Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read
• November 3, 2014 9:58 am


My must read of the day is "Tom Harkin: Don’t Be Fooled Because Joni Ernst Is "Really Attractive," "Sounds Nice," in BuzzFeed:

Retiring Democratic Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says that Iowa voters shouldn’t be fooled because Joni Ernst is "really attractive" and "sounds nice."

"In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads," Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. "And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’"

"Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa."

This is an incredibly intelligent comment from a United States senator, because it is impossible to read or listen and formulate opinions about policy if a pretty lady is the one saying them—and thank goodness Sen. Harkin is there to remind us of this, right?

Yeah, no.

It’s not.

This is obnoxiously sexist and the comment speaks for itself. Not only is Harkin reducing Ernst to the bone structure of her face, he’s insulting voters in Iowa by suggesting they are too stupid to cast a ballot based on their understanding of a candidates policy positions, if they have a pretty face.

When people make comments like this—and we saw it earlier in this election cycle when a Republican strategist referred to Alison Lundergan Grimes as an "empty dress"—it’s a pathetic act of desperation that only seems to come when the female candidate is winning.

In this cycle, women on the left and right are making history. If Ernst wins, she would be the first woman the state has ever sent to Congress. In West Virginia, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is expected to win the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, and if she does she’ll be the first female senator from that state.

Democrat Mary Burke was the "first woman nominated by a major party to be governor of Wisconsin," and there are many more examples of women, who in recent years, became the first women to be governors of their state.

Whether you agree with their policies or not, none of these women are where they are simply because they have a pretty face. They might be pretty, but their success is because they’re smart and capable.

I desperately wish Sen. Harkin wasn’t retiring so some fine citizen could have the chance to ever so thoughtfully warn his constituents about voting for him simply because he looks like Mr. Feeny and speaks in such an agreeable tone.

Published under: 2014 Election, Joni Ernst, Tom Harkin