Florida Republican Congressman Steve Southerland held a men-only fundraiser and the invite instructed them to tell the “misses” not to wait up because the boys would be smoking cigars and drinking whiskey whilst solving the world’s problems like they did in the 12th century. No, this is not a new Hollywood franchise aimed at teenage boys; rather, this is how an elected member of Congress conducts himself.
The fail is strong with this one and the best part is the Republicans don’t even get why it’s in poor taste. Their response to getting called out for blatant sexism? “Obamacare!”
Representative Southerland held a men-only fundraiser back in March for which the invite, obtained by BuzzFeed, instructs the “small group of concerned men” to “tell the misses not to wait up” because “the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many.” Further:
“Good men sitting around discussing & solving political & social problems over fine food & drink date back to the 12th Century with King Arthur’s Round Table,” the invitation said.
That’s the Republican Party equating their fundraiser with a 12th century tradition of men-only.
Naturally, the Republican Congressmen is running against a woman, Democrat Gwen Graham. Having to compete with women in the work place has brought out the worst in Republican campaigns from Mitch McConnell’s desperate attempts to belittle his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes to Greg Abbott’s ugly attacks on his Democratic opponent in Texas, Wendy Davis. To make matters worse for Southerland, he’s an endangered incumbent.
This story would not be complete without the cherry on the condescension. Southerland is also trying to mislead women into voting for him by telling them that he voted for the Violence Against Women Act. In truth, he voted for the GOP version, which was so bad that NOW referred to it as a vote against violence against women – in other words, the Pro-Violence Against Women Act.
The GOP House version was so bad that President Obama vetoed it. It actually enabled abusers on multiple levels, while cutting out key protections for Native American women, minorities and the LGBT community for starters. The Republican version was literally about taking key protections away from women. It was a giant, deliberate regression meant to appease abusers in the old boys network that only solidified the GOP as the party of legitimate rape and “shutting it down”.
Southerland’s campaign manager had the perfect Republican response when questioned about the fundraiser invite, telling BuzzFeed in an email that the media should be focusing on Gwen Graham’s positions on Obamacare instead, calling the attention on the fundraiser “laughable”.
Notice that the Republican Congressman’s campaign manager did not attack the Democrat for being for Obamacare. However, days ago in a separate response, they did attack Graham for being for Obamacare. No limit to the number of mouths they will speak out of in order to trick northern Florida voters, apparently. Soon they will be pretending they voted for it, just like they are misleading the voters about voting for the Violence Against Women Act.
All of this is to say that Republicans bypassed the 1950s and are surging their binders full of women fail well into the 12th century at record speeds. The Democratic Congressional Campaign called Republicans out this morning for “‘Finishing School for White Men’ Not Going According to Plan” after a week of GOP sexism fails, including the NRCC airing an ad in which Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) is represented by a pair of sexy legs in high heels and a skirt “strutting back and forth” with no full body shown and certainly not a head (this was their attempt to paint her as Obama’s girl because that is not offensive to pretty much everyone).
Steve Southerland doesn’t want the female voters of Florida to know that he voted for a pro-violence against women act and he thinks his men-only fundraiser, likened to the 12th century, with the added “tell the misses not to wait up” is not offensive. But affordable healthcare! Now there’s a real offense.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.