The Republican primary for Governor is heating up with ads from the candidates and unaffiliated organizations. Over the weekend a columnist for The Arizona Republic lamented that so far it was a “sorry set” of ads. But, his reasoning for one of them in particular, struck a nerve with me. He wrote:
[Christine] Jones has also been criticized for saying some kind things about Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. I suspect this attack is gender tone-deaf.
Among women professionals, there is still an “I am Woman” thing that transcends party registration. My guess is that Republican women professionals understand what Jones was saying and won’t hold it against her. The ad may even help her with what has to be her key demographic target.
The ad he’s discussing can be found here.
It’s insulting to women to suggest that we can’t fairly and objectively judge candidates before giving them extra points for being the same gender. In this case, Christine Jones praised Hillary Clinton after she left the State Department (and three months after the attacks in Benghazi). Jones wrote, “Hillary Clinton will continue to stand out as a capable and respected leader.”
It’s even more “tone-deaf” to praise someone’s leadership following such a horrific security failure. Jones also wrote, “Americans… will begin to realize what an effective secretary of state Hillary Clinton was…” and the “incredibly high standard [Clinton] set.”
Following the ad airing across the state, Jones doubled-down on her comments and said Clinton, compared to John Kerry, was the “adult in the room.”
It’s ridiculous that the Arizona Republic columnist, and, apparently, Jones, think that a woman is expected to praise another woman regardless of judgment of character or failure of leadership. Any “sisterhood” that demands women defend one another because of their gender and not their principles or experience does us all a disservice. Suggesting otherwise is just plain tone-deaf. Period.