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Outrageous: Ohio Republicans Tell Female Representative to Get "Back in the Kitchen"

This story originally appeared on the Washington Monthly. When Republicans use sexism to go after Democratic women, there are varying degrees of subtly. Late last year, for example, the National Republican Congressional Committee suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be "put her in her place" for disagreeing with an Army general about Afghanistan policy. The subtext seemed pretty obvious. But in northeast Ohio this week, the Republican Executive Committee in Medina County dropped the pretense altogether while going after Rep. Betty Sutton (D).
A recent Medina GOP mailer that urges voters to "take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen," has angered the Emily's List political action committee, which raises money for female Democratic candidates. "They're set on defeating Cong. Betty Sutton (OH-13), whom we helped elect in 2006, and filling her spot with a conservative loyalist. And how will they go about doing that? By sending her right where they think she (and all women) belong: the kitchen," says a posting on the group's website, which links to a fundraising page for Sutton. "I wish I could say I were shocked, but I can't. I can, however, say I'm appalled, annoyed, and ready to do something about it."
It's not just Emily's List that finds this offensive. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. For Republicans to still talk about forcing women "back in the kitchen" should be insulting to anyone who takes equality seriously. For the record, Betty Sutton is an accomplished lawmaker and respected attorney -- and does not have a background as a professional chef. In other words, there's nothing about the congresswoman's background that makes "back in the kitchen" appropriate. The Republicans' rhetoric seems predicated entirely on gender. Medina County GOP Chairman Bill Heck said the mailing was sent to roughly 15,000 Republican households in Ohio, and he "had not received any complaints." He might think that makes this better. It actually makes it worse -- why don't those GOP households have a problem with this blatant misogyny?