Posts Tagged ‘Rick Lazio’
Some Republicans have hatched a new plan to defeat possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — by saying she’s too old and “out of touch” for the job.
According to Saturday’s New York Times, some Republican politicians, strategists, and media figures are already trying to weaken the former Secretary of State. Here are some of their noteworthy comments:
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): He “ridiculed the 2016 Democratic field as “a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls.’”
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA): “The reality is, when you look at the Democrats, they’ve got old, tired ideas being produced by old, tired candidates.”
Rush Limbaugh (Radio host): “Asked his audience in April whether the American people ‘want to vote for somebody, a woman, and actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?’”
Now, I may surprise you by saying this, but questioning Hillary Clinton’s age is appropriate, and doing so isn’t necessarily sexist. (Rush Limbaugh’s quote, however, is a good example of going way over the acceptable line.)
Older men have faced identical scrutiny—in fact, Mrs. Clinton’s husband used similar attacks to win the presidency against George H.W. Bush in 1992 and to win re-election against Bob Dole in 1996. John McCain’s age was also a factor in his campaign, as was his health record (like McCain, Mrs. Clinton recently had a rather serious health scare).
If men’s age often becomes a campaign issue, it seems acceptable to make a woman’s age a campaign issue as well.
But Is It Smart?
Republicans may be able to credibly defend themselves against charges of sexism for making Mrs. Clinton’s age an issue. Nonetheless, I suspect their strategy will backfire, and probably badly. As any smart man should know, few women respond favorably to negative comments about their looks or age. And even though the attacks may be “valid,” attacks on a woman’s age have a different potency than similar attacks on men; I suspect that even many Republican-leaning independent voters will bristle at them.
There’s a history here. Women resent men acting condescendingly toward a female candidate.
In 1984, for example, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro ripped George H.W. Bush, the incumbent Vice President, for his patronizing tone:
During a New York Senate debate, Republican candidate Rick Lazio aggressively approached Ms. Clinton’s lectern. He handed her a paper pledge to refuse any soft money to the campaign—but the move was widely seen as inappropriate and boorish. Mr. Lazio lost the once-close race by double digits.
After winning the Iowa caucus, Senator Barack Obama was widely expected to win the pivotal New Hampshire primary and cruise to an easy nomination. But after taking a gratuitous swipe at Senator Clinton’s likeability in a debate held just days before the vote, female voters handed Ms. Clinton an unexpected victory, helping to extend her campaign for months.
Playing Into Clinton’s Hands
Republicans are playing a dangerous game, and I can’t help thinking that the Clinton people will welcome this attack. As the 2008 example shows, Mrs. Clinton is adept at using public sympathy for her personal political gain.
Plus, she has one convenient fact in her back pocket: She’d be 68-years-old when sworn in for her first term. Conservative hero Ronald Reagan was 69.
What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags: bobby jindal, Election 2016, George H.W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, mitch mcconnell, Rick Lazio, Rush Limbaugh
Posted in Election 2016 | 2 Comments »
Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) fell into a predictable gender trap earlier today when he slammed the body of a female competitor for his Senate seat.
Here’s the background: In 1982, long before he became a U.S. Senator, Mr. Brown posed nude for Cosmopolitan Magazine. During a Democratic primary debate earlier this week, Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren was asked how she paid for college, given that Mr. Brown stripped to pay his tuition.
“I kept my clothes on,” Ms. Warren quipped, to the delight of the audience. (Video here, about 15:15 in).
During a radio interview earlier today, Sen. Brown responded:
Hosts: “Have you officially responded to Elizabeth Warren’s comment about how she didn’t take her clothes off?”
Scott Brown, laughing: “Thank God.”
With that broadside, Mr. Brown stepped into a gender minefield that threatens to alienate many female voters. To be sure, Ms. Warren’s swipe was unnecessary and gratuitous – and the question itself was sophomoric. But regardless of whether or not Ms. Warren opened the door to Mr. Brown’s response (she did), the political price will be paid almost solely by Mr. Brown.
The list of male politicians who lost support by mistreating a female competitor is long. Here are three examples:
1. Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama (2008): After winning the Iowa caucus, Senator Barack Obama was widely expected to win the pivotal New Hampshire primary and cruise to an easy nomination. But after taking a gratuitous swipe at Senator Clinton’s likeability in a debate held just days before the vote, female voters handed Ms. Clinton an unexpected victory, helping to extend her campaign for months.
2. Hillary Clinton vs. Rick Lazio (2000): During a New York Senate debate, Republican candidate Rick Lazio aggressively approached Ms. Clinton’s lectern. He handed her a paper pledge to refuse any soft money to the campaign – but the move was widely seen as inappropriate and boorish. Mr. Lazio lost the once-close race by double digits.
3. Geraldine Ferraro vs. George H.W. Bush (1984): During the Vice Presidential debate, Vice President Bush took a patronizing tone with Rep. Ferraro when discussing foreign policy. Ms. Ferraro used her razor sharp tongue to let him know she didn’t appreciate it, earning her the applause of the audience and him the enmity of many opinion writers. In the end, it didn’t matter – Mr. Bush was part of a winning ticket that won 49 states.
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Tags: Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, gender, George H.W. Bush, Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, media training disaster, media training disasters, Rick Lazio, Scott Brown
Posted in Media Training Disasters | 5 Comments »