A favorite American past time is poking fun of France. But the longer I live, the more I come to believe that they may just be on to something! Not only did they recently elect the non-traditional, progressive candidate, Emmanuel Macron (MEOW!), but they also lay claim to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. Karr was a brilliant author in the 1800’s who is well known for quotes such as, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which translates loosely to “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Indeed!
Yesterday, I was thrilled to announce my campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s third congressional district with a non-traditional campaign announcement video. If you have yet to see this gem, I encourage you to click the hyperlink in the previous sentence to ensure your life is complete.
This campaign is brand new, so many of my constituents may not know my history, so I’ll provide the Cliff Note version here: I was in the Navy at the end of the Persian Gulf War. It was a horrible time to be a woman in the Navy as my enlistment also fell during a little scandal called, “Tailhook” where aviators were called out for humiliating female sailors. I attended Drake University as a single parent after my service with the help of the Montgomery GI Bill; then, moved to Washington, DC and worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America for five years. In 2005 my small business was featured on Unscripted TV (Reality TV isn’t “real” – it’s just Unscripted). Shortly thereafter, I was offered a Campaign Manager position with the director of that TV show. I pulled up stakes and moved my daughter and I to Kentucky, where I managed an exciting primary run for Eric Streit in KY-01. After his loss, I became the Executive Director of a non-profit movie theater, pissed off Senator Mitch McConnell, got fired because Mitch called my Board of Directors and subsequently ran for the very same congressional seat that Eric ran for two years previously. That’s a ton of information to consume, so go ahead and re-read that paragraph if needed. It’s okay, I’ll wait …
Armed with the information above, now you know, “This ain’t my first rodeo”. When I ran for Congress in 2008, I was the youngest person and only woman to ever run in the district. I was also the most outspoken and didn’t hide the fact that I am staunchly Pro-Choice in a very red state. In short, I didn’t pretend to be something that I wasn’t. My opponent had been in office for 13 years and had a huge war chest of dough awaiting any challengers. I KNEW that I couldn’t win. But the benefit of knowing that you can’t win is also knowing that you have NOTHING to lose. So my campaign stepped outside of the box with a non-traditional campaign and ended up garnering more votes than any other Democrat had ever received against that Republican to and beyond that point (he resigned last year amid ethics violations – go figure). With a budget of $30,000, we garnered nearly 100,000 votes. I take it as a victory.
So when Pat Rynard of the blog, “Iowa Starting Line” tweeted that I am “nutty and people need to stop encouraging her” I was reminded of the press I received from the right wing newspaper, The Paducah Sun, during my previous congressional race. My response to this negative publicity was as follows … (watch this video)
The rest of this story assumes that you took four minutes from your life to watch the above speech (totally worth it).
So with you, Pat Rynard of Iowa Starting Line, I take the same position that I took with Bill Bartelman (who was a real reporter, by the way). “I don’t mind pissing you off!”. The only difference in this situation is that Bartelman was a Republican and Rynard proclaims to be a progressive. While I expect to be attacked by the right, I was caught off guard being attacked from the left. But referring back to Jean-Baptiste Karr’s wisdom, I should have expected to be labeled as “Nutty” and easily manipulated by the encouragement of others, by a male “reporter”. I do indeed, have a vagina, after all.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not “that” person who goes crying sexism whenever I have a poor review or experience. Hell, I was involved with Unscripted TV for ten years for Pete’s sake. You can’t have thin skin if you’re going to put your laundry out there for the world to consume. But after a lifetime of being singled out as “less” because of my gender, I can spot a sexist slight from thirty meters. So to Mr. Rynard I say, “Piss Off, Pat!” I don’t need your approval to run for office and I surely don’t need you to Mansplain how traditional campaigns with traditional candidates work. I have a degree from Drake and a lifetime of experience that has done a lot better job of preparing me for this race than a little twerp with poor fashion sense (how’s that mud slinging feel, little man?). The moment you start to back up your derogatory comment with solid reasoning is the moment I may start to respect you again. Or perhaps you will start to coin progressive male candidates as mentally unstable, since your blog now seems to be the “Iowa Inquirer” instead of a bastion of hard-hitting political insight.
“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“. Indeed. Very little has changed in nine years. #Sad