WashPost Cheers Alison Lundergan Grimes: ‘Running With, Not From, Gender. (In Heels.)’

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is challenging Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in November, and the Kentucky Democrat seems to be the liberal media’s newest political darling. 

A front-page Washington Post piece by Ben Terris on Thursday, May 22 declared that Ms. Grimes is “Running With, Not From, Gender. (In Heels.)” before devoting nearly all of the 27-paragraphs article championing her “no pantsuit politics.” 

Terris’s piece focused primarily on how Grimes hopes to use her gender to her advantage:

Ever since a Republican strategist used the insult [empty dress] months ago to belittle the 35-year-old Grimes, she has made it a rallying point in her quest to dislodge the Senate’s GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, from the Kentucky seat he has held for three decades. Her point is not subtle. Grimes, unabashedly embracing the political upside of her gender, is suggesting that McConnell, 72, is not taking this female challenger (or other women) as seriously as he should. 

The article then hyped how Grimes used her gender to further promote her candidacy: 

Grimes’s approach, in contrast, may most closely resemble that of Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee, who made a splash by showcasing herself as a lipstick-wearing hockey mom, unafraid of tangling with her male adversaries. 

Terris continued the gender theme to show how Grimes has sought to further draw a contrast with Senator McConnell: 

Of all the differences, though, she has most emphasized gender. Often appearing in a brightly colored dress, Grimes repeatedly refers to her wardrobe in her campaign addresses, even talking about her high heels. She calls herself a “strong Kentucky woman” or an “independent Kentucky woman” and, as she did Tuesday night, describes her grandmother as “one of the fiercest Kentucky women I know.”

The Post piece then included a large quote by Ms. Grimes that proclaimed “This is a Kentucky woman through and through, who proudly wears a dress” before promoting one of her attacks on her GOP opponent: “In speech after speech, Grimes cites her support for equal pay and says McConnell is “on the wrong side of every women’s issue.” 

Terris’s article continued with bolded section headlines that declared “Female voters seen as key" and how Ms. Grimes is “Standing strong in heels.” The former section was fairly straightforward, describing how McConnell has emphasized the role women play both in his personal life but in the life of all Kentuckians. However, the section entitled “Sanding strong in her heels” was pure Grimes propaganda. Terris declared: 

In her appearances, Grimes speaks with an authoritative tone and often leads call-and-response chants with crowds. She attributes her determination to her “mama,” and she takes the stage for her speeches with speakers blasting Katy Perry’s “roar.”

“This is a Kentucky woman through and through, who proudly wears a dress,” she said at one of her final stops along a statewide bus tour that culminated with Tuesday’s primary. She paused looked down at her strawberry-red outfit, and let the crowd of a few dozen supporters whoop and holler at the inside joke.” [One] who thinks on her own, who has an independent mind but does what is best for the people of this state.” 

The pro-Grimes puff piece concluded with Terris highlighting one last attack by Grimes on McConnell: 

“I have stood strong in these heels,” she said shortly after her speech in a brief interview inside her bus. “I’ve run circles around [McConnell] in this state in my heels, and we’re going to continue to do that.” 

In contrast to the Terris promotional piece, the Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler critiqued a recent campaign ad in which Grimes attacks how Senator McConnell “Never gone without a pay raise for himself, [Sen. Mitch McConnell] quadrupled his net worth on the packs of hardworking Kentuckians that can’t afford it.”

Kesller gave the Grimes ad “3 Pinocchios” for the following reason: 

McConnell’s wealth may be fair game when trying to highlight his current opposition to Democrats’ efforts to boost the minimum wage. Grimes is correct that he has generally opposed increases in the minimum wage. McConnell has voted at least once for a bipartisan bill to increase the minimum wage – and that was when it was paired with cuts in small business taxes.

 

But that does not give Grimes license to suggest that somehow the increase in his wealth came from being on a public payroll with pay raises that McConnell voted for—“on the backs of hardworking Kentuckians that can’t afford it.” Rather, this is money that his wife inherited, meaning it has nothing to do with his earnings as a U.S. senator.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.