In a blog post written Friday for NH Insider, Republican New Hampshire State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt disparaged Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) over her looks, claiming that she is “ugly as sin” and that she “looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag.” Vaillancourt hoped to use this blog post to boost the chances of Kuster’s Republican opponent, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, in the race for Kuster’s Congressional seat. All it did is reveal Vaillancourt’s ugly sexism as, in his mind, the only thing that matters is which female candidate is more attractive.
The post is so unbelievably chauvinistic that at first glance it comes across as a parody. But, alas, this is not something from The Onion — this is something legitimately written by a GOP lawmaker. In his magnum opus, Vaillancourt first discusses how a candidate’s attractiveness can win that candidate a close race. He brings up John F. Kennedy defeating Richard Nixon in 1960. He then takes a dig at another New Hampshire female politician, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is facing Republican ex-Senator Scott Brown. Vaillancourt claimed that Shaheen looked like Walt Havenstein, the GOP candidate for Governor.
Vaillancourt then got down to the nitty-gritty of his piece. He pointed out how attractive Garcia is, but made sure to say her attractiveness isn’t too intimidating. (Of course, he misspelled intimidating.) After gushing over Garcia’s looks a bit longer, he pointed out how ugly Kuster is and then proceeded to tell an anecdote about drag queens.
How ugly is Annie Kuster? Again avert your eyes if you don’t want to hear it, but I actually thought of Annie Kuster last weekend when I was in Montreal. Not far from the Second Cup Coffee Shop I at which I was sipping and writing is a bar called Mados. It’s on the section of St. Catherine Street which is blocked off for pedestrians only in the summer; it’s near the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Thus, tens of thousands of Montrealers and visitors walk by Mados on their way to the fireworks displays on summer nights.
On almost any given night, standing for all to see in front of Mados is a rather attractive drag queen. People stop to pose for pictures with this Mado drag queen; other drag queens gather round because, you see, Mados is a drag queen bar…not that there’s anything wrong with that. Long live Victor Victoria; long live La Cage Aux Folles.
By now you probably know why I think of Annie Kuster whenever I walk by Mados; sad to say, but the drag queens are more atrractive [sic] than Annie Kuster….not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Annie Kuster looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag.
The only truly ugly thing here is the way Vaillancourt views women. He revealed himself to be a hateful misogynist who only values women for how they look. Making disgustingly critical remarks about a woman’s appearance shows what kind of man he truly is. His vile sexism wasn’t just limited to Kuster and Shaheen, either. By portraying Garcia as nothing more than a pretty face and someone to be ogled, Garcia was also affected by Vaillancourt’s chauvinism.
For Garcia’s part, she made sure to release a statement on Monday publicly denouncing Vaillancourt’s comments.
“State Rep. Vaillancourt’s recent comments about Rep. Ann Kuster are sexist and have absolutely no place in political discourse. Both Rep. Kuster and I have experienced this unfortunate reality of being a woman in politics. I hope that as time moves forward and more female candidates run for political office around the country, people will focus on the content of our ideas rather than what we wear and how we look.”
Vaillancourt is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, he had to apologize after yelling ‘Sieg Heil!’ and giving a Nazi salute to the State House’s Speaker on the floor of the House. The Speaker, fellow Republican Bill O’Brien, had just stopped debate on voter ID legislation so that it could come up for a vote.
Every time you hear from the Republican Party about how it isn’t waging a War on Women, just think about the comments from Vaillancourt. This pretty much typifies the attitude of the ‘old guard’ of the GOP.