HUNT: Let me ask you this. The Democrats of course say you are waging, the GOP is waging a war on women. I know you don’t agree with that, but looking at the polls, you have a gender gap problem. Recent polls show a huge, huge margin for Democrats among women voters. How big a problem is it? How do you close it?
PRIEBUS: Well, for one thing, if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction and this started a war against the Vatican that this president pursued. He still hasn’t answered Archbishop Dolan’s issues with Obama world and Obamacare, so I think that’s the first issue.
Don’t worry, ladies (Or should I say larvae?). I’m sure Ann Romney will be happy to take some of your concerns down for the boys to look at later, once they’ve finished girding their loins for the latest pre-fab Culture War skirmish.
I hear she’s an absolute wiz at shorthand.
Image: Flickr, used via Creative Commons
Shorter Andrew Sullivan: It would be criminal NOT to speculate about Elena Kagan’s “alleged lesbianism”
Sully momentarily veers from his dogged quest to discover the truth about Trig Palin’s parentage to set his sights on an even more momentous issue of international importance: Breathlessly demanding that SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan come clean about her sexual orientation. Or, as Sully’s latest Murdoch Times column bluntly headlines, “Answer the lesbian question, Ms. Legal Eagle.”
[Kagan] is unmarried, and apparently has no anecdotes of dates, no ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, no romantic interludes … nothing. In 4,500 words, we do not find out even where she lives or has lived or if she lives alone. (But we do know what her brothers do for a living — teaching). The far right has already identified her as a “lesbian homosexual”; and the gay blogosphere openly discussed her alleged lesbianism weeks ago.
But there is no confirmation of that anywhere and the White House reiterated last week that questions about sexual orientation “have no place” in judging a nominee (but her gender most certainly does). Quite how you defend this argument — from a president whose own criterion for nominees is a real experience of how law can affect ordinary people — is beyond me. It is also beyond most ordinary people out there.
1. Sully, baby, no matter how one feels about you and the vainly mercurial ’of no party or clique’ passion play that defines your trademark rapid-fire, post-ideological preening, one could never, ever accuse you of being ‘ordinary’.
So don’t even try to project your latest singular obsession onto the vast, blank canvas that symbolizes your (mis)understanding of the great, collectively anonymous (and oh-so-noble!) unwashed you and your Serious™ ilk love to cite with blissfully ignorant impunity — you’re not fooling anyone.
2. This whole quest to uncover the sordid secrets of who (ALLEGED LESBIAN!) Elena Kagan does (or doesn’t) like to get freaky with is ridiculous — and, quite frankly, sexist.
Sully is Google-stalking someone to hunt down evidence of romantic/domestic minutia that might provide clues as to which way Kagan swings, all because her physical appearance and chosen lifestyle contradict sociatal norms. IOW, the “lesbian question” is, as Jonathan Pitts-Wiley recently dubbed it, the “white version of being called uppity” (ie, ALLEGED LESBIAN ELENA KAGAN TOTALLY FITS THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE OF A DYKE). One would expect coverage of what is essentially an elite whisper campaign to be the traffic-boosting provenance of gossip outlets, not an Atlantic-affiliated political blog.
Elena Kagan isn’t some desperate, fame-seeking reality show contestant. She’s (most likely) the future next 9th SCOTUS justice And, true to her own words, she should submit to a vigourous, extensive and transparent confirmation process* to help fill the serious chasms in her scant public record (not her dating record).
Going off on a demonstrative, tangential outing campaign is both an unnecessary digression from vital efforts to illuminate an all-too-opaque SCOTUS nominee and an all-too-familiar example of the sort of sexist speculation uppity women continually face.
*Which, though sure to be a (highly relative) ratings bonanza for CSPAN as it unfolds live and in real time on teh Twitterz, is totally NOT AT ALL LIKE A REALITY SHOW. Shaddap.
(photo by NYCArthur, used under a Creative Commons license)
Seven months ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton — the powerful New York Senator, former First Lady, and runner-up in the brutally long Democratic primary competition — became U.S. President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Since then, she’s chastened North Korea, advocated on behalf of Burma, and rallied against Israeli settlement building. She’s logged nearly 100,000 air miles. She’s tirelessly pursued Obama’s diplomatic agenda around the world.
And she’s done it while fostering or demonstrating little friction with the White House she once hoped to occupy. Being secretary of state doesn’t just require being a diplomat abroad. It requires being a diplomat in Washington. For, foreign policy is not and has never been the purview of State alone — Clinton overlaps and dovetails and supports and creates policy with Obama, a spate of diplomatic envoys, the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the national security advisers, Vice President Joe Biden, et cetera. By all accounts, she’s done well at that as well.
Not that you’d know it reading the paper. Too often, coverage of Clinton neglects the fact that the secretary of state has never been the sole creator of U.S. foreign policy. It also, far too often, focuses hyper-intently on the perceived narrative of how Clinton feels about her relationship with the White House — rather than the actual relationship between Clinton and Obama or how she’s doing her job.
