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Mitt Romney may have a woman problem: Doesn't exactly shine when he's up against a female opponent
Salon ^ | July 18, 2010 | Steve Kornacki

Posted on 07/18/2010 11:17:04 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Oh boy, here we go again. Mitt Romney has his eyes on a major political office -- if only that damned woman would get out of the way!

Romney, of course, is running for president in 2012, and has been from the moment he used a comically red meat-laden CPAC speech to depart from the 2008 GOP race. And his prospects, at least for the Republican nomination, aren't bad: He's the next-in-line guy, he'll have plenty of cash, and there just aren't that many other options.

But then there's Sarah Palin. She may ultimately decide not to run, but this past week brought fresh evidence -- in the form of her suddenly ramped-up and professionalized national political organization -- that she's serious about it.

It was certainly enough to catch Team Romney's attention. On Thursday, a Romney advisor -- unnamed, of course -- told Time's Mark Halperin that Palin is "not a serious human being," while another Romney "intimate" opined that "if she’s standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she’s in trouble." The Palin camp then fired back (anonymously) and Romney took to his Twitter feed in an effort to put the fire out.

With the Iowa caucuses now 18 months away, the episode offered a preview of coming attractions. If Palin does run, she will be one of Romney's biggest threats -- maybe his biggest. Romney, in other words, may end up being the first GOP presidential front-runner in history whose chief rival is a woman. Which is very bad news for Mitt, because it's a role in which he'd be horribly miscast.

Three times in his relatively limited political career Romney has found a woman standing between him and his political goal. In each case, he ended up getting what he wanted -- but it was always awkward, ugly and downright nasty, with cries of chauvinism and sexism along the way. The man just does not know how to look good while competing with a woman.

Romney first went toe-to-toe with a woman in the spring of 1994, when, as an executive at Bain Capital, he jumped into the race for the Republican nomination to oppose Ted Kennedy. The early front-runner for the nod was a woman: Janet Jeghelian, a former Boston talk-radio host who entered the contest with far more name recognition than Romney. But at the state convention, Romney -- aided by the state GOP establishment -- helped ensure that she wouldn't even receive a spot on the primary ballot.

Jeghelian's own shortcomings, of course, were the main reason for her collapse. But it still irked many women to watch her use her convention speech to literally beg for a chance to run -- and then to be denied. When it was over, she told the press that she doubted Romney's sincerity on women's issues (he was claiming to be pro-choice back then) and that she wouldn't support him in the primary.

"It's too bad a woman's not going to be on the ballot," she said. "I don't think Mitt Romney stands much of a chance to beat Ted Kennedy." (She was right: Romney lost by 17 points that November.)

But the Jeghelian incident had nothing on the events of March 2002. That's when Romney, his image boosted by the just-completed Winter Olympics (which he'd organized), returned from Utah to Massachusetts intent on running for governor. The only problem was that the job was already filled by a Republican -- a female Republican, Jane Swift, who had spent the last year swearing up and down that she planned to run in '02. Romney himself had publicly pledged fealty to Swift the previous year.

But Romney was done pretending to be her friend. Again aided by the state GOP establishment, he engineered a coup. One by one, prominent state Republicans stepped forward to call for Swift's exit -- and the anointment of Romney as her replacement on the fall ticket. He cut her legs out from under her, and within days Swift -- the state's first female governor and the first governor in the country to give birth while in office -- dropped out of the race, forced to pretend that "family obligations" would keep her from running.

Sure, Swift had her flaws. Her abbreviated stint as governor (she'd taken over from Paul Cellucci a year earlier) had been rocky and polls showed her an easy mark for the Democrats in the fall. But it was the way that Romney shoved her aside that looked bad -- and that infuriated women.

"It's hard to know which is more enraging, the presumption of a rich, white man that he can buy the governor's office or the misogyny of a political culture that makes it impossible for a woman even to try to earn it," wrote Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

In that same column, McNamara offered a warning to Romney's eventual Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien: "Look out, Madam Treasurer, the boys have only one female target now."

