Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Acceptable and Unacceptable Misogyny

Kirsten Powers, who is, it must be noted at the outset, a liberal Democrat at The Daily Beast, puts Rush Limbaugh's recent gender gaucheries into perspective. When such transgressions against decency occur on the right they're considered to be crimes against women everywhere, and the offender is all but committed to the flames. When they occur on the left, which they do with alarming frequency, the somnolent media slumbers contentedly.

Here's the heart of Powers' fine essay:
Let it be shouted from the rooftops that Rush Limbaugh should not have called Ms. Fluke a slut or, as he added later, a “prostitute” who should post her sex tapes. It’s unlikely that his apology will assuage the people on a warpath for his scalp, and after all, why should it? He spent days attacking a woman as a slut and prostitute and refused to relent. Now because he doesn’t want to lose advertisers, he apologizes. What’s in order is something more like groveling—and of course a phone call to Ms. Fluke—if you ask me.

But if Limbaugh’s actions demand a boycott—and they do—then what about the army of swine on the left?

During the 2008 election Ed Schultz said on his radio show that Sarah Palin set off a “bimbo alert.” He called Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.” (He later apologized.) He once even took to his blog to call yours truly a “bimbo” for the offense of quoting him accurately in a New York Post column.

Keith Olbermann has said that conservative commentator S.E. Cupp should have been aborted by her parents, apparently because he finds her having opinions offensive. He called Michelle Malkin a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick.” He found it newsworthy to discuss Carrie Prejean’s breasts on his MSNBC show. His solution for dealing with Hillary Clinton, who he thought should drop out of the presidential race, was to find “somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out.” Olbermann now works for ├╝ber-leftist and former Democratic vice president Al Gore at Current TV.

Chris Matthews’s sickening misogyny was made famous in 2008, when he obsessively tore down Hillary Clinton for standing between Barack Obama and the presidency, something that Matthews could not abide. Over the years he has referred to the former first lady, senator and presidential candidate and current secretary of state as a “she-devil,” “Nurse Ratched,” and “Madame Defarge.” Matthews has also called Clinton “witchy,” “anti-male,” and “uppity” and once claimed she won her Senate seat only because her “husband messed around.” He asked a guest if “being surrounded by women” makes “a case for commander in chief—or does it make a case against it?” At some point Matthews was shamed into sort of half apologizing to Clinton, but then just picked up again with his sexist ramblings.

Matthews has wondered aloud whether Sarah Palin is even “capable of thinking” and has called Bachmann a “balloon head” and said she was “lucky we still don’t have literacy tests out there.” Democratic strategist Jehmu Greene, who is the former president of the Women’s Media Center, told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in 2011 that Matthews “is a bully, and his favorite target is women.” So why does he still have a show? What if his favorite target was Jews? Or African-Americans?

But the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher—who also happens to be a favorite of liberals—who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC.
Powers gives the specifics of Maher's comments as well as those of liberal commentator Matt Taibbi, but the remarks she quotes from them are too obscene to put on Viewpoint. It says something, I guess, when relatively modest standards of decency prevent one from quoting what some prominent liberals have said about women.

Nevertheless, just as a man who weighs 700 lbs. would do well to refrain from criticizing others for being fat, the left would do well to refrain from criticizing Rush Limbaugh for misogyny.

Here's an interview with Powers on her column:
It's worth noting that three of the men Powers talks about in the interview and in her column are current or former hosts on MSNBC's prime-time line up. That tells us a lot about MSNBC, I suppose.

It also says something that nine of Limbaugh's sponsors have dropped him, but none of Maher's or MSNBC's sponsors dropped any of these execrable gentlemen. Why not? Evidently some misogyny is acceptable and some is not. It all depends on your politics.

The President's Iran Policy

In principle it's hard to argue against the President's Iranian policy which grows out of his desire to make war a last resort. He wants Israel to postpone an attack on Iran until diplomacy and sanctions have had a chance to work. The problem is that it seems a case of too little too late. The severest sanctions don't kick in until June.

Meanwhile, the Iranians have invested billions of dollars, enormous prestige, and fifteen years in developing a nuclear weapon. They see themselves as just a few months away from achieving their goal. For them to say at this point that, okay, we'll stop building a bomb that will enable us to destroy Israel and intimidate the world would be like a marathon runner far ahead of the field in the Olympics deciding to quit ten yards short of the finish line. It's hard to believe that they're now going to back off just because the infidels impose a few inconveniences, especially when they can turn to the Russians and the Chinese for enough assistance to push them across the line.

The problem with the president's policy, other than it allows the Iranians to buy more time to make destroying their nuclear facilities both harder and costlier, is that it may have generated two unfortunate consequences.

First, some commentators have suggested that a deal has been struck with Iran to stay out of Syria. The Iranians have made it a precondition for negotiations, this theory goes, that we not interfere with Bashar Assad's systematic slaughter of his people. If so, it would explain our willingness to sit by and watch the citizens of Hom get blown to pieces by Syrian tanks even though we launched attacks against Libya with far, far less provocation.

Secondly, our dilatory approach toward Iran has, according to some sources, deeply angered the Saudis who loathe the Iranian regime and want us to end it. The Saudis, these sources say, are allowing oil prices to rise as a means of pressuring Mr. Obama who sees high fuel costs to be one of the gravest threats to his reelection. Attack Iran, the Saudis seem to be saying, or face $6.00 per gallon gas by November and almost certain defeat at the polls.

I'm not saying that either of these are true, but they do have a certain logic and the first seems to be an open secret in Western capitals.

At any rate, I think that, given what little we know, the president is so far probably doing the right thing in making sure that war comes only after all other options have been exhausted. At least I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt. I'm not at all optimistic, however, that sanctions will deter the Iranians, and as Tehran grows closer to developing a nuclear weapon, or to making their development facilities impregnable to attack, Mr. Obama is going to have to switch to other options or acquiesce in a nuclearized Iran and all the danger that entails.

If he does that he'll be seen as the Neville Chamberlain of our time.