Geoff Pender: Bryant’s timing, remarks both off

Is he going to be Mississippi’s chief executive, or principal panderer?

Gov. Phil Bryant paused last week, in what appeared to be something of a political victory lap tour of Washington and New York, long enough to insert his foot in his mouth, up to the ankle, on the national stage.

I’m sure most folks have heard by now that Bryant, at a forum at the Washington Post on education reform, appeared to blame working moms for problems with education. It did make a headline or two. Although I must say, if you actually watch the video of his statements, it’s kind of hard to discern exactly what his answer was. It was a long series of back-and-forth and contradictory hemming and hawing. But it did include, “The mom got in the workplace.”

Frank Corder at the conservative Y’allPolitics blog last week penned: “In the coming weeks and months ahead, Bryant will need all the political capital he has for the fight brewing in the Legislature on Medicaid, and his opponents will now use this ‘blame poor education performance on working moms’ comment to paint him as a political Neanderthal, uncaring and out of touch. Of course, that’s not the reality, but for his opponents, it won’t matter. Distractions can create perception and perception controls politics.”

Yup. Well said, Frank.

Clarion Ledger
6/8/13