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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sexism and Gregoire

posted by on June 19 at 12:45 PM

You can attack Governor Christine Gregoire for a lot of things: Preaching her environmental credentials while pandering to road-building interests, taking meaningless stands against global warming while supporting watered-down environmental legislation that does nothing to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, screwing cities over so Tim Eyman can have his way.

But sexist attacks? Not a great way to get people to see your point of view.

First there was the Building Industry Association of Washington, which referred to Gregoire as a “heartless, power-hungry she-wolf who would eat her own young to get ahead” and said she was backed by “witches.”

Then there were nasty bloggers on the right, who have spent at least four years trying to get the “Queen Christine” label to stick.

Then the state Republican Party attempted to cash in on the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, lumping Gregoire and Clinton together as scary, power-mad women cut from the same cloth in mailings and e-mails to supporters.

And just this Tuesday, on the KVI show “The Commentators,” Republican host John Carlson said Gregoire hadn’t “screwed” Washington State tribes—she had “serviced” them. The transcript:

(Democratic spokesman Kelly) Steele: How could it be a quid pro quo then, Carlson, I want to know that…

(Carlson co-host Ken) Schram: Kelly, Kelly…

Steele: …if she screwed them…

Schram: Kelly…

Steele: …how is it a quid pro quo?

Schram: Kelly..

Carlson: She didn’t, she serviced them.

There are plenty of legitimate questions to be asked about Gregoire’s arrangement with Native American tribes—for example, whether it’s ethical for her to take campaign contributions from tribes when she has the authority to approve or reject gambling arrangements with those same tribes (the substance of what Steele and Carlson were discussing on KVI). But implying Gregoire’s sucking the dicks of the tribes in question is bad politics—even if it is good radio.

(P.s. Don’t believe there are sexist Gregoire haters out there? Googling her name and any number of gender-specific slurs should disabuse you.)

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Omggggggggggggggggg do you have any other topics

Posted by Non | June 19, 2008 1:04 PM

ECB...of course there are sexist bigots out there, and of course they hate Gregoire. But, here's what I don't understand...

Don’t believe there are sexist Gregoire haters out there? Googling her name and any number of gender-specific slurs should disabuse you

Does using gender-specific slurs equal sexism? You also used the example of "Queen Christine" which is a slur that I reject, but not on the basis of it being sexist. Is it really sexist just to use gender-specific terminology? What if I call George Bush "King George." Am I being sexist in that?

It seems that you've taken to equating any slander of any female politician as "sexist." Perhaps, once and for all, you could define your terms for us.

Posted by Timothy | June 19, 2008 1:04 PM

How many posts do we have to see by ECB before she gives up realizes that some people are still sexist (much like some people are still bigots/racists/homophobes/"little people"-phobes/etc). Misogyny exists, get over it and yourself.

Posted by Yawn | June 19, 2008 1:05 PM

A real feminist would care more about working moms and young women and poor women trying to get ahead, instead of defending rich, powerful, successful women from every perceived slight. A real feminist would not go to the mat defending Hillary Clinton and Christine Gregoire from a few mean words while attacking the intelligence and competence of younger colleagues like Monica Guzman. You're supposed to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, not the other way around.

I suppose it could be a case of that "Queen Bee" theory: feminists who have advanced in the patriarchy unconsciously try to destroy any women who come after them, since the pioneers develop skills and tactics that depend on being the only powerful woman in the room.


Posted by elenchos | June 19, 2008 1:07 PM

Man, I knew Republicants were low ... but Carlson takes the cake.

Too bad the guy, like Rossi, is too much of a coward to serve for Wars he wanted.

That's what they're like.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 1:15 PM

Since when is "servicing" someone a female-only thing?

OTOH, yes, I believe there are sexist Gregoire haters out there. There might also be sexist Rossi haters out there, though not nearly as many.

Posted by Mike of Renton | June 19, 2008 1:16 PM

#4: So, to summarize what you're saying, we shouldn't care if anyone calls Obama the n-word as long as we care about feeding poor black kids. We should also criticize Obama because he's powerful and comfort poor Alan Keyes because he's not so powerful. Also, successful black people like Obama act like insects and will try to destroy any other black person who tries to be successful as well.

Or, are you just ridiculously sexist and not racist?

Posted by poppy | June 19, 2008 1:25 PM

Why do you use African Americans in your example? There are many examples you could have used. Besides, this subject isn't about Obama or AAs. Do you have deeper issues that require professional help?

