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Joel Connelly: Sexism’s alive and well on the right January 23, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Discriminate, Discrimination, Fox News, gender discrimination, John Gibson, Sexism, Sexist.
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Even after the 2006 election sent several retired military officers to Congress, only four U.S. senators and nine House members either have served in Iraq or sent close kinfolk into harm’s way.

The best known is Sen. James Webb, D-Va., who has a son in Iraq. Webb was recently condemned by conservative pundit George Will for his brusque retort to President Bush’s jocular “How’s that boy of yours?” query at a post-election reception.

In Great Britain, in contrast to “the Colonies,” Queen Elizabeth II has sent a husband-to-be, a son and presently a grandson into harm’s way. Is Basra ready for Prince Harry?

A salient question — Who gets to sacrifice? — was on the mind of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., recently as she questioned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before a Senate hearing.

“Now the issue is who pays the price,” Boxer said. “Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

It was a striking moment, but not without precedent.

Reacting to escalation of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, and again 34 years later in the Iraq war, former Sen. George McGovern said, “I am sick and tired of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

Boxer, however, immediately found herself in the gun sights of the nation’s right-wing media machine.

The manufactured outrage of the Rupert Murdoch media empire — the New York Post, Fox News — was particularly striking.

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The Post accused Boxer of attacking Rice “for being a childless woman.” “Only when it comes to a conservative black woman would Boxer think to ask that question,” said Fox’s John Gibson.Bill O’Reilly labeled Boxer “far left,” decried her for “foolish personal arguments,” and added: “Think about it. If you don’t have a kid in the military, you can’t make policy. I wonder what FDR and Abraham Lincoln would have thought about that.”

During World War II, all four of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sons were in uniform.

George Will never served in the military, although of age during Vietnam. Neither did O’Reilly.

Neither did Newt Gingrich, a fellow Fox pundit. Neither of Rupert Murdoch’s sons has put on a uniform. Nor had White House spokesman (and ex-Fox pundit) Tony Snow, who blasted Boxer.

I sense a motive in these men, an early-starting effort to attack the new Congress by demonizing its prominent Democratic women.

They’ve been going after Hillary Clinton since 1992, but she has counterpunched so effectively that Rupert Murdoch threw her a fundraiser (and a Post endorsement) last year.

But since Boxer was making the Who Sacrifices? point to Rice, a single woman, it presented an ideal opportunity to turn loose the Foxes.

We’ve had a dose of the same out here, with the far-right Soundpolitics.comWeb site directing ceaseless, often personal nastiness at Gov. Chris Gregoire. Fox took a run at Sen. Patty Murray over a comment she made on how Osama bin Laden set up base in Afghanistan.

The anti-Gregoire taunts are amateur stuff. Consider what Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have lately gone through.

Of Boxer, Rush Limbaugh opined, “Here you have a rich white chick with a huge, big mouth trying to lynch this — an African American woman — right before Martin Luther King Day.”

Or Limbaugh on Pelosi: “Why, she can multitask. She can breastfeed. She can clip her toenails, she can direct the House.”

Well before her dustup with Rice, radio host Michael Savage called Boxer a “weasel,” a “lying little witch” and a “harradin.” He also asked of Boxer: “How many different Botox treatments do you have to get till you realize that nobody believes you?”

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, frequently an NBC expert, had this pre-election observation on Pelosi’s appearance: “You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn’t work the first time, let it go.”

Already, under Pelosi, the House has passed bills to raise the minimum wage, take away tax breaks from big oil and limit gifts from lobbyists.

But on the right, and at times in the mainstream media, the fixation has been on Armani suits and gender stereotypes.

“This is a triumph of feminism and estrogen,” Wes Pruden, Washington Times editor in chief, wrote after Pelosi’s election as speaker.

Newsweek has labeled Pelosi an “Armani grandma.” A post-election Associated Press report was headlined: “Election Scorecard: Arctic caribou, Armani suits win; Big Oil, foot-in-mouth disease lose.”

On NBC’s “The McLaughlin Group,” Washington Times editorial page editor (and former Gingrich aide) Tony Blankley observed that Pelosi “dresses a lot better” than Hillary Clinton.

Even The Washington Post — which achieved greatness under Katharine Graham — depicted a battle over leadership of the House Intelligence Committee as a catfight between Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.

Would the Post have said that, years ago, when House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Rep. Howard “Judge” Smith squared off over control of the House Rules Committee?

Sexism isn’t dead in America. At times, like when you ask Who Sacrifices? it allows you both to divert and demonize.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Nwsource.com

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