Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2012

U.S. House candidate criticized over comment made at forum

July 18, 2012


Robert Eye, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race, on Wednesday criticized his primary opponent Tobias Schlingensiepen for a comment made in a candidate forum.

During the forum on Monday in Lawrence, Schlingensiepen explained why he was running for office.

“I’d like to be a better kind of representative. I’d like to be one that is responsive to the people of the 2nd District, and one who has some good humor and some tenacity, and frankly some balls to just stand up to some of the terrible things that are happening in the Congress today. We need people with spine,” he said.

Eye, a Lawrence attorney, said Schlingensiepen’s statement implied that one of the qualifications for leadership is to have male anatomy.

“If you believe in bringing people together and being an effective leader for our district and state, how can you marginalize more than 50 percent of the population by inferring that you need to be a male to be an effective leader?” Eye said.

“As someone who has worked as an advocate for women’s rights for the past 30 years, I find such comments troubling and deserving of clarification,” he added.

Schlingensiepen, a Topeka minister on leave from his church, said that he made an “unfortunate choice of words” and that he has always been a strong advocate for women.

He said he should have said that Congress needs more representatives who have the “spine” to reach across the aisle and work on solutions to the country’s problems. Of Eye’s comments, Schlingensiepen said, “Nice political posturing, Bob.”

Scott Barnhart, a farmer from Ottawa, is also vying for the Democratic nod in the Aug. 7 primary. U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, is seeking a third two-year term.


Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

Eye is a jackass. Any intelligent person knows that Schlingensiepen probably meant "balls" in an androgynous manner. I am pretty sure he was speaking figuratively and not literally. Woman can have "balls" too, i.e., the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what is right.

Eye's comments were cheap; and gratuitous. We have bigger fish to fry.

Eye has lost my vote.

Katara 5 years, 9 months ago

I am curious. Why the need to use male anatomy to describe intestinal fortitude to begin with?

Schlingensiepen doesn't get my vote but it has little to do with his comment. It is because of his faux apology. “...unfortunate choice of words...”

Your choice of words was unfortunate because you got called on it and it brought you some potential negative publicity. That lame excuse of an apology certainly demonstrates that you are one of those folks that are missing a spine.

How about showing some real balls and give a sincere apology or state that you don't feel the need to apologize for using slang?

texburgh 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe it is called "testicular fortitude."

rtwngr 5 years, 9 months ago

Because people should be able to use figurative speech without morons jumping all over every word. That's why!

oyster 5 years, 9 months ago

Remind us, who is he apologizing to again? The 50% of the population he didn't insult, or Bob Eye? Why would this be an insult to Bob Eye?

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

Okay, wait. Eye is a jackass but he had your vote until this?

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

You read it wrong. The campaign just started. I consider all the issues and want to hear everything the candidates have to say before making a decision. None of them had my vote. But with Eye's recent comments, I quickly moved him to my "no" list.

werekoala 5 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't it Betty White who pointed out how strange it its that we use "balls" as a metaphor for toughness, considering how sensitive they are? She suggested referring to female anatomy instead since they "can really take a pounding"

texburgh 5 years, 9 months ago

It was indeed "an unfortunate choice of words." the truth is that it has become a common expression for taking a strong stand. "That was ballsy," "You've got balls," "Grow a pair," and other such expressions have become part of the vernacular. You may wish they hadn't and you may not like it. You may think its tacky. You may prefer that prominent individuals don't use those expressions. But sexist? Showing disrespect for women? I think that's stretching it.

And frankly, we don't have enough Democrats in Kansas to have them going about like Republicans and trashing each other. Stick to your positions and in November back whichever one of you wins the primary.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

Check with Hillary Clinton on this point. She has one of the bigger "pairs" in D.C.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

Now if he were the first to use such vernacular, I might raise an eyebrow. But seeing as it's a common enough expression, so common in fact that we all have heard it, we all know what it means, I have no problem with it's use.

Budgets_Smudgets 5 years, 9 months ago

Kind of a reach, Bob. You are better than that.

