Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan. 20: Sexism In Coakley Loss? No, It Was More Like Arrogance

By Sylvia Gurinsky

There is still sexism in American politics. Sadly, there are still men and women across the country who won't vote for competent female candidates. Just as sadly, there are female candidates who try to make themselves into what they're not - or try to tone down who they are - in order to get votes.

But was sexism a factor in Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's loss in that state's United States Senate race?

Not really. Coakley had already won a statewide election for her current post.

The best female candidate - former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno comes to mind - can't win if she runs a lousy campaign. In 2002, Reno, running for governor of Florida, was let down by bad work by her campaign staff.

This time, Coakley deserves the brunt of the blame. She campaigned as if the Senate seat held by Sen. Edward Kennedy for 47 years was an entitlement for her and the Democratic Party.

Arrogance knows no gender. That's the primary lesson from yesterday's election. Both male and female candidates of all political stripes should take note.

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