Posted by hmmm | June 19, 2008 1:31 PM


Well, poppy, I would indeed kind of wonder about someone who worked night and day to defend Colin Powell and Condi Rice from every tangential, subtle, or obscure racial epithet while at the very same time they ignored everyday racism that was making life difficult for non-celebrity blacks. If that person seemed to habitually call young, non-famous, and relatively powerless blacks stupid, I would really wonder about them.

So, your summary of my point is not very good, and the rhetorical question you attack me with is unfair.

Posted by elenchos | June 19, 2008 1:31 PM

While sexism toward woman, both in and out of politics, is real, I think posts like this overstate the problem and give too much credit to the bigots.

Gregoire won narrowly in 2004 because she played it safe, not because she was a woman. She'll win handily this time because she's running a better campaign and Dino's looking like the two-faced sore loser he is.

Our state has comparatively gender-balanced representation, particularly over the last 16 years or so. There were some early pioneers such as Dixie Lee Ray and a couple of women in Congress in the 1960s, but the real breakthrough was 1992. Right now we've got two women US Senators, a woman governor, and the third-highest percentage of women in any state legislature (35%, only slightly behind Vermont and New Hampshire.)

The fact that only one representative in our Congressional delegation is a woman is a rare disappointment, and an indication of a lack of depth among potential women candidates. But I think that's more of a recruiting problem for the parties, and a legacy of the high rate of incumbent retention than it is an indication of sexism having a large electoral impact.

Yet another reason to support Darcy Burner in the 8th, and urge Jim McDermott to retire in favor of a qualified woman candidate in the 7th.

Posted by Cascadian | June 19, 2008 1:48 PM

"Then the state Republican Party attempted to cash in on the sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, lumping Gregoire and Clinton together as scary, power-mad women cut from the same cloth in mailings and e-mails to supporters."
ECB -- 06/19/08

Washington State as Prologue
Some Democrats are dreaming about a female chief executive working with Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and Senate come January. We've been living that dream for nearly four years. And the results have been less than dreamy.
by Eli Sanders -- 03/07/08

You don't even need to look beyond the Stranger for examples of sexist conflation.

Posted by pbaitch | June 19, 2008 1:58 PM

How is this possible? How can someone post roughly 10 times per day on sexism and not even understand what the term means? It's ridiculous, and it's counterproductive to her cause. I don't mean this as a personal attack, but I really don't see how ECB has a job as a "journalist". Yeah, her posts get a lot of comments, but they're always comments pointing out how poor of a job she's doing.

Posted by sleestak | June 19, 2008 2:12 PM

I didn't listen to the broadcast or read the transcript or anything, but isn't it possible Carlson was making the point that Gregoire didn't "screw" them (as in, "screw them over"), but "serviced" them (as in, "gave them politcal favors")? Maybe he's implying that women can't screw someone the same way a man can. If he is, then that's dumb in so many ways it's sad (and that pretty well describes Carlson himself).

But it sounds to me like he was just making a point, and your own dirty mind made the "sexist" connection.

Posted by Matthew | June 19, 2008 2:54 PM

well commenters, if you want ecb to post on a different topic maybe you all should address the topic she has posted (and persists in posting) on. all any of these comments seem to be doing is avoiding any real discussion or nit-picking erica's posts for any and all potential flaws. i think ecb is trying to jump-start a dialog about sexism that she feels was missed during the primary and with everyone dodging the topic it looks like everyone is part of the reason for that.
i agree that ecb comes off like a cartoon of a reactionary femminist but sexism is a legitimate topic...

Posted by douglas | June 19, 2008 2:55 PM

Many people put up with horrible and undeserved insults of many kinds. Their competence and superiority makes their detractors look like fools.

Ms. Gregoire is one of those people. Mr. Obama is as well.

Some people have a different strategy - they whine.

Posted by opticsdoug | June 19, 2008 2:57 PM


Posted by good lord | June 19, 2008 2:58 PM

Cascadian @ 10 says:

The fact that only one representative in our Congressional delegation is a woman is a rare disappointment,

WTF? Senators aren't members of Congress?

Posted by ivan | June 19, 2008 3:30 PM

I have a sexist pit bull.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 19, 2008 3:35 PM

I gave my sexist pit bull a loaded gun.

Wonder how long until (BANG!)

Oh. Never mind.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 3:58 PM

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