How prophetic. In the fall campaign's pivotal final debate, O'Brien sought to hold Romney accountable for his ever-shifting positions on abortion. He was still pretending to support abortion rights, but it was now more complicated because, during his Utah sojourn (when he'd flirted with running for office there), Romney had told a newspaper not to call him pro-choice. Now, O'Brien tried to elicit a straight answer from him. He ducked and dodged for a few minutes and then bore in, pointing his finger and telling his female opponent that "your effort to continue to try to create fear and deception here is unbecoming."

The exchange was played over and over on television and radio, and reactions broke on gender lines. "Unbecoming?" the Globe's Joan Vennochi wrote. "Any female who has ever been accused of unbecoming conduct knows that is 'Leave it to Beaver' code for saying she is not 'ladylike.'" This outrage, though, was lost on many men.

It didn't cost Romney on Election Day, probably because just as many men rallied to Romney after the exchange as women rallied to O'Brien. The gender gap ended up being enormous. The uproar, in fact, may have actually helped Romney in some of the working-class, culturally conservative cities that he ended up carrying. And there were plenty of other reasons for his victory that had nothing to do with gender.

Yes, it's true that Romney is three-for-three running against women. But it's also true that he played with fire each time. He was able to get away with it in Massachusetts, for a variety of reasons, but the lights shine brighter -- much brighter -- on the national political stage. When a woman is in the race, Romney has a knack for making himself look bad -- something all of America may soon discover.


TOPICS: Massachusetts; Campaign News; Parties; State and Local
KEYWORDS: 2012; abortion; benedictromney; brutusromney; canttrustromney; gop; moralabsolutes; operationleper; palin; prolife; romney; romneybigdig; romneycare; romneydeathpanels; romneyhates; romneyhatespalin; romneyhateswomen; romneymarriage; romneyvswomen; sarahpalin
The national spotlight and her many millions of supporters won't let him get away with that stuff this time.
1 posted on 07/18/2010 11:17:07 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Romney’s problem is Romney Care which is like an anchor around his leg.


2 posted on 07/18/2010 11:21:26 AM PDT by Mikey_1962 (Obama: The Affirmative Action President)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Romney shines like the poster boy for sneaky, shining politicians. He was groomed to sell political sleaze from the cradle on, raised as one of our ruling elites. No thanks!


3 posted on 07/18/2010 11:29:41 AM PDT by pallis
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To: pallis

Romney was a crappy governor. Why should anyone expect him to do any better in the future?


4 posted on 07/18/2010 11:34:03 AM PDT by Radagast the Fool ("Mexico-Beirut with tacos!"--Dr. Zoidberg)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Wellll, my prospective is that Sarah is blinded by ‘loyalty’ to lord McCain, liberals favorite mistress.

So why should not Mitt think he is above the rest given the reality of where lord McCain has traveled. No I am not a Mitt supporter in any shape or fashion, but I do not blame an ego driven politician for seeing cracks in the potential opposition.

5 posted on 07/18/2010 11:34:48 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Willard Myth Romney would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as GOP nominee!
6 posted on 07/18/2010 11:37:29 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunham?) Change America Will Die From.)
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To: Just mythoughts

What do you think the jourbalists would have done if Governor Sarah Palin had backstabbed the man who entrusted her with the party nomination to be Vice President of the United States of America? Ever think of that?!


7 posted on 07/18/2010 11:37:42 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Romney is a pro-choice, illegal-alien-hiring, socialist in Republican clothing. But this left-winger’s screed is pathetic. Jane Swift’s “family” issues were that she was pregnant when Gov. Paul Cellucci stepped down from office, and she gave birth to twins. The media pounced on her like savage dogs for not being in the medical condition to function as governor, but not having set up a chain of command, and never acknowledged that she was governor, always referring to her as “acting governor.” The Republican electorate deemed her unelectable, and long before Romney pitched in, she was trailing him by 50 points, 70-20. This article makes it sound like she stepped aside for vague, unspecified reasons.

The fact that O’Brien played the gender card also doesn’t mean anything bad about Romney.


