Herman Cain lucked out during last night’s debate, after his remark about “Princess Nancy” was overshadowed by Rick Perry’s blockbuster implosion. But Cain’s nickname for Nancy Pelosi is getting some press this morning, and some see traces of sexism in it:
Then he said it: “Princess Nancy,” a comment directed at former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Not “Queen Nancy.” But “Princess Nancy.”
There’s something about the dismissiveness of it that seemed to strike women the wrong way. Consider the instant Twitter reaction of Dana Perino, the former spokeswoman for George W. Bush and a conservative in good standing: “Ay yi yi, former Speaker Pelosi called a princess in the debate? Not fair. We may disagree on policy, but she earned the Speaker title.”
This was a sloppy move on Cain’s part. Any Republican who called Pelosi “princess” would have immediately been blasted as a sexist, and that’s the last thing Cain needs right now with the ongoing sexual harassment controversy.
As for the actual nickname, calling the former Speaker of the House a “princess” might be nasty and in poor taste, but saying it’s sexist is an overreaction. This is exactly the type of insult that will get eaten up by Cain’s support base, and probably says more about his opinion of Pelosi than about his opinion on women in general. Considering the current allegations against Cain, he was probably smart to apologize immediately after the debate. But it makes you wonder whether he’s fully aware of how serious the charges against him are if he felt this was an appropriate thing to say at the moment.