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Not Making New Friends

In addition to the Emily’s List activists, many of NARAL‘s own members are mighty upset about NARAL’s decision to endorse Barack Obama and dump longtime ally Hillary Clinton. If you had to think up moves designed to enrage Clinton supporters and make the healing process harder for Democrats, you’d have put this one near the top.

Meanwhile, Obama had to apologize for his “sweetie” crack. But this was not an isolated incident. Remember, this was the candidate who used phrases like “when the claws come out” and “when she’s feeling down periodically she launches attacks” in reference to his opponent. When language like this is part of the vocabulary of a candidate (one who is so exquisitely articulate), it is worth asking if there is something going on here.

The language and tone of the media have become so condescending and disrespectful toward Clinton that, I think, Obama’s camp has picked it up. When “she-devil,” “everyone’s first wife,” and “Fatal Attraction” become acceptable means of description in the mainstream media, why would the candidate hesitate to use them himself ? In short, Obama’s media fan club — those open-minded and inclusive liberals — have systematically removed inhibitions about the use of startlingly sexist language.

I understand as well as the next person that politics is tough business, but let’s do some thought experiments. First, had Clinton or McCain or their teams used phrases which could be seen as disparaging African Americans, they’d have been vilified. Second, had a Republican done the “sweetie” and “claws” routine, every NOW representative worth her salt would be on the air calling for heads to roll.You want double standards? Got ‘em right here. In this wonderful post-partisan, post-racial era, someone forgot to tell the liberal media establishment and their beloved candidate that sexism is passé.



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