There are definitely circumstances where it is totally legit to call a young woman "sweetie."
You are a waitress or waiter in a 1950s-style diner: "Sweetie, how about I get you whip cream for your pumpkin pie."
You are a grandma or grandpa talking to your grandchild: "Sweetie, grab grandma."
You are romantically involved: "I love you sweetie, marry me."
But using it while slamming your political opponent's deficiencies is certainly not one of those times.
And while I am at it, it's definitely not kosher to call her "gal" under any circumstance, or to question her fitness to serve because she is mom.
Ohio Senate Majority Leader Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) is guilty of doing all three of those things.
The representative for the 24th District in the Ohio Senate now finds himself under fire for calling Jennifer Herold “gal," "young gal," “sweetie” and "mom" like that is a bad word." Patton's statements were made earlier this month on pro-union America’s Work Force Radio.
against Herold, his opponent for the 7th House District which covers part of southern Cuyahoga County near Cleveland. Patton is running for the House seat due to term limits in the Senate.
"The gal that’s running against me is a 30-year-old, you know, mom, mother of two infants,” Patton said during the interview around the 32-minute mark. “I don’t know if anybody explained to her you have to spend three nights a week in Columbus so how does that work out for you? I waited until I was 48 and my kids were raised, and at least adults, before we took the opportunity to try."
The 'sweetie' thing came just around the 38-minute mark when Patton talked about Herold's claims that she will work hard for education funding.
"Hey Sweetie," he said. "I just got 27 percent of the pie in just my district, which is nine times what should have been done. I point to the fact that you work harder, you work longer, you travel more when you are the majority leader.'"
Herold of course clapped back, saying Patton crossed the line.
"He questioned my intelligence, insinuating I was not aware of the requirements of the State Representative Position. Mr. Patton also specifically implied that I am precluded from running for office until my kids were adults,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “And once last thing, Tom, only one man in my life is allowed to call me sweetie. From now on, I respectfully ask you to refer to me as Jen, or your opponent.”
Of course he crossed the line and I am guessing Patton knew exactly what he was doing.
By slipping in "gal," "sweetie" and "mom" he reminded listeners that Herold has "girly" emotions and mother expectations.
He might as well have called her "ovaries" "dumpling" or "silly little girl."
The message was clear.
It is an old story: motherhood and pregnancy are often used as weapons against women advancement in the work place.
It is ridiculous.
You don't hear about politicians question whether young fathers can serve.
They aren't "sweeties" or "gals.'
This particular male politician needs a slice of humble pie.