NOW wants more contrition from Jerry Brown

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown may have the National Organization for Women California chapter’s endorsement, but it apparently doesn’t have a lock on the national NOW’s respect.

From the group’s website:

Last night at the California gubernatorial debate, Jerry Brown apologized for a member of his campaign staff suggesting Meg Whitman, his opponent in the race, be called a “whore.” This overdue apology was a necessary step; however, it was accompanied by an assertion that these sorts of comments are part and parcel of what happens inside political campaigns. If so, that needs to change.

While our California chapter’s Political Action Committee voted to endorse Brown on the basis of his support for women’s rights, the National Organization for Women clearly and unequivocally condemns calling Meg Whitman, or any woman, a whore. This term is hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society.

NOW calls on Brown to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.

For those who didn’t see it last night, moderator Tom Brokaw asked Brown about the recorded comment; Brown said his campaign had issued a prompt apology, and he repeated that apology to Whitman there at the debate.

But he also encouraged Whitman to chastise her campaign chairman, former Gov. Pete Wilson, for having called Congress “whores” to public-sector unions. Whitman – both during the debate and afterward, taking questions from reporters – said it’s an entirely different matter, but declined to elaborate why that’s so.

Brown, for his part, refused to answer reporters’ question about whether the person who’d used the word on the recording is his wife, Anne Gust Brown.

UPDATE @ 10:01 A.M. THURSDAY: NOW later last night amended the final paragraph of its statement to say, “NOW calls on Brown, from this point forward, to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.” (Emphasis added to denote the added words.)

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    What’s NOW urging, an arrest warrant? “Whore” is a very old word that in addition to denoting “sex worker” also meant idolator and someone who pursues vice. Nowadays, “whore” connotes someone who will stoop to any level to obtain money or favors, as in “Laugh Whore,” Mario Cantone’s monologue performance on Broadway a decade ago. NOW’s righteous indignation is laughable. Just another milestone in a slime-covered political season devoid of ideas.

  • Montana

    Griff Harsh, the husband of California gubernatorial candidate Nutmeg Whitman, acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that “it is possible” he received and wrote notes on a letter from the Social Security Administration back in 2003, regarding the former Housekeeper/Maid. The Harsh/ Whitman household then fired their housekeeper in June 2009 (after nine years of service), when Nutmeg handlers decided that she was an election liability.

    And now the Jill Armstrong, a former full-time nanny of the Harsh/ Whitman dungeon, came to the defense of the Housekeeper/Maid and told the San Francisco Chronicle that she believes Diaz’s claim because she “know[s] the family” and “what it was like.”

    Meg, Meg, Meg, where do I start, you have reportedly spent $140 million of your own money to get elected Governor but you couldn’t use some of it to get your housekeeper (after nine years of service) some legal help to get her papers, and worse you lied about it. Wow, what a WITCH, of course I meant it with a “B”.



    But your comments on holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers real takes the cake, I assume you exempt yourself and your husband, or will you be turning yourself in.

    Meg on holding employers accountable:

    Meg you think you can buy the election, but what puzzles many is if you real cared and loved California then why not do your civic duty and vote, seems more rhetoric than anything else.

    In good times we might give you a try but not in our disaster mode that we find ourselves in after that so-called outsider Independent Republican, named Arnold Schwarzenegger (sold to us by radio personalities John and Ken), ruined our state, yah we will trust another one of you liars, think not. And another thing nine years this maid was in your house, in your house and you failed to learned this major thing about her, come on this sounds like a huge lie that no one can believe in.

    Ebay paid out $200,000 because Nutmeg assaulted an employee, so it’s not the first time she has mistreated an employee. Good luck winning Nutmeg, money will buy you admiration from the majority just from the Gay Old Party (GOP), but not from all of California.

  • John W

    It’s not a word I would use in any context, but everybody knows what it means in a political context. Meg would have been smarter to laugh it off rather than play the victim. The substance of the story was that she gave away the store on pension reform to police and fire (presumably including the prison guards). She says not by claiming that, while they would still get defined benefit, retirement age would be upped to 55; and they would have to contribute more. Problem is, whatever is done at the state level will become the standard for local government, where police and fire account for 70% of expenses. If they are excluded from major reform, making everybody else go 401k won’t accomplish much. I agree that defined benefit makes more sense for people who typically can’t be expected to work to normal, mid-60’s retirement age. But it can’t be 90% plus cost-of-living adjustments. And the pension accrual rate needs to be dramatically lower on income above $100k.

  • For Liberty


    May I suggest another choice for you in this CA gubernatorial race:


  • Madison

    The majority of Californians are sick of the GOP and the failure of steroid Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger,what a joke. Are you surprise that the majority are turning away from the Nutmeg. She will fail in her attempt to buy the election. The only positive the is that some sleazy GOP consultants made some money.

  • Elwood

    What would us ignorant unwashed masses do without John W to explain it all to us?

    I wonder if he’s ever considered getting a life.

  • John W

    Re #6

    Elwood, your concern for me having a life is touching. Much appreciated. I am truly sorry if the frequency or substance of my comments give you a headache. If you disagree with anything, I welcome your always thoughtful and kindly phrased rebuttals. Otherwise, I recommend taking two aspirin and using the scroll bar to skip over stuff that’s not of interest to you.