It sure didn't take long for someone to blame Martha Coakley's defeat in Tuesday's Massachusetts special election on sexism.
If you thought it was because of the economy, or a backlash against Obama's agenda and/or healthcare reform, think again, for Jeannie Cummings and Erika Lovley of Politico claim Scott Brown won because he's a man and his opponent was a woman.
As their piece was published only a few hours after Coakley's concession speech, you've got to figure Cummings and Lovley were well-prepared to point this predictable finger if the woman who even Democrats admit ran an absolutely lousy campaign -- can you say "Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan?" -- lost (h/t Jennifer Rubin):
Before the votes were even counted, her fellow Democrats had compiled a list of reasons why Martha Coakley had struggled: anemic retail politics, a blind-eye to shifting momentum and an inexplicable appearance on a sports talk radio show that led her to misidentify a Red Sox star.
There was truth to them all. But they also glossed over an obstacle that received far less attention in her losing bid for the Senate: a glass ceiling that remains almost impenetrable, even in the blue state of Massachusetts.
To get an idea of how mind-bending the gender dynamics in this campaign were, consider this:
If a male attorney general and former prosecutor had been running against a woman who’d posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine and whose law practice consisted mainly of real estate closings, would he have been the one reduced to praying for a squeaker victory? Would she have even gotten elected to the state Senate?
No and no are the probable answers. But it is an illustration of the kind of double standard voters apply to female candidates — a double standard that some longtime women’s advocates see in the success of Republican Scott Brown, whose college-aged centerfold and lesser professional success didn’t prevent him from capturing Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat from the Democrats.
Oh, puhleez. This sort of woe is me/her is getting old. The indifference to all other political facts and phenomena in order to play the gender victim card is tiresome. There is of course no real evidence of this sexism. Nor does anyone think Coakley actually deserved to win. In fact, the reporters say that Coakley’s gender worked to her advantage in the primary and that gender really didn’t come up in the race. The best the duo can come up with is one female Boston Herald columnist who made some cracks, a Teamster boss who wouldn’t vote “for a broad,” one crude comment by someone in the crowd at one Brown rally, and some Internet commenters. That’s it.
There are plenty of legitimate theories to explain the results in Massachusetts. Sexism isn’t one of them, however. The reporters only embarrass themselves and their publication by crying sexism with nothing to back it up.