While I don’t know former Republican Senator Alan Simpson personally and can’t say definitively whether or not he is a sexist, his behavior says a lot about him. He’s repeatedly behaved and spoken in a manner completely consistent with sexists who have strong disdain for intelligent women. His schoolyard attempts at bullying women, the strange terms he uses, and his incredibly childish attempts at demeaning women who dare criticize with name calling are all trademarks of a sexist.
I’ve been shocked by Simpson’s outrageous behavior while following the debate over the future of Social Security. His letter to the Ashley B. Carson, Executive Director of Order Women’s League, was filled with sexist undertones. Telling the executive director of a women’s organization to “Call when you get honest work!” shows he has only disdain for an organization dedicated to helping women.
Most recently Simpson has attacked MSNBC’s openly lesbian anchor Rachel Maddow after she dared to question his greatness. In a manner more appropriate to an elementary school yard than a serious policy debate, Simpson referred to Maddow as “Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is.” The reference appears to be a slight about her sexuality and more masculine appearance than is common for women on cable news networks.
Now it’s possible that Simpson is not a sexist or a homophobe. He might just be an angry old bully who lashes out at everyone who dares question him, regardless of gender. But the sexist tone of a number of his attacks really stand out.
I could care less about Simpson’s behavior if it weren’t for the fact that President Obama appointed him co-chair of the bipartisan President’s Deficit Commission. It’s disconcerting that Obama tolerates this sexist behavior. Why would he appoint Simpson and stay silent as Simpson used the perch Obama gave him to lash out in such a childish manner and pointedly against women?