Immature? Sexist? Funny?
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|Wed, 08-18-2010 - 7:43pm|
A local Minnesota Republican Party operative yesterday waded into one of the signature political issues of our time: "Who's hotter — Republican women or Democratic women?"
The Senate District 56 GOP Party posted a Web video yesterday laying out its position on the hotness question. It leads with images of prominent Republicans such as Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and Michele Bachmann; the soundtrack, naturally, is the Tom Jones chestnut, "She's a Lady."
Then, there's an abrupt switch to the other side of the aisle. The theme is subtly conveyed with the strains of the Baha Men hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Photos of Michelle Obama, Janet Reno, Rosie O'Donnell and Hillary Clinton flash on the screen.
The video quickly made its viral way through the blogosphere, and provoked strong reaction from state politicos and others. State Democratic chairman Brian Melendez called the video "sexist and offensive."
"The day when a woman was judged by her looks rather than her competence and intelligence should have passed three generations ago," Melendez said in a statement Tuesday. "But apparently Republican leaders in the year 2010 still think of that bygone era as the good old days, and want to bring it back." Melendez called for the video's removal and an apology from branch GOP chairman Joe Salmon.
Local Republican state House candidate Andrea Kieffer also requested that the video be removed, Paul Schmelzer reports for the Minnesota Independent. Kieffer called the video a "juvenile attempt at 'marketing.' "
"This is not something I would condone, and I am sending a request that the webmaster take it down immediately," she wrote in communication with the Independent.
As of Wednesday morning, the party had removed the video from its website.
Still, Salmon took a parting shot at what he seems to view as the humorless enforcers of political correctness. "It really unfortunate to relearn that the other side is severely lacking a sense of humor," Salmon tweeted Tuesday.
Calls and emails to Salmon and the site's webmaster were not immediately returned Wednesday morning. But webmaster Randy Brown told the Minnesota Independent yesterday that the video was mainly intended to inject levity in the election season. "ts only intention was to bring a smile to a few peoples' faces, and possibly irritate a few others. Is it fair? Does that matter? It wasn't intended to be fair. It was intended to be funny," Brown said.
Politicians — Republicans and Democrats alike — actually didn't find it very funny when they argued Palin was the target of sexism during her 2008 vice presidential campaign. Palin herself branded Newsweek's November '09 cover photo of her in running shorts as sexist. That same image is the first photo that appears in the Minnesota GOP group's video.
It also seems that the district's image might benefit if GOP workers spent a bit less time compiling cheeky viral videos and a bit more time proofreading the party's Web page. Here's its mission statement:
"OUR MISSION: Senate District 56 Republians exist to promote our Republican principals , to help elect Republician's to the various offices which represent our area and reflect our beliefs. We in the district support each other and our neighbors to have government enable us to succeed, and not us enabling government to grow."
Even though the offending video has been removed from the District 56 website, it of course lives on in YouTube — with the clear disclaimer that it's meant to provoke a strong reaction, and plainly succeeds. Because of its content, YouTube also requests that users register and confirm they are over the age of 18 prior to viewing. With all that in mind, the link to the video is here.
The video furor marks just the latest episode in a long season of election-year gaffes. Here's a sampling:
- A New Hampshire state legislator resigned last week after joking that Sarah Palin should also have died in the plane crash that killed former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
- Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon of New York fired an aide after she issued a memo highlighting "Jewish money" donations to McMahon's challenger.
- Republican Rep. Zach Wamp, candidate for governor, last month walked back his suggestion that Tennessee secede from the federal government.
- Ken Buck, a tea party candidate for Colorado Senate, apologized last month for disparaging "birthers."
- A tea party group in Iowa removed a billboard likening Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin after numerous protests persuaded group leaders that it detracted from the intended message, warning against the depredations of big government.