When Donald Trump suggested that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was lobbing unpleasant questions at him during the GOP debate last week because she was bleeding from "wherever," women "wherever" groaned in unison. Not again, we said, more in annoyance than anger.
It's the same reaction every caveman since Fred Flintstone has exhibited whenever Wilma crosses the imaginary line. It's the sound of Jackie Gleason saying "To the moon, Alice!" or Archie Bunker screaming "Geez, Edith!"
It's stupid, lazy and sometimes misogynistic. In Megyn Kelly's case, it was clearly misogynistic and anyone who says otherwise must not get a lot of second dates.
But not every criticism of a woman is a capital offense, nor does it qualify the speaker for chauvinist pig status. In this era of micro-aggressions, where we have to make sure we don't use the wrong words and thereby trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in our delicate female flowers, it has become more and more common to see women (or racial, sexual and ethnic minorities) redefine legitimate criticism as a hate crime. In the case of Pennsylvania's Attorney General Kathleen Kane, she's turned it into an art.
From the very first days of her tenure as attorney general, Double K has countered any push back from her political opponents or inquisitive media with claims of misogyny, saying "the old boys club" is out to get her. As recently as this week, when she gave a press conference that could have been choreographed and produced by Salvador Dali on Quaaludes, Kane has blamed the white, presumably heterosexual, presumably Christian, presumably middle-aged members of the GOP for her legal troubles, saying that "My defense will not be that I am the victim of an old boys' network or otherwise." Then she went on to blame the old boys' network and otherwise. And she made reference to pornography. And Jerry Sandusky. And former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. And more pornography.
If you didn't know this was the attorney general of Pennsylvania explaining why she had been charged with perjury, false swearing and obstruction of justice, you'd think this was a special episode of "To Catch a Predator" on NBC. She kept flipping her lovely hair (oops, misogyny trigger, sorry) and talking about "porngate" and droning on about things that were entirely irrelevant to the reason she was arraigned in the first place.
It was, perhaps, the most excruciatingly painful performance of a public official from the Keystone State since former treasurer Bud Dwyer put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger on live television. Even those of us who can't wait until she sinks into the Susquehanna, politically speaking, felt bad. Sort of.
And that is exactly what Kathleen Kane wants us to feel: sympathetic. She has turned this whole affair into a country music song where they (the "boys") done her wrong and she has to find that inner strength to go on. But whereas Loretta Lynn might have been a coal miner's daughter, the stuff Kathleen is shoveling is a lot more malleable.
Pointing out that a woman is vindictive, incompetent and chooses her enemies unwisely is not misogyny. It is a general observation and would be equally applicable to a male in a similar position.
So it's gotten really old and tired to hear people say that Kane was targeted because of her gender and point to this monolithic old boys' network that systematically cuts down capable females.
Hopefully, Kathy (is that misogynistic?) will step aside and put us out of our misery. It would save us the trouble of investigating impeachment, or pushing Gov. Tom Wolf to use Article VI of the state constitution to remove her for reasonable cause (I'm sure he could get at least two-thirds of the Senate to comply, as required by statute.) Someone has already filed a lawsuit to have her license suspended, and since you can't exactly be the chief law enforcement officer of the state if you don't have the right papers, this could get her to exit stage left as well.
This would leave the door open to a woman who never, in her entire life of public service, played the misogyny card. That woman is Philadelphia's pride and joy, Lynne Abraham, and it would be both a fitting end to her magnificent career in law enforcement and an antidote to the Kane pathology if she were appointed interim AG. The former judge and district attorney has allegedly contacted Wolf and volunteered her services.
Abraham has widespread support among both Democrats and Republicans because she has never come off as an ideologue or a partisan. Some Catholics might take issue with her involvement in the pedophile priest investigation and I myself have questioned the zeal with which the DA's office prosecuted those cases, but opposition and support do not come down along party lines. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady has expressed enthusiastic support for the idea, too, which is kind of like getting the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
Another plus is that, as an interim AG, Abraham would most likely not run for a full term. That would appease Republicans who might like to see one of their own in office. And Democrats would have an opportunity to cleanse their ranks of the questionable odor that surrounds the current attorney general and her ever-dwindling crew of supporters without too much heavy lifting.
Clearly, this is a win-win situation. But unless there is a way to convince Kane to step down, which she will not do, or force her out of office, which will be difficult, we are stuck with Tammy Wynette in the Capitol, singing her twangy ditty about the dirty old boys who had it in for the sweetheart of Scranton.
You know, that oldie but goody called "Misogyny."
Christine M. Flowers
Philadelphia Daily News