It's that time of year, people! The heat is on in the 2012 election, which means attack dogs are out in droves, ready to pounce and rile up the crowds. President Obama and Mitt Romney aren't the only ones at each other's throats. Plenty of senators and congresspeople running for re-election this year are using tough talk to appeal to their constituents. But there's a big difference between strong words and completely inappropriate expressions.
That was made very clear by a total foot-in-mouth moment that played out on Facebook earlier this week, when Jay Townsend, a longtime GOP communications director and the spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth's (R-NY) re-election campaign, suggested that the constituents "hurl some acid" at female Democratic senators for wanting to enforce equal pay laws, like the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Townsend was responding to comments made by a commenter named "Tom" during an online debate over gas prices. Townsend wrote:
Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz. My question today ... when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let's hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won't abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.
Wow. Now, I'm never one to champion walking on eggshells in an effort to be overly PC, but sometimes, political correctness is a necessity ... like when you're representing someone who is running for re-election and don't want to come off as an insensitive, hateful jerk! And this remark completely crossed the line.
As ThinkProgress.com points out, hurling acid is a major form of gender-based violence ... a form we've sadly seen used as recently as four days ago, when two women and a 2-year-old were injured in Pakistan in an attack. And 72 percent of the time, victims of acid-throwing are women.
There's simply no good excuse for employing such a graphic, violent, vile concept in this context. It's unacceptable in every way. Townsend should be ashamed of himself, but beyond that, it's a shock that he still remains Rep. Hayworth's spokesman. (If only because he's totally tainted her campaign with this unprofessional move!) And until she denounces the remark, I guess voters will have to assume Rep. Hayworth has no problem relying on violent, inappropriate rhetoric to intimidate and belittle her opponents.
How do you feel about this remark? Do you think Townsend should be fired?
Image via Medill DC/Flickr