed their shop and went into hiding. While through the efforts of Dana Loesch and her crew at The Blaze TV, the O’Connors more then recouped their losses (1), one has to ask: Did they really deserve this for simply holding an opinion not popular with our media and urban elites?
Of course not! What happened to Memories Pizza and to the Indiana government was disgusting: Thinking they had found their new Emmanuel Goldstein, the ignorant, reactionary Left began with a ritual Two Minutes Hate and ran with it until it became nearly a sexual ecstasy of rage. The state government was intimidated, a couple was left in fear for their lives, and the rights of people to freedom of conscience and freedom of association were torn apart in a political Bacchanalia.
There is a sickness in our body politic, one brought about by the authoritarian Left the late Senator Moynihan cited at the start of this article. One key component of the American settlement is the idea of political and religious tolerance, that we can all hold different beliefs –and we don’t have to like those beliefs or even each other– but not be punished for them. Our English forebears, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, experienced just that sort of oppression and came to a New World to escape it. Later it was the Jews fleeing persecution in Europe; a letter from President Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island eloquently describes that idea:
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
Emphases added. Washington, I’m almost certain, would be nauseated by what happened this last week.
What the authoritarian Left is doing strikes at the heart of the American settlement by refusing to honor the “liberty of conscience” we have long made room for in this land. Remember the conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War era (and earlier wars), who refused to engage in combat because of religious objections? Then, the Left lionized them as heroes. Would they now be spat upon because they used religion as a defense? It was for moments like these, when the power of the State impinges on the deeply felt religious beliefs of people, whether in matters of war or simply participating in a wedding, that Congress passed nearly unanimously and President Clinton signed the federal RFRA, and the states followed with their own.
But the Left leaves no room for dissent, unless it is dissent they approve of. All others are not just disapproved of, but must be actively harassed and punished until they publicly recant and think right thoughts, like some Maoist “struggle session.”
I’m going to close with a long quote from attorney Kurt Schlichter, who served many years in the Army, including Kosovo, where he saw first hand what happened when the consensus of tolerance broke down:
Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.
Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.
Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.
That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind.
Read the whole thing.
The Left is discarding the rule of law for the rule of force, substituting the power of the mob for the “immunities of citizenship,” and while you may think it silly to compare America to Kosovo, it may also be that Col. Schlichter has simply reconnoitered farther down the road they want us to walk and seen where it ends.
“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”
And we should, still.
(1) Fair disclosure: I was one of the donors and was honored to do so.
RELATED: The Power Line podcast has an excellent discussion of the Indiana situation, and RFRAs in general, with law professor John Yoo.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
In my latest at IJReview, I noted NC’s GOP Governor Pat McCrory has signaled he doesn’t think such laws are necessary for this state. In fact, he indicated Monday he would veto in its current form a bill currently under consideration in the GOP-led state legislature that would give magistrates the option to opt out of performing a gay wedding ceremony if they feel it violates their religious faith.
“What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory asked during Monday’s broadcast of WFAE’s Charlotte Talks program.
North Carolina’s proposed version of the RFRA was introduced last week in both the state House and Senate. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday that the bill deserved careful consideration in terms of how passage could impact NC’s “brand”:
RALEIGH – As opposition to a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act appeared to grow, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore Tuesday signaled that lawmakers will take a hard look at its potential fallout.
Moore called an unusual, impromptu news conference in his office to say the House will be deliberate as it considers the bill.
He said while the bill is important to a number of House Republicans, the session’s primary goals are job creation and improving roads and education. He said he wants to find out how the religious freedom legislation accomplishes those objectives and what it does to improve North Carolina’s “brand.”
“I think we need to show that if we approve this bill, that it will improve North Carolina’s brand,” he said. “Anything we do, we have to make sure we don’t harm our brand.”
Moore alluded to the current backlash in Indiana after GOP Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill into law.
Major industries, including Eli Lilly and Co., have urged Indiana officials to change the law so it can’t be used to justify discrimination. The head of the NCAA, scheduled to hold its Final Four this weekend in Indianapolis, said the law “strikes at the core values of what higher education in America is all about.”
Moore noted that Indiana is feeling repercussions from passage of its religious freedom law. He’s met with business leaders, and North Carolina’s bill has come up.
Another Republican in the House, Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Huntersville) gave off the distinct impression that he wouldn’t support such legislation:
GOP Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville said the N.C. proposal differs from the federal law in another respect.
“The difference is how it’s intended to be applied,” Jeter said. “And while some people may not like it, society grows over time. I think this (proposal) is specific to the homosexual issues, the same-sex issues, the gender issues.”
Jeter said existing laws already protect religious freedom.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R) doesn’t sound too enthused about the issue, either:
So, would the North Carolina’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act measures, which have been filed in both the House and the Senate, contribute to that economic boom?
“I think what we’ve done over the past four years would be the thing that has put us in a position where our economy is performing most other states,” said Berger, R-Rockingham. “I think what we are going to be focused on, as we have been over the past four years, is doing things that will move us in that direction. That means we’re going to deal with economic development, continuing tax reform, our regulatory climate, all of those kinds of things.”
