Submitted as evidence, incumbent Florida Congressman Steve Southerland:
Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) was criticized last week for hosting a male-only fundraiser in March, with his opponent Gwen Graham’s campaign calling the event “offensive.”
But Southerland laughed off the criticism to the Tampa Bay Times on Friday, comparing the event to a “lingerie party.”
“I live with five women. That’s all I’m saying. I live with five women,” Southerland said. “Listen: Has Gwen Graham ever been to a lingerie shower? Ask her. And how many men were there?”
This is usually where I’d make some “Republican Outreach to Women” joke, but in this case we’ve gone beyond party distinctions and gone straight to unimaginably stupid, and while I’m an unapologetic lefty I can still recognize that dumb is dumb.
Steve Benen seems to be particularly familiar with Southerland, having previously covered his lamentations over how his indentured servant-like $174,000/year House gig was barely worth the trouble. Earlier this month Benen caught a story wherein this Southerland dude is apparently lying about having previously supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, despite the fact that he voted against the Senate reauthorization bill that eventually became law. Southerland voted in favor of a House variant that changed VAWA just slightly, into the Violence Against Straight Non-Immigrant and Non-Native American Women Act, but he’s choosing to elide that particular discrepancy in his campaign materials. Here’s what Benen wrote about the lingerie shower bit:
Making matters worse, voters recently learned the conservative lawmaker hosted a men-only fundraising event a few months ago. The invitation, obtained by BuzzFeed, encouraged attendees to “tell the misses not to wait up” because “the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many.”
Southerland’s opponent, school administrator Gwen Graham (D), criticized the fundraiser, prompting the congressman to make matters just a little worse.
Asked to respond to the Democrats’ criticism that he’s anti-women, Southerland laughed and said: “I live with five women. That’s all I’m saying. I live with five women. Listen: Has Gwen Graham ever been to a lingerie shower? Ask her. And how many men were there?”
He didn’t appear to be kidding. In Southerland’s mind, a sitting congressman hosting a policy discussion with donors is comparable to women hosting a “lingerie shower.”
Steve Southerland was elected to the House in Two Thousand and by God Ten, not 1910 or 1850. His district actually has more registered Democrats than Republicans. Yet in the year Two Thousand and Are You Kidding Me Fourteen, he’s hosting male only fundraisers and telling people to “tell the misses not to wait up” because there’s so many important things that he and his district’s other Menfolk have to talk over. Then his defense of this Guy’s Night Out crap actually manages to belittle women even further. Benen thinks this will make Southerland vulnerable in November, but I’m sorry, first we need to figure out how the hell this guy got elected in the first place.