Sen. Arlen Specter (PA-D)-- sounding all of his 80 years -- told Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-R) to "act like a lady" while they were sparring on the radio yesterday. From Early Returns:
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., took to the radio airwaves this afternoon to talk about President Barack Obama's first year in office and the fallout from the Massachusetts special election. Paired with conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., things got a little heated.
Ms. Bachmann declared last night's victory by Scott Brown a repudiation of Mr. Obama's policies. Mr. Specter then asked what, exactly, Ms. Bachmann is in favor of.
The Minnesotan detailed a list of fiscal changes: cutting the effective income tax rate to 22 percent, dashing capital gains taxes and eliminating the estate tax will stimulate the economy plenty, she said, as opposed to the overreach of the Obama administration with the stimulus and health care legislation. As Mr. Specter started to respond, Ms. Bachmann interjected to try to reinforce her point. Mr. Specter, clearly, did not appreciate the interruption.
"I'm going to treat you like a lady," Mr. Specter shot back. "Now act like one."
Ms. Bachmann replied, "I am a lady."
The two continued to spar and Mr. Specter later again asked Ms. Bachmann to "act like a lady" when things got heated.
No one who reads this blog can possibly think that I'm a fan of Rep. Bauchmann's, but asking a woman to "act like a lady" has all kinds of sexist and negative connotations that saying "act like a gentleman" does not have. Certainly some guy telling me to "act like a lady" while I was arguing with him would sound a whole lot to me like "how dare you forcefully express your opinion while having lady bits."
Arlen, you might want to drop future requests for ladylike behavior from your colleagues -- or any other woman -- here in the 21st Century.
Michele, if you had a feminist bone in your body, you would have called him out on this instead of protesting what a good little lady you are.