Sunday, July 27, 2008

I was just kidding about sexism in the Missouri Governor's race


I've been thinking about a recent comment at this post:

"...I stand by my post, anyway. They're both (Hulshof and Steelman) fiscal twits. How she became treasurer is beyond me, unless it's that pretty face of hers."

I was just joking around when I wrote the above referenced post, Hulshof needs to stop negative attacks against Minority Candidate but in light of that comment and the "Our Voice" column in the News-Leader today, I think perhaps it does need to be addressed more seriously.

The idea that it might be Steelman's "pretty face" that got her the job as treasurer didn't set well with me, even though I'm not someone you'd traditionally use as an example of a feminist.

For the record, I'm not a very big fan of political correctness. I like analysis based on fact a lot better than political correctness and I don't claim to be a highly savvy political analyst. It should also be noted that my attention is not as focused on state and national politics as it is on local government issues, but when a man gets a job for which he is perceived as unqualified, either rightly or wrongly, might it be that he got it because of his "pretty face?"

Or, did he, perhaps, "sleep his way to the top?"

The News-Leader's "Our Voice" column today reads:

"Steelman's problem has its roots in her take-no-prisoners style."

While Hulshof:

"...opposes big government, understands agricultural and crime issues and is willing to take a tough stand for what he thinks is right."

When Steelman fails to have a plan for tackling every issue, the "Our Voice" column insinuates that she's against having a vision at all:

"...our biggest problem comes with her lack of vision.

It's more an anti-vision"

"Our voice," on Hulshof's lack of vision on certain issues? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt because he's more *diplomatic* than Steelman?:

"He has sidestepped -- to some degree -- questions on health care for the uninsured, an overburdened Public Defender's Office and the future of higher education funding in the state.

He said he will be fine-tuning his thoughts on some of those issues -- especially health care -- in coming weeks, if he wins the primary.

We hope he does."

Apparently, there's no such "hope" for Steelman.

I was joking when I asked, "What does he have against a woman Governor?"

Now, I wonder if the issue doesn't deserve a bit more serious handling than that.

I'm not super sensitive in regards to looking for examples of "glass ceilings," as they apply to women, but the commenter on the post I referenced above laid out some statistics regarding my use of the term "minority" in my original, referenced post. I have no reason to question his facts:

"...according to the last census, in 2002, 51 percent of the population of the U.S. are female. Males outnumber females 105 to 100 up until age 29. In age groups from 30 on up females outnumber males."

But, I think a more pertinent question, however, might be, what is the male to female ratio of registered voters in the country?

...and, of course, I don't hold the commenter responsible for the way the editorial board of the News-Leader treated Steelman as opposed to Hulshof in todays "Our Voice," column, but I do wonder when was the last time he suggested that a male political office holder might have got his job because of his "pretty face?"

It's being rumored that the Republican establishment supports Hulshof. I wonder if, like the News-Leader's editorial board, they like Hulshof's approach better than Steelman's.

My interest is less in who the News-Leader's editorial board endorses than who the voters endorse. The News-Leader's editorial board simply seeks to influence the voters.

Is the consensus thought of the people who will be represented by either Hulshof or Steelman that there be more diplomacy when dealing with issues in our state government?

Perhaps Hulshof speaks softly but carries a big stick, I don't pretend to know.

Steelman's voice, which seems to be playing well among voters, might actually be her big stick.

I'm thinking voters might choose that "take-no-prisoner's style" voice, a voice that seems to be promising to speak with and for the voters rather than a voice speaking down to voters after reaching consensus with other politicians.

The primary vote will establish what the people want.

I hope, whichever candidate the voters choose, the Republican establishment will accept the winner diplomatically.


Stu Solomon said...

Being physically attractive doesn't always matter, but in a race filled with negative campaigning, it may. There have been many democratic party candidates that the political "right" have accused of getting by on their looks.

JFK to name one. Bill Clinton, another.

The political right never admitted that both of these candidates had their fingers on the pulse of the country. They still persist in downtrodding the policies of both presidents.

Anyone with any sense knows being good looking is not always a good thing for a politician, but most of the time it helps.

My claim about Steelman is her looks are about the only thing that appeals to me. Period. I think she's a candidate who wants to legislate morality. I also think this of Hulsof.

'That which governs least governs best' and 'stay out of my bedroom and my pockebook' are both appropriate admonitions for these two candidates.

