It’s not quite “man up, Harry Reid.” But it’s not far off.
Hotelier Sue Lowden is seemingly delighting in taunting her primary opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race, state Sen. Mark Hutchison. And her taunting inverts traditional gender roles, as she tries to gain political points by rhetorically gelding her opponent.
First, Lowden suggested Hutchison wouldn’t be able to spend enough time on the job, because he still had young children at home. (No, really, she did.) If the candidates’ positions had been reversed, and Hutchison had dropped a similar remark about Lowden, he’d instantly have been accused of abject sexism. But the comment — coming from a woman, about a man, and a Republican woman at that — created hardly a stir in the race.
Second, Lowden has cheerfully confronted Hutchison about his record, smiling while he literally gave her the cold shoulder on live TV.
And now, Lowden has written to Hutchison’s (male) campaign manager, Mike Slanker, to ask if Hutchison can come out and play.
“Thank you for allowing your client, Sen. Mark Hutchison, to debate me on Nevada Newsmakers next month. I’m writing this letter to respectfully ask that you please change your mind and allow your client to debate me on several other TV and/or radio stations in the Nevada lieutenant governor race,” Lowden’s letter says. (Nevada Newsmakers is a television show hosted by Sam Shad that annually “honors” a politician to raise money for charity.)
“And just as Mark would never duck cross-examination by the judge and opposing counsel in a court of law, I can’t imagine that he’s afraid to answer questions by his opponent and the media in the court of public opinion,” Lowden concludes. “He just needs you to let him. And that’s why I’m writing today, Mike. Won’t you please give Mark another try? I’m sure he’ll do better next time; he just needs you to show a little confidence in him. And besides, how’s he ever going to learn if you don’t let him play? Come on, Mike. Put him back in the game.”
So not only is Lowden insinuating that Hutchison is afraid of debating (and of a girl, to boot!) but she’s insinuating that he’s not even man enough to make decisions pertaining to his own campaign. While it’s essentially the equivalent of calling Marty McFly “chicken,” and expecting him to do whatever he’s been challenged to do, it’s also a blatant attempt to politically emasculate Hutchison before Republican primary voters, and goad him into making a big mistake.
If Hutchison does agree to more debates, don’t be surprised if Lowden challenges him to “man up.”