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

Really. Who the F is his campaign manager, anyway? If this is how he's going to run Bob's campaign then Bob needs to fire his ass right now. All this does is make Bob look desperate for attention. Tobias called it correctly: "political posturing".

thatonedude 5 years, 9 months ago

A hack from Topeka named Chad Manspeaker. Not only a hack, but a City Councilman. No wonder he's running such a lousy campaign, he's supposed to be busy serving his constituents in T-Town.

purplesage 5 years, 9 months ago

Schliengenseipen is a liberal Congregational clergyman. I thought, after reading the comment that Mr. Eye,, a good guy by his own testimony, might have found issue with the crudeness of the comment. But, I'm disappointed in both of them. But not for Eye's stated reasons. It is just a little too vernacular.

classclown 5 years, 9 months ago

Bob Eye has used this incident to amply demonstrate what an idiot he is. I suppose if Schlingensiepen used the term "guts" the Eye would complain that people that had an intestinal bypass were being marginalized.

+1 to Schlingensiepen for having the balls to speak frankly and directly to those he wishes to represent.

Eye 0 Schlingensiepen 1

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Either of these two would be a welcome and able replacement to Jenkins. That's all that matters.

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes, Bozo, but Dems don't need mud-slinging of any kind right now, and this was a particularly bad move on either Bob's or his campaign manager's part. If I see it happen again by either campaign I swear to God I will vote for Scott Barnhart.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

I think Bob had a perfectly valid point. However, if I were him, I would have made that point to Tobias in a personal conversation.

As it is, it turned into a needless distraction that doesn't do either of them any good, and either one of them would do a great job. But so far, I haven't seen anything from Barnhart that would make me choose him over either Bob or Tobias.

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

No, Bozo, there was no valid point there (speaking from a "balls-less" perspective). It's a vernacular phrase. His campaign manager tried to get some publicity and poke Tobias to see how he would react and found Bob's expense. Made Bob look a little too desperate to get any kind of publicity instead of none at all. His campaign manager needs to understand the opposition a little better.

I agree with your assessment of Barnhart...I was trying to make a point: If you boys don't grown up and get your act together you will lose votes. Especially Bob, judging from the responses here. One of you is going to be supporting/endorsing the other in the general election. Don't give Jenkins any ammunition. (You'd think being Jere McElheney's squeeze would be enough to convince people to not vote for her, but....) Bob's got some good support behind him...he needs to listen to them and stop acting like a bulldog lawyer and act like a decent Democrat candidate.

Amazingly, for the first time in my life, I find myself to be a truly undecided voter at this point in time. Quick...get me into a focus group!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

I disagree-- the point Bob made was very valid. But it wasn't worth making a public stink about it, and it isn't playing well for him.

For the first time in my life, I know (or used to know, in Tobias's case) both of the main candidates in this race. I'm also wholly undecided, although (this dust-up aside) I think Bob's general political experience gives him a slight edge.

Kate001222 5 years, 9 months ago

Too bad Mr. Eye feels the need to give a twist to something that was most likey said in innocence. This is a pathetic attack. Tobias for Congress!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to know the context in which Eye made these criticisms. Seems like that should have been included in this story-- was it a press conference, a press release, or was it during an interview with the reporter?

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure his campaign manager issued a press release.

Mike George 5 years, 9 months ago

I knew that I couldn't vote for Bob Eye before, but this really seals the deal. Ridiculous.

paulveer 5 years, 9 months ago

A triage of the living would leave FHNC laying by the wayside as not worth attention.

logicisking 5 years, 9 months ago

i heard that balls remark during the political forum and thought it was funny, and after reading this article, now we know the difference between a topeka liberal and a lawrence liberal: topeka liberals will have the balls to use the word "balls" !!

i also like tobias' response to Eye's complaint: "Nice political posturing, Bob.”

i'm liking what i see so far of tobias!

ioconnell 5 years, 9 months ago

Eye needs to keep his eye on the ball(!) -- which is to beat Jenkins. Tobias may just be the one to do it!

Tristan Moody 5 years, 9 months ago

Anyone else think that by giving that apology he undercut the very point he was trying to make?

The response I would have preferred: eyeroll "Oh please."

Kate001222 5 years, 9 months ago

I didn't necessarily read that as an apology.

Toni Shelton 5 years, 9 months ago

To criticize such a commonly used phrase shows how childish some people can be......

