The XX Factor

Hot Campaign Tactic: Impugning Your Opponent’s Manhood

As Amanda pointed out yesterday, Sarah Palin taunted Barack Obama recently for not having the “cojones” to deal with immigration. She’s not the only Republican woman fighting using gendered-language warfare to belittle her opponents. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , Palin enthusiast and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel “told runoff opponent Nathan Deal on Sunday that it was ‘time to put the big boy pants on’ and stop ‘squealing’ about her campaign ads that describe him as a ‘corrupt relic of Washington, D.C.’” Georgians vote August 10* in the runoff, and Handel is currently in the lead -her tough talking is paying off. In her campaign thus far, Karen Handel has already embraced Palin’s mama grizzly mantra, implying that her maternal, female touch is just what the state of Georgia needs .

At the same time, last month Handel complained that Deal’s campaign literature was sexist , because he uses the slogan “Deal. Real.” and said that “real women” support him-which means that women who support her aren’t “real.” If Handel’s that concerned about sexism, she should probably stop insinuating that her opponent’s not a “real” man.

* Correction, Aug. 3, 2010: The original version of this post incorrectly identified the runoff date.