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Let’s Stop Using the Veneer of Feminism to Excuse Amy Klobuchar’s Unacceptable Behavior

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Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks during a campaign stop at the Marion County Democrats‘ soup luncheon at the Peace Tree Brewing Company on February 17th, 2019, in Knoxville, Iowa.

If you look closely at the accusations of sexism over criticisms of Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, you’ll see straw men everywhere.

Before Klobuchar announced her presidential bid on February 10th, reports emerged in HuffPost and other outlets that the senator is well known, in Minnesota and on Capitol Hill, as an abusive boss. Klobuchar has reportedly become violent with staffers, throwing office supplies at aides, and has sabotaged staffers seeking better jobs. Naturally, this behavior was reported as a potential concern by many within mainstream and progressive media.

Some observers, though, argued that we shouldn’t criticize Klobuchar‘s behavior because a male boss would be lauded for such aggression; therefore, to scrutinize Klobuchar for the same behavior is simply “sexist.” As Laura McGann wrote for Vox: “The same kind of behavior that damages women can benefit a man. He’s not a devil wearing Prada. He’s a devil to admire.” Liberal activist (and 2008 John McCain voter) Amy Siskind tweeted that any stories critiquing Klobuchar are “gendered bullshit.” Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign, wrote that, were a woman to hold her staff to the standard that some male politicians do, “she would be someone who was not able to stand on her own two feet without staff constantly holding her hand.” These writers point to Bill Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, and Donald Trump as men who have been praised for their aggressive or demanding or generally toxic behavior.

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