Politics

NOW endorses Jerry Brown for California governor despite Brown staffer calling Republican opponent a ‘whore’

While some were offended when they heard California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown’s mistakenly recorded message in which a member of Brown’s campaign referred to his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, as a “whore,” the National Organization for Women (NOW) apparently was not. Instead of rushing to decry the misogynistic language, NOW endorsed Brown — less than a day after the message hit the news-cycle.

“As Governor, Mayor, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown has promoted and defended women’s rights,” California NOW (CA-NOW) President Patty Bellasalma said. “Jerry stands for fairness and equality and never ever backs down. We have every confidence that he will do the same as California’s next governor.”

NOW’s backing of Brown remains somewhat curious, not just because of the “whore” comment, but also because some believe that Brown’s history does not show him to be the type of “enlightened” thinker that some might expect a NOW-endorsed candidate to be.

Amy Siskind, president of the feminist group The New Agenda, told The Daily Caller that Brown has a pattern of disrespecting women. “I think [we are] getting a really good sense now of the tone of Jerry Brown’s campaign as far as his own personal views, not only of Meg Whitman but of women in general, and it’s very disturbing,” Siskind said.

Siskind’s group reports that during his initial foray as governor, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Brown was unapologetically hostile toward working mothers. “More women should be in the home, taking care of their children. Then we’d have fewer social problems,” they quote Brown as having said.

When presented with the quote, Bellasalma told TheDC that they stood behind Brown despite such comments, chalking his words up to a long career, during which time he most likely made some gaffes. “Anyone that is in public life and is constantly under the public scrutiny from time to time is going to say inappropriate things based on being tired or just simply at that particular time in his life he wasn’t schooled enough,” Bellasalma said.

Further complicating the matter is the fact that Brown has been somewhat shaky on one of NOW’s primary issues: abortion. While Meg Whitman has always been pro-choice, Brown has wavered.

Despite his past dalliances with pro-life sentiment, CA-NOW explained in their endorsement announcement that much of their support is due to his pro-choice advocacy and work.

University of Virginia professor and political analyst Larry Sabato told TheDC that NOW’s endorsement is no mystery. It all boils down to politics.

“NOW almost always endorses the more liberal candidate, irrespective of gender, so this endorsement is no surprise,” he said. “And women are more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate than men, even when the Republican nominee is a woman. The gender gap is a semi-permanent and now deeply ingrained part of our politics. It is now a thirty-year old phenomenon.”

NEXT: CA-NOW says ‘whore’ accurate description for Whitman, even if poor choice of words