8 posted on 07/18/2010 11:41:36 AM PDT by dangus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
What do you think the jourbalists would have done if Governor Sarah Palin had backstabbed the man who entrusted her with the party nomination to be Vice President of the United States of America? Ever think of that?!

Let us for a moment deal with what took place. The turkey that selected her as his Veep, allowed and in fact set her up for rejection and ridicule by the MSM.... Yet she did not keep her peace she let him climb into her chariot out of something I am told is called loyalty.... Ever think maybe she was selected just for the sole purpose of ridiculing her out of public life... but the unthinkable thing took place her words resonated with the conservatives... No Sarah maintained her loyalty and lord McCain used her like a cheap hooker.

9 posted on 07/18/2010 11:43:49 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Who cares what the media would have done. I want someone who will say “screw the media,” and do the right thing. We’ve had two Bushes, a Dole and a McCain try desperately to please CNN, while bitch-slapping the alternative media (blogs, radio, water-cooler talk, etc.) and what did it get us? Who’s going to the right thing?

It sure as Hell ain’t Romney, but I’m not convinced it’s Palin, either. (I’m open to the notion that she may honestly have assessed that Hayworth is a charlatain.)


10 posted on 07/18/2010 11:45:59 AM PDT by dangus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
What do you think the jourbalists would have done if Governor Sarah Palin had backstabbed the man who entrusted her with the party nomination to be Vice President of the United States of America? Ever think of that?!

Let us for a moment deal with what took place. The turkey that selected her as his Veep, allowed and in fact set her up for rejection and ridicule by the MSM.... Yet she did not keep her peace she let him climb into her chariot out of something I am told is called loyalty.... Ever think maybe she was selected just for the sole purpose of ridiculing her out of public life... but the unthinkable thing took place her words resonated with the conservatives... No Sarah maintained her loyalty and lord McCain used her like a cheap hooker.

11 posted on 07/18/2010 11:46:16 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: Just mythoughts

First off, why select a little-known novice governor of a far-away state just to ridicule her? Who back then felt that she needed to be taken out? Until she was selected as the VP nominee and showed her stuff, she was not much more threat to the establishment than you or I would be. Secondly, I take umbrage at you referring to a fine conservative lady and party leader as a “cheap hooker” and I ask you not to do it again.


12 posted on 07/18/2010 11:49:56 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: dangus
Welcome Back, Dad

I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind. I was wrong! Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she. And what a she! This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as "The Speech," which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP. Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.

~Michael Reagan, radio show host and son of President Ronald Reagan

13 posted on 07/18/2010 11:53:15 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Kittens vs Mama Grizzly. This ‘match’ shouldn’t last too long. Poor Kitty.


14 posted on 07/18/2010 11:55:47 AM PDT by JPG (Mr. Gore, or is it Mr. Stone or Mr. Woody? Whatever, you're under arrest.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If Myth Romney points his finger at Sarah Palin, the Tea Party is likely to break it off.


15 posted on 07/18/2010 12:03:48 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (No apologies.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
First off, why select a little-known novice governor of a far-away state just to ridicule her? Who back then felt that she needed to be taken out? Until she was selected as the VP nominee and showed her stuff, she was not much more threat to the establishment than you or I would be. Secondly, I take umbrage at you referring to a fine conservative lady and party leader as a “cheap hooker” and I ask you not to do it again.

Well you tell me why lord McCain selected Sarah. Now IF he had campaigned like she did to win then your assessment has gravity.... BUT lord McCain did not campaign to win and Sarah had to fight lord McCain's hired first hand campaign staff to get to campaign like she did..

Now when the announcement was made that Sarah would be the Veep candidate I heard Billy Kristol brag on the Foxes News that HE had recommended Sarah in March of 2008.

See now I voted in that presidential election because Sarah was on the ticket and believed she would keep lord McCain's wandering liberal antics at bare minimum... as I had long ago stated that I would NOT ever vote for lord McCain.

Reread what I wrote I NEVER called suggested or intimated that Sarah was any likeness to a 'cheap hooker', I said lord McCain treated her as such.... just like he is want to treat conservatives all through his political career.... it is NOT the first time he has used a 'woman' to better his out come and I doubt it will be his last.