As they say, read the whole damn thing — Lowrey goes on to name ‘em and shame ‘em. It (still) ain’t pretty.
h/t The Kicker
The subject of the Supreme Court nominee’s judicial temperament has so far been raised by just one senator, Lindsay Graham (R-SC).
“There’s a character problem; there’s a temperament problem,” says Graham.
Referring to the comments in the Almanac, Graham went on:
“I just don’t like bully judges,” Graham says. “There are some judges that have an edge, that do not wear the robe well. I don’t like that. From what I can tell of her temperament and demeanor, she seems to be a very nice person. [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia is no shrinking violet. He’s tough, but there’s a difference between being tough and a bully.”
Indeed. A big difference (ok, not necessarily big, but…):
Judge Guido Calabresi, former Yale Law School dean and Sotomayor’s mentor, now says that when Sotomayor first joined the Court of Appeals, he began hearing rumors that she was overly aggressive, and he started keeping track, comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of his male colleagues and his own questions.
“And I must say I found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on was that there were some male lawyers who couldn’t stand being questioned toughly by a woman,” Calabresi says. “It was sexism in its most obvious form.”
h/t Ann Friedman via Twitter.
Is truly inspiring to see so many conservatives take a firm stand against racism. Truly.
We must fight. Today, a white male child will be born into an oppressive society where the color of his skin will only be a great advantage, not an incomprehensibly powerful advantage. That child will see that there is now extra competition out there between himself and his dreams. That child will be born into a society that – while understanding his cultural values and belief systems – will no longer automatically fearfully submit to them. That child will be destined for a life of dreams and promises that will only very likely be fulfilled. The guarantee is now gone, and we must get it back.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
One bone of contention, Antonia: saying that anything spawned by the gliberati who rule USian cable NOOZ networks and talk radio even remotely constitutes ‘news commentary’ is akin to earnestly declaring that Barack Obama is an unreconstructed Marxist.
Er, ok–never mind. If America didn’t already exist The Onion would have to invent it.
Over at Global Comment, Sarah Jaffe, in a devastatingly on-target critique, utterly eviscerates yesterday’s head-pattingly patronizing L.A. Times article/future-bird-cage-liner (where the credentials of Dr. Jill Biden were examined [and dismissed] in a manner that was maddeningly glib, highly gendered–and entirely sexist).
Jaffe’s point about the underlying (and intersecting) double standards at play is especially sharp:
I have to wonder, if we were discussing a male academic who taught at a prestigious Ivy League university, the reporter would feel the need to spend the entire piece debating whether he deserved the prefix “Dr.”
The article’s dismissive tone is symptomatic of the way the media treats women, particularly accomplished women in the public eye. Jill Biden has several advanced degrees, and yet chooses to teach in a community college, helping students who often cannot afford to attend school full-time. This is worthy of respect, not a quibble over whether she deserves the title as much as someone who stitches up wounds, treats skin conditions, or performs nose jobs.
Highly recommended reading–the whole damn thing, goddammit.
Like Atrios, I’m not at all thrilled at the prospect of a legacy appointment to the Senate, especially someone who has never run for elected office. But Jane Hamsher’s recent irony-free HuffPo missive is a classic example of doin it rong:
It seems Caroline Kennedy has decided she’d rather have a US Senate seat than a pony for Christmas[...] Really? She’s “making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest?” I guess it was either that or get her nails done.
Yes, because the only way one could possibly express opposition to dynastic appointments and elitism in Congress is to blow sexist dogwhistles. Unless your name is Glenn Greenwald, of course. Or Chris Bowers.
Well, I’m sure they’ll both make sure to include crude gender-based stereotypes in future posts.
Jeff Fecke makes an obvious but important point:
If this were Jim Kennedy, would you suggest he was getting a manicure, asking for a pony? Of course not. You might pick out other symbols of idleness, but those quintessentially feminine grace notes would be left out. It’s not enough to suggest Kennedy isn’t a good pick for the seat — she has to be derided as idle and, most damningly, an idle woman.
Bint goes one step further, noting the lack of self-awareness in Hamsher’s chosen line of criticism:
I just love when privileged, white Americans like Hamsher try to pretend as if they have any idea what it’s like to be a part of the world’s “unwashed masses”.
Isn’t it funny that this article was written by the same person who also once wrote:
“No shit. Why is it the women are taking crap for this — from other women? One need look no further than the cracks about blond hair and tits from self-described “feminists” to see the reason for the sad state of feminism in this country today.”
We should all be grateful she didn’t put Kennedy in blackface.
Related: Louise Slaughter for Senate!
This may come as a shock to you, but despite conventional wisdom and what Hollywood might have you believe, women–especially professional women–actually get along with each other. So, until you come up with some actual, y’know, proof of acrimony between Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, as opposed to speculation and conjecture, tell your staff to stop phoning in lazy Page Six-style hit pieces in lieu of purportedly ‘serious’ political reporting. Also, please go see somebody about the ongoing Clinton Derangement Syndrome festering within the ranks of AP’s Washington Bureau; at this point, it’s borderline pathological.
love and napalm,
h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates