Calling Pelosi “Princess Nancy” Isn’t Just Bad Politics

Although there’s a rule “Thou shall not speak ill of fellow Republicans” sometimes a sexist remark is so egregious that even political allies will criticize their friends. While many conservatives pundits have defended Herman Cain on sexual harassment (or sexual assault) grounds, apparently calling former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “Princess Nancy” during last night’s debate was a bridge too far for some Republicans commentators.

Some were direct in their criticism of Cain’s remark

“She earned that title. It was contempt [Cain] showed her.” -- Republican strategist Steve Schmidt on MSNBC.

“Ay yi yi, former Speaker Pelosi called a princess in the debate? Not fair. We may disagree on policy, but she earned the Speaker title.” -- Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino on Twitter

Others seem to imply that it was only a problem in light of Cain’s reputation as a sexual harasser. (So the remark would have been fine if only Mitt Romney made it??)

Jennifer Rubin

“It was precisely the sort of disrespectful image he had been fighting for more than a week. For the first time, he came across as a jerk not a charmer.”

American Spectator

“[it] was ill advised given his recent troubles but probably won't move his numbers among Republican voters.”

Weekly Standard

“Cain said later in an interview with CNBC: ‘That was a statement I probably should not have made.’ Yes, probably.”

Of course not everyone even saw it as a problem. Conservative talk show how Laura Ingraham tweeted

Cain calling Pelosi "Princess Nancy"--much needed humor.

This was hardly a momentary “slip of the tongue” for Mr. Cain. He’s used the term on his Atlanta radio show before. It wasn’t right then when he was a member of the media and it’s not right now that he’s a political candidate.

But, as the Washington Post notes, it’s not like Cain invented the slur. Sean Hannity used it on Speaker Pelosi back in 2008.

It’s heartening to see that at least a couple of Republican commentators know that calling woman Speaker of the House “Princess” is below the belt. It would be better if more agreed that the problem isn’t just that it’s “bad politics” it’s also terribly sexist. 

Published by Kate McCarthy on 11/10/2011

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