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Column: Sexist Attacks On Conservatives Go Unchallenged

This story was written by Ashley Herzog, The Post

Why are people so shocked by liberals sexist attacks on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin? Sure, theyve created Photoshopped images of her as a porn star and bikini model, nicknamed her VPILF (a spin on MILF) and, for good measure, suggested she should be at home raising kids instead of running for office. But this is nothing new. Although certain members of the left love to accuse Republicans of ignoring womens interests and being the party of white males, theyre also fine with vile, woman-hating attacks on conservative women. As columnist Michelle Malkin noted last week, Liberals hold a special animus for constituencies they deem traitors.

And they cant wrap their heads around the idea that a woman would make an independent choice to vote Republican. That might explain why liberals frequently portray them in some degrading position, thoughtlessly serving male masters. Liberal columnists and cartoonists depict conservative women as prostitutes, parrots, puppets and in the case of women of color slaves.

Shortly after Condoleezza Rice became the first black woman to serve as secretary of state, cartoonist Pat Oliphant drew her as a parrot perched on President Bushs shoulder, complete with buck teeth and exaggerated black lips. Not to be outdone, Pulitzer Prize finalist Jeff Danziger depicted Rice as Prissy, the slave character from Gone with the Wind. Danzigers cartoon Condi also had exaggerated African-American features, as well as bare feet and a stereotypical black dialect: I knows all about aluminum tubes. Cartoonist Ted Rall dropped the subtlety and referred to Rice as Bushs house nigga and added, Youre not white, stupid.

Malkin, a conservative Asian-American columnist who frequently reports on such attacks, has also been on the receiving end of them. Popular left-wing Web site, Eschatonblog.com, referred to her as a whore who should star in internment camp porn. Others have referred to her as a mail-order bride who was trained by some minor Republican operative to do this, a gook out there pandering to the radical right and a paid prostitute for the Republicans.

It doesnt stop with whore metaphors. Despite the feminist demand that female politicians not be judged for their looks, liberals make exceptions for Republican women. After the 2000 election, the Washington Post published an entire article that deemed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris too ugly to perform her job. She looks bad why should anyone trust her? the article asked.

How can liberals, who generally pride themselves for eschewing sexism and championing womens issues, justify this behavior? As Malkin noted in her column last week, the left has always been good at dehumanizing conservative women as inauthentic. It was feminist icon Gloria Steinem who called Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson a female impersonator, and said having someone who looks like us but thinks like them is worse than having no one at all. This mindset allows them to level sexist attacks with a sense of impunity. After all, its impossible to display sexism toward people who arent real women.

Sarah Palin, naturally, is their next target. For the next two months, we can expect some liberal columnists and bloggers to obsess about her looks, clothes, parenting abilities, imagined sexual skills anything other than her policy positions. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd got the ball rolling by ridiculing Palins hair and shoes and referring to her candidacy as a vacuously spunky chick flick.

Im not suggesting that liberal women are completely immune from such attacks. There has always been an effort t portray feminist politicians as shrill, castrating hags who can forget the Hillary Clinton nutcrackers sold around Christmastime last year? The difference is that while sexism against feminist candidates is monitored and called out, conservative women are seen as deserving this type of treatment.

This election season, lets stop giving sexism on the left a pass.