Forget ‘Minnesota Nice.’ Amy Klobuchar’s Rage Is Exactly What She Needs Right Now.
Published in The Washington Post
on February 20, 2020
The mostly male pundit class panned Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) angry exchange with former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg at the close of Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Nevada. I think female viewers saw it very differently.
For the men, Klobuchar’s barely concealed rage was a big negative. They opined that she had lost her cool, that Buttigieg had gotten under her skin. Her response to his attack that she was unqualified to be president because she had momentarily forgotten the name of Mexico’s president — “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” — was viewed as weak. And her final gibe — “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete” was called over-the-top.
Women in my Twitter feed, however, saw their clashes very differently. To them, Buttigieg is an archetype: the barely competent “boy wonder” who skates to promotions on his confidence and ties with the male boss while the woman does the hard work. “Every woman in corporate America has had a male coworker who went to an elite school, doesn’t produce much and keeps getting promoted anyway,” one woman wrote. “You’ve never been a far more experienced and qualified woman passed over by a less experienced mediocre man,” wrote another. “[Klobuchar’s anger] resonates with a lot of women.”
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Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.