It has been widely stated these two candidates have been vying for the label of "most conservative". Well you can give that label to whichever of these candidates you wish. I don't care for either of them.

I will point out, however, the pictures we see of Steelman in ads are "glamour shots" compared to some I've seen of her delivering recent speeches in Springfield. The same is true of Hulshof. Both candidates are attempting to wrap their crappy packages in pretty paper.

Jackie Melton said...

Stu, I agree that being physically attractive doesn't hurt any politician but simply citing turn about as fair play because right wingers have used it in the past against democrats...well, that doesn't do the job for me anymore than my "smiley" did the job for you earlier.

Both Steelman and Hulshof are nice looking people, both were identified as "fiscal twits," but only one was mentioned as getting her job because of her looks.

I couldn't let it go unnoticed, in part, because I was still reeling from the very different treatment the News-Leader gave between the two candidates today. The man..."is willing to take a tough stand," while the woman, when taking a tough stand is described as "take-no-prisoners" and undiplomatic.

I wasn't LOOKING for sexism, but it's my opinion it found me.

Stu Solomon said...

I believe you were correct in your assessment of the daily paper, which is why I made no comment on that. I think you're looking at me as an antagonist, when I'm actually supporting your statement in rather roundabout fashion. Yes, the daily is guilty of it in this case and others, I suspect.

I am not a fan of sexism, either. Neither am I a fan of wrapping a crappy package in fancy paper (as far as politics are concerned). It might be a lesson learned if people remember back when they received a present wrapped in newspaper or if they found some dirty scummy thing lying on the ground or at a garage sale, only to have it revealed as a beautiful or one-of-a-kind treasure.

In this gubernatorial primary, you have neither. Hulshof can easily be accused of a "pork" legiislator, which is not really that uncommon, but is that what we want for a governor? Someone who follows the rest of the baby water down the drain? Steelman, in my opinion, is simply not qualified to be governor by virtue of her performance as state treasurer. The fact she is physically attractive is coincidence, but convenient for her, since she is in the middle of a mud sling with Hulshof.

As for the "turn about" argument, I cry "foul!"

First of all, it is not my argument to say "Republicans do it. Why not Dems?" I shouldn't have to remind you this is a primary race where democrats aren't involved at all, except for Hulshof's campaign making the comparison between Steelman and Nixon.

In fact, because it was a Republican primary we were discussiong, I chose two Democrat icons to exemplify the point that this crosses party lines. Yes, I did claim their policies to be downtrodden and their being lambasted by right wingers for their beauty.

However, both men had to win primaries to get their nomination and I should have made that a point, but these are blog posts and the thoughts kind of evolve and are not always (rarely, actually) in their final form. Both were subject to their detractors' unwarranted claims of being too young and pretty, to actually be of substance. Both men were clearly substantial political forces to be reckoned with.

Maybe I should have mentioned Reagan, Eisenhower or even George the Elder Bush. The only president of these who left a truly positive legacy was Eisenhower. They were all men who were politically substantial and influential, but they too used the physically attractive factor to their advantage in defeating not only their ultimate Democrat opponents, but those within their own party, as well.

Jackie Melton said...

Stu, since you have been so descriptive in your opposition to Steelman and Hulshof I'm sort of interested in your view of Jay Nixon?

Is he, too, wrapping a "crappy package in pretty paper?" Is he engaging in televised "glamour shots?"

I'm a, reformed from Republican, independent, more than likely, discernably conservative but I don't toe any party line. How 'bout you?

tom said...

I'm still waiting to see the negative campaigning that Stu is complaining about. Pointing out the flaws in your opponent if they are true is hardly a negative ad and from what I have researched on Hulshof I haven't found one falsehood in her commercials... To another point

While Hulshof:
"...opposes big government, understands agricultural and crime issues and is willing to take a tough stand for what he thinks is right."

One can hardly state they oppose big government when under his tenure in the house of representatives the size, power, and scope of government nearly doubled while the republicans were in power, not only that but the serviceable debt ceiling was increased numerous times to keep up with the spending habits of these people.
It is quite easy for one to claim they understand the plight of farmers when you create an entitlement program designed to give away millions of dollars in taxpayer money to solve a crisis that government created. Then on top of that the state leader MANDATES the use of ethanol with huge entitlements programs designed to give more of the store away while the average citizen struggles to pay the bills.

Stu Solomon said...

