“Let’s take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen.”

That’s from the Republican Review, published by the Medina County (OH) Republican Party; Sutton is running for a third term in OH-13.

That’s a direct quote from a newsletter sent out by a county Republican party in Ohio, where Betty Sutton is running for a third term in the 13th CD. The county party chair admits sending it out, and is sorry if  (!) it offended anyone. The Republican candidate, Tom Ganley, apparently had a paid ad in the mailer, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to think he knew about the “kitchen” remark. Sutton, naturally, is kicking up a fuss, and implying that Ganley had more responsibility that seems to be the case.

The mailer was supported by funds from a Republican multimillionaire challenger by the name of Tom Ganley who has decided he wants to take my place in Congress. Ganley placed a huge advertisement in the flier to build support for the campaign to – how did they put it – oh, yes, to get me “out of the House and back in the kitchen.”

In the absence of evidence that Ganley knew the offensive sentence was going to appear in the mailer,  it’s not fair to link it directly to him; candidates don’t control county party committees, and shouldn’t be held to account for those committees’ stupid pet tricks. Equivocation on that point doesn’t do Sutton’s campaign any credit.

But Ganley, having even unwittingly helped pay to send that garbage out, is now stuck. Obviously he doesn’t want to say that a county GOP chair is a witless misogynist, but that’s the case, and he absolutely has to say so, and in stronger terms than this:

“I don’t believe in stereotypes of any kind,” Ganley said in an e-mailed statement. “Clearly the words used were inappropriate, but with unemployment over 11 percent in Ohio we need to stick to the issues.”

“Inappropriate”?  Man, that’s harsh! And I’m sure all the women in OH-13 will be glad to know that misogyny is no longer one of the “issues.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

4 thoughts on ““Let’s take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen.””

  1. So Ganley placed a huge ad in this Republican committee direct-mail flyer WITHOUT knowing what it was going to say? That seems terminally reckless — especially given the sort of loons that the Republican Party attracts nowadays. I think Ganley is screwed either way — either he didn't know what the flyer was going to say, and he is a reckless fool; or he DID know, and he is a clueless misogynist as well as a liar.

  2. But "Oops, I wasn't malevolent, I just didn't do due diligence" has been one of the most effective defenses of the past decade. It's to the point where a republican politician would be stupid to inform themselves fully.

  3. Mark,

    I agree with Diesel Kitty. If someone says, "We're going to send your flyer out with some other stuff," then surely you have a responsibility to ask about the "other stuff."

    You let Ganley off too easy.

  4. I have mixed feelings about this, mostly because I don't know all that much about the facts of the situation. If this county Republican party had a long track record of sending out inoffensive newsletters, then it would seem reasonable for Ganley to expect this to continue, and view the newsletter as a good way to reach committed Republicans in the county. Even if they had no track record at all, so long as they didn't have a bad track record then the newsletter might seem like a good tool for the purpose. After all, it's an official publication of the local Republican party, being sent to local Republicans – seems like a perfectly reasonable place to take out an ad.

    On the other hand, his response after the fact was absurd. He and his party has been disgraced by a person in a position of local authority. Saying it's unfortunate but not what you want to talk about is not a sufficient response.

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