When Cryin’ Charlie Baker turned on the waterworks during Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate with Martha Coakley, he gave the local media all kinds of grist for their mills. Both Boston’s dailies,for instance, had the same basic thought: What if Charlie were Charlene?
Boston Globe Metro columnist Yvonne Abraham framed it this way:
Turning the tables
Watching Charlie Baker dissolve in tears in Tuesday night’s debate — a moment that defied Democrats’ attempts to cast him as a heartless technocrat — I couldn’t help wondering: What if he were treated the way women candidates so often are? What would it be like if we focused on his fragility under pressure, his manner, his appearance, as we do on theirs? What if we pinned the same labels on him as we do on them?
The reaction to that debate might look like this:
Do we really want a weepy governor?
Republican Charlie Baker was going along nicely in Tuesday night’s debate, exuding competence, speaking with authority about taxes and paid sick leave.
Then the gubernatorial hopeful came apart, telling of meeting a fisherman ruined by federal catch rules. “I may not make it through this story,” he began, promptly succumbing to tears.
This is why it can be so hard to imagine men as leaders.
Crosstown, the Boston Herald recruited local business consultant Judith Bowman to put the pump on the other foot.
No crying not a choice for Martha Coakley
What if it were Martha Coakley who cried?
Charlie Baker broke down in tears on the gubernatorial debate stage as he told the story of a fisherman’s family plight.
It was received by most, including me, as a genuine, justified show of human emotion. A real moment in the artificial world of politics.
But what if it were Martha?
No such luck. Professional women don’t cry. Not if they want to be leaders.
Well, one thing we’re sure of: That Herald headline should make any writer cry.
Sorry – sniff – we have to go now.