Monday, January 18, 2010

Running for Political Office, Ladies? Better Keep Your Husband "Interested"

So, let me get this straight. If I was contemplating a run for political office (which I'm not), according to Rutgers University law professor Michael Livingston I'd damn well better be able to keep my husband "interested."

I can't make this stuff up, people. You can read Mr. Livingston's words from his December 16, 2009 blog post right here.

Or here:

"You know it’s the holiday season when everyone gets, well, a bit silly. A couple of examples:
Dawn Stensland—Let me get this straight. She can’t keep her husband interested, and she wants to take on Pat Meehan in the 7th? Last year’s candidate (Craig Williams) didn’t win, but he always showed up with the same woman."
(the link is Mr. Livingston's, not mine; it was included in his post).

For the benefit of those not in the Philadelphia area, some background: Dawn Stensland (pictured at left) is a former news anchor and reporter, last with FOX29, and who recently announced that she is thinking about running for Congress in the 7th district .

Ms. Stensland is also married to Larry Mendte, who was the news anchor for a competing Philadelphia station when he was charged with hacking into the email account of his co-anchor, Alycia Lane, and leaking them to the media. Mendte also admitted to having "improper relations" with Lane.

(This all happened two years ago, mind you.)

Mr. Mendte has since served his full term of house arrest for those charges; both Stensland and Mendte have been forthcoming about the situation and circumstances (and whether one agrees with Stensland's decision to stay in her marriage or not, she is widely regarded as handling the situation with class and dignity). To their credit, both Stensland and Mendte are working hard to rebuild their personal and professional lives. As well they should and are entitled to do.

Hence, the possible run for office on Ms. Stensland's part, which blogger/Rutgers law professor Michael Livingston feels she isn't qualified for.

Because of her failure to keep her husband "interested."

OK. Deep breath, folks. I got a few things to say on this one. Not to mention, I feel compelled to check my calendar because, hello? What century are we living in here?

Are we really saying that just because a woman's spouse has "improper relations" that this automatically disqualifies one for public office? Are we really? Isn't that just a wee bit sexist to say that the whole scandal is Dawn's fault, and clearly, if she can't control things in the bedroom, she won't be able to control ... anything else?


In the response to the equally-dismayed-like-me commentators on his blog post, Mr. Livingston claims that Ms. Stensland hasn't demonstrated any qualifications for seeking public office. Which justifies his insinuations that she shouldn't even think about running because she can't keep her husband "interested."

That's the lowest of the low roads, Mr. Livingston. Instead of actually interviewing Ms. Stensland about the issues and asking substantive questions on the issues and what she would do as a candidate, you decided it would be easier to take the cheap shot and denigrate her. Her family. Her professional reputation.

I mean, his blog post doesn't even make any sense. (Some may say this one doesn't either, but I'm not a university professor responsible for instructing impressionable minds nor someone with a public platform.) What's up with "Last year's candidate (Craig Williams) didn't win but at least he always showed up with the same woman." What does that have to do with anything, much less whether one is qualified for higher office?

We would be much better served, I say, if we had more females in politics. But we're never going to get there when we have the likes of Michael Livingston to kick us when we're down, blogging about our prowess in the bedroom and marital charms.

There is one point of agreement that I have with Mr. Livingston's post. It's the concluding sentence, where where he writes:

"Maybe some people need an early vacation."

Yes, indeed. Maybe some people need a permanent vacation.

Rutgers University School of Law started their semester on January 6. The university would do well by giving Mr. Livingston the opportunity to start packing.

(Also well worth reading: Dawn Stensland's husband Larry Mendte's post "Sexism Alive and Well in National and Local Politics" from his blog, The Mendte Report)

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

1 comment:

Book Dragon said...

I agree about the vacation.