IVN News

California NOW President calls Meg Whitman a political whore

Last week, California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (D) came under fire when a voicemail inadvertently recorded a private conversation in which a Brown aide suggests that Republican candidate Meg Whitman is a whore for cutting a deal with police over law enforcement pensions, and Jerry Brown approves.

(The Los Angeles Times has the full audio here.)

First, Brown’s campaign manager issued a rather reserved apology, which remarked on the quality of the audio in the recording as well as the private nature of the conversation before offering that “at times” the campaign’s language was “salty.”

Brown did not address the issue until this Tuesday’s debate, offering an also rather tepid apology that NOW President Terry O’Neill called “a necessary step”, but criticized as “overdue” and “accompanied by the assertion that these sorts of comments are part and parcel to what happens inside political campaigns.”

But, NOW seems to be sending mixed signals as to its position on Brown and the use of the word “whore.” Their California PAC endorsed Brown “on the basis of his support for women’s rights” (a thinly-veiled euphemism for legal abortion) despite his campaign’s use of a word that NOW’s national president strongly condemned by saying:

“…the National Organization for Women clearly and unequivocally condemns calling Meg Whitman, or any woman, a whore. This term is hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society. NOW calls on Brown to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.”

Whether NOW intends for it to or not, its message comes off as unconditional support for any candidate regardless of how backwards and hate-filled his campaign’s private rhetoric is by NOW’s own standards, so long as he supports legal abortion.

Without getting into a debate over that contentious issue, it’s worth asking whether NOW is truly a feminist organization after all, or like Planned Parenthood, more interested in promoting women’s “reproductive rights” in particlar, than its purported feminist values in general.

And the mixed signals don’t stop there. After initially calling for the Brown campaign to fire whichever staffer suggested that Meg Whitman is a whore, O’Neill backed off this position hours later, calling the scandal a “teachable moment” and saying that “anyone who says the ‘W’ word from here on should be fired.”

But, perhaps she should have a talk with the president of NOW’s California chapter, who recently insisted to Talking Points Memo that “Meg Whitman could be described as a political whore.” She is also on record at The Daily Caller arguing that while “whore” was a poor choice of words, the description was accurate.

What Americans deserve to know is what NOW really thinks about the use of the word “whore” to describe female political candidates, and what NOW really stands for in general.

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


Learn More About IVN

We've updated article comments! Our new Facebook Comments system is much faster and easier to use. Note that your old comments may not display in the new system yet, but our team is working on a solution to import old comments.