Over the last few days, conservatives have been blasting criticisms of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as sexist. Today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, McCain campaign adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer wrote an op-ed titled, “Ignore the Chauvinists. Palin Has Real Experience.” In an interview with NBC yesterday, First Lady Laura Bush said that she wonders “if we aren’t already seeing a little bit” of sexism directed toward Palin. McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina said that “American women…will not tolerate sexist treatment” of Palin.
Apparently, this sexism is being perpetrated solely by progressives…at least according to the McCain campaign. Today in a press conference, Fiorina agreed that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has also been “subject to sexism.” However, according to Fiorina, none of it was done by Republicans:
I would absolutely say that Hillary Clinton has been subject to sexism. By the way, if there are facts that you can show me, I would be delighted to see them, but I do not think that, based on my experiences, what I have seen, I do not think that the Republican Party subjected her to sexism.
I think the Republican Party took her on on her stand on the issues, took her on hard on her stand on the issues. I have said numerous times, I disagree with Hillary, but I also have great admiration for Hillary Clinton.
Listen here to the audio obtained by ThinkProgress:
Let’s refresh Fiorina’s memory with a few examples:
— In November 2007, when a questioner asked “How do we beat the bitch [Clinton]?,” McCain replied, “That’s an excellent question.”
— In 1998, McCain made a lesbian joke that referenced Clinton’s daughter: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”
— In May, McCain adviser Alex Castellanos said, “Her problem is she’s Hillary Clinton. And some women, by the way, are named [bitch], and it’s accurate.”
— In March 2007, CNN host Glenn Beck said that Clinton’s “stereotypical” voice was “nagging,” adding that it “just sticks in your ear like an ice pick.”
Basically, the McCain campaign has been saying that no one can criticize Palin because doing so would be sexist. There’s no doubt that all women candidates, including Palin, are subjected to sexism. But legitimate criticisms — about Palin’s policies, for example — have nothing to do with gender and should be raised.