You would think that when a microphone is nearby, those in the public eye would be weary. You would assume that those who’s every step in caught on camera would be careful with what they say … even if they assume the mic is not “hot”.
Governor Ed Rendell was no so cautious.
As you have read by now, he is getting some heat for a comment he made near an open mic about the Homeland Secutiry Director-designate Janet Napolitano. President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to head the Homeland Security office grew up in western Pennsylvania.
Rendell, commenting to a fellow lawmaker, said the following:
“Janet’s perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it.”
Given Governor Rendell’s history of colorful, if not controversial comments his statement about the Governor of Arizona turned cabinet member can certainly be seen as sexist.
But are they?
Rendell’s spokesperson, Chuck Ardo, tried to clarify the remark by saying “Rendell meant no disrespect to Napolitano and would have made the same comment if the candidate was a man.”
Let’s get real. The issue never would have come to the forefront in Napolitano was a man because family issues have never been, and will never be, a deterrent to a man from taking a job – cabinet level or otherwise. It is always assumed that the man has a woman in his life to take care of his family responsibilities ( look after the kids ). So this talk that a man and a women would face the same scrutiny is complete bunk.
Homeland Secretary Director-designate Janet Napolitano
At the same time, Rendell does state the obvious. It’s a job that is demanding and to protect this nation 24/7, which the Homeland Security office does, requires a tireless worker who does make their job priority number one. It helps if you have someone who can take care of the kids. Better yet, if you have no family there are no distractions.
Napolitano has no husband and no family.
So what’s the verdict? Rendell was not wrong in sizing up the office Napolitano will hold, but there was no need for him to point out she has no husband, no family and therefore no life. Even worse, his spokesperson trying to spin the statement by saying the Governor would say the same thing about a man. That is the true insult. In this case, the cover-up is worse than the actual statement.
Bottom line: The Governor needs to not only think before he speaks, but watch where he speaks. You never know if the mic is hot!