"Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen!" So reads a bullet point in the latest issue of the Republican Review, a newsletter published by the Medina County Republican Executive Committee in Medina, Ohio. Sutton, who was elected to Congress in 2006, is only one of several state Democrats whose removal the newsletter calls for, but reporters and local politicians alike have seized upon this bit of phrasing as transparently sexist.
- Wasn't Meant to Be Sexist Bill Heck, chairman of the Medina County Republican Party, told the political blog Talking Points Memo that "I'm positive that [the newsletter] was not intended to be sexist." Heck didn't write the newsletter, he says; it came from the Medina GOP's communications committee. But as he told TPM, he does approve of all the literature the party distributes. Heck maintains that "we are just trying to get the attention of the voters. It is rhetoric that I think is very common in all elections, of sending people somewhere -- either to the House or back from the House. And we certainly apologize for any offense that anyone would take from this."
- How Is This Not Sexist? Washington Monthly's Steve Benen can't find any other way to read it. "For the record, Betty Sutton is an accomplished lawmaker and respected attorney -- and does not have a background as a professional chef," he writes. "In other words, there's nothing about the congresswoman's background that makes 'back in the kitchen' appropriate. The Republicans' rhetoric seems predicated entirely on gender."
- Time to Hit Back At EMILY's List, the reproductive-rights PAC that broke the story, Stephanie Schriock forms a battle plan. "I wish I could say I was shocked, but I can't," Schriock writes. "I can, however, say I'm appalled, annoyed, and ready to do something about it." She then links the reader to a page for entering contributions to Sutton's congressional campaign.
- 'An Insult to All Women' Sutton herself released a statement Friday, the full text of which can be seen on her Web site. "The statement in the mailer is an insult to all women regardless of whether they work within the home raising families and managing households or work beyond the home, providing for themselves and others," the statement read in part. "I call on Republican Tom Ganley to unequivocally denounce the comment immediately and for Medina County Republican Party Chairman Bill Heck, who continues to defend the belittling comment about women, to step down."