By Cheri Jacobus - 06/16/11 09:56 PM EDT
Our national “date” Monday night with the Republican field of presidential candidates was polite without being boring, interesting without being condescending, and revealed a united GOP field coalesced around one goal — defeating President Obama so that we can restore some fiscal sanity and create jobs.
While Democrats and their allies in the media seemed intent on fueling tension among the GOP rivals, the candidates instead kept their eye on the ball. Tim Pawlenty didn’t take the “ObamneyCare” bait, although he set himself up by picking a fight with Mitt Romney days before, when he tagged Massachusetts’s healthcare law with the Obama-Romney hybrid moniker.
Rather than acknowledging a GOP field that now counts an African-American and at least one female candidate in its ranks — similar to their fawning in 2008, when the Democratic primary field included both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — the media ignore African-American businessman Herman Cain and vilify both Bachmann and Palin. Is the media’s laissez-faire attitude toward Cain, Bachmann and Palin on race and gender more a reflection of the Republican Party’s lack of hang-ups on such issues? That’s certainly a friendlier version of matters, if we care to give the media the benefit of the doubt.
With the majority of college-educated white women voting for Barack Obama in 2008, but going rogue and voting Republican in 2010, the Democrats and the media are terrified of college-educated white women with an R after their name running for president, gaining acceptance and being relatable to that voting segment Democrats so desperately need in 2012. Best to delegitimize and destroy those women ASAP, lest voters become too comfortable with them — especially female voters who are similar to them.
In truth, it was an excellent week for women in politics, even if it came with some pain. Sarah Palin, after suffering sexist attack after sexist attack for a solid three years (in addition to some admittedly well-earned, well-deserved barbs), this week had thousands of emails from her time as governor of Alaska combed through as thoroughly as any al Qaeda terrorist’s communications over the past decade. The left even gleefully boasted a countdown of days and hours to when they would be able to pore through the missives, so hopeful they would find a smoking gun or wrongdoing — something, anything, to tie into a noose around Palin’s neck.
Instead, they discovered she was a dedicated public servant, loves her family and was glad Obama reversed himself on drilling, more in line with her own position and agenda as governor. The left and their friends in the media ended up looking like fools and bullies.
Additionally, the hullabaloo over Bachmann’s performance in the GOP debate Monday night is chuckle-worthy. In addition to being smart enough to use the forum that served as her introduction to a national audience to announce she was, indeed, running for the Republican nomination for president, she utilized the rest of the evening to effectively outline her record, qualifications and agenda, then started running ads on the Drudge Report before the conclusion of the debate. The most surprising thing to me is that so many seemed so … surprised.
Why is it a challenge for the media to get their heads around the notion that a 50-something, three-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives who serves on the Intelligence and Financial Services committees, launched the Tea Party Caucus, served as a state Senator and was a tax attorney and successful entrepreneur could be capable of an able performance in a political debate? Is it because she is a woman and they still insist on grading on a curve?
There’s a clever quote by American novelist Fannie Hurst: “Women have to be twice as good as men, in order to go half as far.” Since it’s an old saying, one would hope it no longer applies. Sadly, it seems it is still quite relevant in modern American politics.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.