Oh, Kentucky, this is not your week. Or campaign season. The Republican nominee for a Congressional seat said in a debate that because he thinks his wife never faced gender discrimination, it doesn't exist.
A woman asked the candidates what they would do address the fact that Kentucky's women rank near the bottom "in terms of health and well-being, equity, political leadership and education." Here was Republican candidate Todd Lally's response:
I look at women's issues like any other issue. We have equal rights in this country, we have fought — women have fought very hard for those equal rights. Uh, it's up to them. I mean my wife is a working woman, she works very, very hard and she's been very successful. I've not seen any barriers in her career and I don't believe that exists.
Or, as Talking Points Memo helpfully translated it,
• My wife is rich and successful, therefore all women can be.
• There is no such thing as gender disparity.
• I know there is no such thing as gender disparity because I have never seen it.
• If there is such a thing as gender disparity, it's up to women to deal with it.
If you're wondering how his opponent, incumbent John Yarmuth, responded, he used the phrase "structural discrimination" and cited the Lily Ledbetter Act.
In another debate, after being hammered on the point, Lally slightly amended his point: "I'm not saying it doesn't exist, it may exist, I mean surely we wouldn't be talking about this issue if it didn't exist. I just have never seen it in my career and my life."
I'm not saying that Lally's good judgment, compassion, or ability to look beyond his own narrow experience don't exist. They may exist. I just have never seen them in my career and my life.