So, it doesn’t sound like the RFRA is part of that group, does it?
“It’s been filed. A decision will be made as to whether or not we move it forward,” Berger said.
Everything at this point that happens with this type of legislation here in North Carolina needs to be viewed through the post-passage-of-the-Indiana-law prism. As I wrote on Twitter last night:
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) March 31, 2015
Simply put, GOP leaders in North Carolina are are already giving off vibes that they no longer want to deal with the hassle of trying to defend themselves and their state in front of a national audience as they’ve had to do over the last couple of years, thanks to the left’s relentless targeting and bullying of their reform agenda, this time over a law that some of them clearly fear could have a negative impact on our still-recovering local economy if the boycotts threats begin.
Color me a bit disappointed so far by what I’m hearing. BUT, as they say, stay tuned….
**Posted by Phineas
This item has been sitting in my files for a while (1), but, since we’re deep into tax season, it’s still relevant — especially so for people relying on that federal subsidy to help pay for their “affordable” health care:
As many as 3.4 million people who received Obamacare subsidies may owe refunds to the federal government, according to an estimate by a tax preparation firm.
H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“The ACA is going to result in more confusion for existing clients, and many taxpayers may well be very disappointed by getting less money and possibly even owing money,” the president of a tax preparation and education school told the Journal.
While the Affordable Care Act fines those who don’t have health insurance, it also provides subsidies for people making up to four times the federal poverty line ($46,680).
But the subsidies are based on past tax returns, so many people may be receiving too much, according to Vanderbilt University assistant professor John Graves, who projects the average subsidy is $208 too high, the Journal reports.
If, like a lot of people, you’re used to getting some sort of a refund, you probably already have an idea of how much you expect and how you plan to spend it. Imagine then how happy these many millions of people will be when they’re told they’re either getting less of a refund, or that they in fact owe money. And, on top of that, their subsidy for the next year will almost certainly be lower, so even more of their money will go to the insurance companies by force of law for coverage that probably isn’t as good as they had before, or at least isn’t what was promised.
That, my friends, is a recipe for angry voters. And, oh, there’s a presidential election warming up, too. Fancy that.
If anything good comes of this fiasco, it will probably be the hard-learned lesson that government is poorly equipped to do more than a certain few tasks and running a huge, massively complicated healthcare system isn’t among them.
Call it another “teachable moment.”
(1) Ancient by Internet standards — a whole month!
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
This morning I find myself in the very rare position of being able to say I’m proud of our First Lady. Why? Read on:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — For first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.
Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs. Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long, brightly colored jacket — but no headscarf.
Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab. But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.
As a delegation of dozens of Saudi officials — all men — greeted the Obamas in Riyadh, some shook hands with Mrs. Obama. Others avoided a handshake but acknowledged the first lady with a nod as they passed by.
The Washington Post reports that Mrs. Obama’s actions caused an uproar among Saudi women on social media:
Barack Obama was in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay his respects to the late Saudi King Abdullah. His visit, for which he cut short a much-hyped trip to India, underscores how important the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains to the American leadership. On social media, however, much of the attention has focused on something else: His wife’s attire.
More than 1,500 tweets using the hashtag #?????_??????_???? (roughly, #Michelle_Obama_immodesty) were sent Tuesday, many of which criticized the first lady. Some users pointed out that on a recent trip to Indonesia, Michelle had worn a headscarf. Why not in Saudi Arabia?
The response wasn’t entirely negative — Ahram Online notes that some Twitter users said Michelle shouldn’t be criticized too much, it being a short, impromptu trip and all. Saudi state television did show images of Michelle and her uncovered head, despite some claims that they had digitally obscured her (a widely circulated video with the first lady entirely blurred seems to have been an amateur production).
The headscarf thing wasn’t the only issue some Saudis took with the First Lady’s attire, as Josh Rogin with Bloomberg View notes:
The alleged blurring wasn’t the only controversy. Some Arab media outlets criticized Michelle Obama for wearing a blue dress, rather than a black one.
Politico points out other First Ladies (and former First Ladies) have been known to throw aside the headscarf as well:
In 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Abdullah in New York, she did not cover her face or hair. Nor did then-first lady Laura Bush during a 2006 visit with Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.
American women: Rebels, with a clue. Sometimes.
The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak has an unintentionally hilarious piece on the state of La Clinton’s “pre-campaign” hires and how the current “all-white, all-male” cast has Democrat strategists hitting the panic button:
Hillary Clinton’s pre-presidential campaign has made some high-profile hires recently—but all of them, so far, are white males. And Democrats have noticed.
Does Hillary Clinton need binders full of women?
Some Democrats, particularly women and people of color, think so.
In interviews with The Daily Beast, nearly a dozen Democrats, said they were worried Clinton’s hires for the top echelons of her pre-campaign haven’t taken gender and racial diversity into account.
Their concern started after early leaks about heavy hitters recruited for the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s proto-campaign all had two distinct things in common: they were white and male.