Ok, Tom. First of all, I don't remember "complaining" about anything. It has been widely stated in the media, in newspaper forums, etc. that this campaign has been contentious and negative from the beginning.

I DID make the comment about mud-slinging. That wasn't a plaintive comment. It was an observation. Both of these candidates are pursuing negative campaign strategies by concentrating on the faults of their opponents.

Hulshof criticizes Steelman's stance on a variety of issues, including her change of heart on the ethanol issue.

Meanwhile Steelman criticizes Hulshof for spending in the federal legislative branch.

Personally, I believe Hulshof should be trying to get federal money (that is going to be spent anyway) directed toward his constituency.

Steelman is either naive or stupid to call for divestment in the so-called "state sponsors" of terrorism. That was a sensational move to get her own little GPS signal on the major media map.

Neither of the candidates are proposing any kind of positive change for the state. I don't know what it's supposed to be, but I haven't heard it from them, yet.

As for Nixon, Jackie, I'm quite honestly not thrilled. He has done a good job in several areas of his current position's sphere of influence. There's always room for improvement.

I think he has made a valid effort to protect some of the groups in this state who are always targets for exploitation: namely, the poor and the elderly.

I also think he has made a good effort to keep up with the technological surge and protect consumers from internet fraud. The attorney general is not supposed to be a really popular person. They are supposed to be litigious and tenacious and keep after people who try to either stretch the boundaries of acceptable law or outbrightly break it.

I think the lawsuit against Blunt's office is justified. I also agree with the Missouri House Minority Leader Paul LeVota in his assertion that GOP legislators, along with Blunt, are attempting to use the Sunshine Law as a retalliatory weapon.

The lawsuit against the governor's office came about because of the dismissal of one of his top legal aides. People asked questions and he answered. His answers and statements gave reason for an investigation by the attorney general's office. That investigation has led to a lawsuit.

Is the political factor motivating the situation? Isn't there always in cases like this, especially in an election year? The rumors are really flying about this, by the way, but they're not really making waves because Blunt decided to resign. There is serious speculation about the nature of those emails and why they were destroyed. Why do you have to destroy emails if you're the governor. If the state doesn't have enough data warehouse space by now, then something is seriously wrong with their IT administration.

State politics get ugly. Everyone knows that. The contention over the governor's mansion has been a 'sour grapes' issue for Democrats for a long time. Before that, it was a thorn in the Republicans' collective side.

I honestly am going to check out Finkenstadt before I vote in the general election. I'm just not thrilled with any of the one party disguised as two candidates.

I don't see any vision for Missouri in any of them.

I want to see Missouri become a leader in the outsourcing industry. I want to see Missouri become a leader in the nuclear energy industry. I want to see Missouri develop a plan where energy consumers can become energy producers by creating a two-way link to the grid. I want to see somebody say "OK, maybe global warming isn't a foregone conclusion, but can it hurt us to be considerably more environmentally aware?"

I want a candidate with vision, but I'm always dissappointed in these matters.

Long story short: Steelman and Hulshof are running negative campaigns in that they are concentrating on their opponent's shortcomings, rather than their own positive contributions (which are few, and this is the reason for the negative campaign in the first place).

Nixon is not much better, but is better than either Steelman or Hulshof. Pretty paper round a crappy package, yes...but it's low-end department store crappy, as opposed to used garage sale crappy.

tom said...

I have never been able to understand the medias contention that pointing out your opponents faults as NEGATIVE campaigning. This when done in the manner of someone's political life is neither attacking nor is it negative campaigning. To look at one's voting record and to point out what one has achieved in this manner is playing the game of politics the way it is supposed to be done. How many times has a candidate said something to get elected then done the exact opposite once in office, the only way people are going to learn of this is either thru research(most people are to ignorant to do this before they cast their ballot)or to have the candidate come out and say it. Hulshof doesn't want to run oin his voting record so Steelmen is forcing the issue. So far I believe her more then I do Hulshof because I have looked at Kenny's record at with my limited stance on scope, size, and power of government Hulshof is quite the opposite.

"Personally, I believe Hulshof should be trying to get federal money (that is going to be spent anyway) directed toward his constituency".

This statement is probably the scariest one I hear people utter. It brings back that statement my grandmother used to always speak of "if your friends jump off a bridge are you going to do it"
With that mindset we will never get the federal government reigned in and doing only that which is Constitutional.