16 posted on 07/18/2010 12:04:42 PM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

On the night of that speech, I concurred.


17 posted on 07/18/2010 12:07:04 PM PDT by dangus
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Give me Paul Ryan! Romney is just too slippery for me. He reminds me of a used car salesman.


18 posted on 07/18/2010 12:08:30 PM PDT by WellyP
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

BHORom


19 posted on 07/18/2010 12:11:22 PM PDT by FrankR (It doesn't matter what they call us, only what we answer to....)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"It's hard to know which is more enraging, the presumption of a rich, white man that he can buy the governor's office or the misogyny of a political culture that makes it impossible for a woman even to try to earn it," wrote Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

I see all these news columnists changed their thinking once Gov. Palin became well known.

20 posted on 07/18/2010 12:17:52 PM PDT by rabidralph
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To: Just mythoughts
Bill Kristol is the son of the man who founded the neoconservative movement. Are you on e of those who thinks neo-con is a euphemism for “Jew?”
21 posted on 07/18/2010 12:20:12 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Bill Kristol is the son of the man who founded the neoconservative movement. Are you on e of those who thinks neo-con is a euphemism for “Jew?”

YOU need to change bait. My greatest disdain and dislike for lord McCain and Billy Kristol was their continued attempts to figuratively behead RUMMY from Secretary of Defense. Now you can smear and ridicule me as opposing 'cons' all you like but you are barking up the wrong tree. I fully and whole heartily believe in the standard of this nation that alll men/women are created equal.. so you go and pander your smelly stuff on some body else.

22 posted on 07/18/2010 12:25:08 PM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: rabidralph

I think they think that Governor Palin will be the easiest to beat in the general election come 2012. I believe they’re in for a big surprise. As I’ve said here before, I will personally raise at least $2 million dollars for her if she runs and she has tens of millions (at minimum) of supporters already. They might want to watch out what they wish for.


23 posted on 07/18/2010 12:26:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Good. Sarah will whip his *ss and we can have a clear cut choice for POTUS in 2012.


24 posted on 07/18/2010 12:27:23 PM PDT by Grunthor (I like you but when the zombies chase us, I'm tripping you.)
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To: Just mythoughts

There are still paleos and Rontards here, I was just trying to see if that’s what I was dealing with.


25 posted on 07/18/2010 12:27:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Soapbox & Ballot Box or Ammo Box.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
There are still paleos and Rontards here, I was just trying to see if that’s what I was dealing with.

And there are 'tards' such as lord McCain that still get a pass.... I do not pay much attention to the paleos and the Rontards have 'standing' because of what a farce lord McCain is.... why should they be held to a higher standard.

26 posted on 07/18/2010 12:30:28 PM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Again aided by the state GOP establishment, he engineered a coup ...

Romney and Obama share the same type dirty tactics of getting their opponents taken off the ballot so they don't have to actually compete.

What a pair of snakes; slimy, slithering, scaly reptiles.

And both send forth their mouthpieces to spread their venom, then stand back and say, "awwww, that's not right."

Commie bastages.

27 posted on 07/18/2010 12:37:33 PM PDT by meadsjn (Sarah 2012, or sooner)
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To: Just mythoughts
Ever think maybe she was selected just for the sole purpose of ridiculing her out of public life

If anything, it has strengthened Sarah. I'm glad that McCain didn't hold her hand.

28 posted on 07/18/2010 1:03:45 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Mexico is the U.S. version of Hamas)
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To: pallis; Mikey_1962

Mitt Romney may have a Romney problem: Doesn’t exactly shine when he’s up against his own record as Massachusetts governor.


29 posted on 07/18/2010 1:55:40 PM PDT by flowerplough (Bammy: "People say, yeah, but unemployment's still at 9.6%. Yes, but it's not 12 or 13... or15.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

American bastard Romney made Brown a traitor to the GOP,
and threw the last election to Obama.

He should be trusted ... not.


30 posted on 07/18/2010 2:57:47 PM PDT by Diogenesis (Article IV - Section 4 - The United States shall protect each of them against Invasion)
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