“Democrats need a leader that can bring together races and nationalities, especially now and especially to win. That starts at the top of the campaign, and Hillary Clinton will need to demonstrate that level of commitment to set the right tone and strategy going forward” said Aimee Allison, senior VP at PowerPAC+, a group founded by major Democratic donor Steve Phillips to build the “political power of the multiracial majority.”
The situation is altogether more jarring, several Democrats interviewed said, when one considers 2008 Hillary’s campaign manager was Patti Solis Doyle, the first Hispanic woman to manage a presidential campaign.
One operative quipped that the top levels of the campaign are in danger of looking like “white dudefest 2016.”
And it gets even better. Read on:
The Democrats who spoke to The Daily Beast didn’t want to be named for a variety of reasons: some were trying to land campaign positions in the 2016 election cycle, or their bosses are expected to support Hillary, or they feared retribution and wanted to speak freely.
The frustrations over racial and gender diversity are especially acute among those staffers who worked on the most recent Obama campaign. Many of them found that women and minority staffers were not elevated to the very top rungs of the campaign structure—nor did they receive nearly enough credit for its eventual success.
One post-campaign retrospective from Rolling Stone drew particular ire—it pointed out ten of the Obama campaign’s ‘real heroes,’ nine of whom were men.
The question of diversity Clinton could face was handled improperly by Obama in the last election cycle, said a strategist who worked on the president’s reelection campaign.
“On these historic campaigns, where you’re trying to change the very image of what the word ‘president’ evokes, what you think of when you think of the word ‘president,’ the leadership was pretty male, pretty white,” she said.
Not exactly a surprise when you consider the White House won’t even practice what it preaches when it comes to one of their pet issues: “equal pay.” As always, it’s “do as I say and not as I do” with Democrats – no matter the issue, really.
And related to “Hillary 2016″ talk, Mike Allen at Politico has a good read on her (predicted) future political plans, and talked to numerous Democrats “close to the Clintons” who say she will officially launch her second campaign for President in April and that massive preparation is underway in advance of the expected announcement. The article also says Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), long speculated to be running and who could have quite possibly been Hillary’s toughest competition in the primaries, “is making no behind-the-scenes preparations” – so apparently Warren was serious when she said she had no plans to run.
As they say, stay tuned, because there’s never a dull moment when it comes to the Clinton political machine … nor the media’s love/hate relationship with Bill and Hill.
WILSON, N.C. — Thom Tillis, the Republican running for a North Carolina Senate seat that could well decide the majority in the Senate, has been pilloried since last week’s debate by Democrats who see him as a condescending “man-splainer” who played into gender stereotypes.
But in his first comments on the controversy, the Republican state House speaker was unrepentant in a sit-down interview on the campaign trail, chalking up the firestorm to Democrats playing gender politics to boost Sen. Kay Hagan.“It’s just silly,” he said during a lunch stop this weekend with supporters over barbecue, fried oysters and chicken livers. “We’re talking about the future of the greatest nation on the earth, and this is what we’re going to?”
In a state that’s become ground zero this cycle for Democrats “war on women” strategy, the debate served as a flashpoint. There’s no race in the country where the gender gap is more pronounced than North Carolina — a must-win state for both parties. Democratic women’s groups Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List have already announced their biggest 2014 investments will be in the Tar Heel State, where there are 500,000 more women registered to vote than men.
Polls have shown the race locked in a dead heat even with the wide gender gap. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll — conducted in August, before the first debate — had Hagan up 18 points among female voters and Tillis leading by 12 points among men.
The attacks began after Tillis, in a paid advertisement, jabbed at the incumbent, a former bank vice president, saying “Math is lost on Sen. Hagan.” Then, in last week’s debate, in which the Republican appeared better prepared overall, Tillis referred to her as “Kay,” even though she continued to refer to him as “Speaker Tillis.”
“We saw women on social media in particular who were bothered by his tone and more than anything they were bothered by his record,” said Sadie Weiner, spokeswomen for Hagan.
Tillis dismissed the criticism.
“I knew Sen. Hagan when she was in the state legislature. I knew her husband Chip. This race isn’t about titles. It’s about results,” he said. “And in Sen. Hagan’s case, it’s a lack of results. If you look at it just objectively, if that is what the Hagan’s camp is focusing on in this debate, then they must have really felt in their own minds that they fell short on the issues. If it really comes down to that — I mean what about the substance of the debate?”
As a side note, what Ms. Weiner won’t tell you is that the much of the “outrage” over the alleged “mansplaining” that was seen on social media last Wednesday during and after the debate came from … political operatives like herself, and state-wide media allies who (unsurprisingly) eagerly jumped on the “Tillis was being mean!” bandwagon. As a general rule, once the media validates a particular “criticism”, there is a snowball effect with others who may not have necessarily seen it that way then falling in line with the prevailing – but false – narrative.
Tillis is right – if ridiculous charges of “mansplaining” are the best Team Hagan could do coming out of last week’s debate, it kind of tells you how badly they think she did, which is why they want you to focus on the sideline noise they’re drumming up about sexism which – ironically, is what they themselves are guilty of. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.