LarryTownVoter 5 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Eye's campaign manager is also a member of the Topeka city council. You might remember that just a few months ago, Topeka again brought Kansas into the national spotlight when the city government started playing political games with the victims of domestic violence. My point is, coming from these guys, this feminist outrage seems a little suspect...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

It's quite a leap to take this incident and tie it to domestic violence in Topeka, dontcha think?

thatonedude 5 years, 9 months ago

Not when the same person is directly involved in both incidents.

thatonedude 5 years, 9 months ago

How so? Manspeaker was part of the Council that made the decision. He voted in favor of the cut, because of a petty grudge with Chad Taylor.

JustNoticed 5 years, 9 months ago

Come on, Bob. This just makes you look stupid, like you're grasping for some meaningless mud to sling. And nearly all of the posts above agree with the obvious. IT'S FIGURATIVE SPEECH. So get a pair yourself and campaign on something real.

I agree too that Schlingensiepen has nothing to apologize for and he's a moron for having done so. He should have just pointed out the obvious as everyone here has done.

adraburks 5 years, 9 months ago

Although the language may be accepted in some circles, our Congressional representative represents the entire district. For some, that slang is not acceptable. For others, obviously, it is normal language.

Mr. Eye is at least aware a representative should no longer be assumed to be the white male. The context in which the statement was made by Rev. Schliengenseipen would suggest that limitation as one interpretation.

However, this really is not a campaign issue.

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, Adra. I know you're trying to do damage control, but it's a little late. Although you do get points for using "Rev.". You and John and Phil and whoever else has Bob's ear need to make it very clear to him that this is a golden opportunity to get a positive message out there about his attributes without sinking to such a low level. I would have stopped by the Jazzhaus tonight to tell him myself, but I was otherwise occupied.

For someone who thinks Bob would be a great U.S. Rep, this IS a campaign issue. But he's got a campaign manager who apparently knows jack$%!# about Bob and Lawrence. You guys do. I spoke with several prominent Dems today and they were all equally appalled about this. So if you guys really want Bob to win, have a cometojesus meeting with his campaign manager and tell him to re-think his strategy. Because if I did not know Bob, I would have totally written him off after this. (As apparently several other people have already done, judging by the posts here.) As it stands now, I have officially become an "undecided voter" and I never would have predicted that if Bob Eye was one of the candidates. So, I reiterate: this IS a campaign issue.

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

I think you're way off base on this one, cheesy.

Cindy Yulich 5 years, 9 months ago

Schliengenseipen just got my vote. Or maybe Eye lost my vote is more accurate. Tobias is right.....and it speaks volumes to me that Eye would choose to comment on this vs something of substance.

cowboy 5 years, 9 months ago

Eye is a weasel , anyone else wonder whether his run is related to the SLT approval ?

I like a democrat with balls !

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"I like a democrat with balls !"

Then you should like Bob Eye just fine.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 9 months ago

Now that Bob can't make any more money on the Wetlands court battles and legal fee's he needs to drum up new business as another Lawyer in the Ks Legislature. This guy is simply pissed because he finally lost the court battle over the K10 extension. He has cost the Kansas tax payer millions in delaying the process and he will take that right on to Topeka if elected. I like the preacher and I like his plain spoken english. Democrats need a whole lot more Truman back in their platform!

Catalano 5 years, 9 months ago

Umm, actually Bob is running for a CONGRESSIONAL seat (U.S. Rep) so if he wins, he won't be in the "Kansas legislature".

classclown 5 years, 9 months ago


Mr. Eye is at least aware a representative should no longer be assumed to be the white male.

July 19, 2012 at 4:34 p.m


The irony here is that as far as the Democrats are concerned, it's only white males running to be a representative. With the added bonus of Eye himself being the dreaded "old white man"

zombielover74 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm not really sure what Bob was hoping for here but, as a woman, I would rather have someone with balls in Congress then someone who tries to make an "innocent" statement into a mud slinging contest. Any fool knows that Bob is trying to turn the spotlight onto himself and obviously has the mentality that any publicity is good publicity. His campaign manager is obviously not doing his job and needs to return to running his own office.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Really-- getting Jenkins re-elected so she and the rest of the Republicans can finish destroying the environment, trashing the economy and starting a few more wars is what's really important.

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