A Victim Card of One’s Own: Jeri Thompson Calls Out O’Donnell’s Critics For Sexism


Originally published on September 17, 2010 at David Horowitz’s NewsReal

The inane self-congratulatory feel-goodery of pop feminism is captured perfectly in an old Onion headline: “Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does.” To the feminist Left, the obvious corollary is that everything that doesn’t empower a woman is oppressive, chauvinistic, and of course, sexist. And that’s exactly the ideological vampire being embraced by Christine O’Donnell supporters this week.

Jeri Thompson leads the pack of those seduced by the politics of manufactured victimhood with her excoriation of Karl Rove, Sen. John Cornyn, and Delaware’s “blue-blooded patriarchies.” It’s not the timing of Rove’s criticisms she finds troubling; it isn’t that Cornyn and the NRSC arrived late to GOP Unity Hour lip syncing the words to “Kumbaya.” It’s that they offered their strategic assessment of a female candidate’s political baggage and electability:

Funny, I don’t recall hearing similar talk from the likes of Mssrs. Rove and Cornyn after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Joe Miller won in Alaska, or Rand Paul won in Kentucky. In fact, despite similar sliming by the state party apparatus before Paul’s victory Rove was downright supportive of him, saying on Fox News that Rand Paul could win the general election, just as he could win the primary. And this was after the state party did its darnedest to tear Paul apart and to make him look like an incompetent kook, in many ways similar to what the Republican political class has been doing to O’Donnell.

The difference here is that once the primary was over, the political elites in Washington stood by their men. Why won’t they do it for the woman?

Where is the evidence that gender played a role in Beltway criticism of Christine O’Donnell? I like and respect Jeri Thompson, but twisting concerns about O’Donnell’s electability into some sort of political wilding by neanderthal good ol’ boys is out there. We can disagree about whether a candidate is “flawed,” “irresponsible,” or “kooky,” but those terms simply aren’t dog whistles designed to bring out the woman-haters.

This smacks of an ill-conceived attempt to duplicate the ferocious mama grizzly support Sarah Palin garnered when her surrogates pointed out sexist attacks. Cry sexism, rinse, repeat, right? Er, no. Most Palin boosters didn’t unfairly tar her critics with identity politics-based smears. They defended her from specific, verifiable, and brutal cases of weaponized misogyny.

Thompson’s column is short on examples of sexism, long on baseless attacks, and devoid of any explanation for why sexist Karl Rove poured millions into Sharron Angle’s campaign. Mary Katharine Ham calls this approach “pulling a Meggie Mac“:

Criticism of O’Donnell from conservatives was not akin to the treatment Palin got and deploying the same type of attack on longtime conservative allies as one would on the New York Times or Nancy Pelosi is not productive. It’s the Meghan McCain strategy for winning friends and influencing people. We hate it when she paints conservatives and Republicans with a broad brush, reinforces our adversaries’ stereotypes of us, marshals little proof in defense of either, and then asks us to merrily join hands with her as she fights for our cause. Why are we pulling a Meggie Mac on each other?

Sadly, the unseemly Meggie Mac strategy of yelling “sexist hater!!!” at anyone who disagrees makes for a convenient political bludgeon, one Thompson uses throughout her column:

While they may not be intending to be sexist, the message, the attitude and whining sure make many in the GOP look eerily like the elites we are trying so hard to usurp. The sexism issues aside, it’s time for the Washington GOP establishment to man up and stop sulking over losing — no, getting walloped — by a woman they continue to insist is unqualified despite the fact that she has a pretty big win under her belt under pretty difficult circumstances.

Leaving aside the absurdity of going after so-called sexism with a gender-based barb (“man up”), what Thompson is doing is setting it up so that “the Beltway Boys” are no longer free to weigh in on women’s qualifications. By taking her arguments directly from the leftist victimhood arsenal, she’s unintentionally depriving Christine O’Donnell and other women of the chance to compete as equals. At the same time, these unfounded accusations diminish the seriousness of actual sexism, the kind that often slithered out of the scuzziest recesses of the feminist blogosphere during the 2008 presidential campaign. Matt Lewis calls Thompson’s approach “patently unconservative:

Conservatives are rugged individuals who pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Crying sexism certainly isn’t conservative, especially when the criticism is fair. Sadly, it appears some “conservative” ladies have learned from the left that if you cry discrimination, you can change the subject, and undermine even legitimate questions and concerns.

It’s fine for Jeri Thompson to use her platform to ensure female candidates receive equal treatment, but agitating for special treatment is just the sort of identity politics pitfall that ought to send conservatives screaming in the opposite direction. When we start to see a pair of X chromosomes as the functional equivalent of a Get Out of Jail Free card in politics, all we’re doing is mimicking the worst the Left has to offer.

Radical feminist Andrea Dworkin once said that “feminism is hated because women are hated.” No, what people hate about feminism is the steady stream of fabricated outrage, holier-than-thou finger wagging, and the stomach-turning hypocrisy. Conservative women have every right to don the feminist mantle, but let’s make sure it’s free from the stench of faux victimhood, grievance mongering, and ginned up oppression.

Leave it to the Left to cry wolf whistle.


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Two Thumbs Up, Social Cons!

Media reports have hailed Saturday’s passage of the Stupak amendment – a measure to impose tight restrictions on federally subsidized abortions – as a great triumph for pro-life Republicans.

What a crock.

The bipartisan vote was not a Republican coup. It was the final bit of lubrication needed to help the House health reform bill squeak through in a 220-215 vote. Without the passage of the Stupak amendment, Nancy Pelosi would not have had enough pro-life Democrats on board to pass her bill.  So at best, the Stupak amendment was a Pyrrhic victory for pro-life Republicans. But more accurately, it was a demonstration that House Republicans are hopeless marks, skillfully manipulated into providing political cover for pro-life Democrats.

Even with the passage of the amendment, this pro-life “triumph” is destined to be short-lived should the bill make it to conference committee.  More than 40 pro-choice Democrats are threatening to sink the final bill if it contains the abortion funding restrictions, and President Obama wants the amendment language nixed as well.   With weeks or months for House Majority Whip James Clyburn to bargain with pro-life Democrats, there’s a good chance he’ll gather enough votes to pass a final reconciled bill without the Stupak language.  Few Democrats will want to block History in the Makingâ„¢.

Republicans had just one opportunity to derail Nancy Pelosi’s bill on Saturday: all they needed to do was hold their noses and vote “present” on the Stupak amendment.  But only Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) had the stones to do so. The rest voted “aye” and now the Democrats have momentum, courtesy of the House GOP.

Votes in favor of the Stupak amendment amounted to nothing more than pro-life window dressing.  No unborn lives will be saved by this vote, and in the end, all House Republicans will have to show for their “courage” are their pro-life bona fides. The vote was devoid of any true value to the pro-life cause, and if the reconciled bill passes, abortion will no longer be just a right women can choose to exercise; it will be an entitlement.

If a meaningless political gesture is enough to let these politicians sleep at night, it’s time to find new representatives.

Why Moderate Republicans Should Dump Dede Scozzafava

Three candidates are vying for the NY-23 congressional seat, but only two have any business running for office. And GOP darling Dede Scozzafava ain’t one of ’em.

Conservatives have thrown their support to Doug Hoffman, a Republican running on the Conservative Party line, and he’s leading the race.  Now it’s time for moderates to dump Dede too.

Most of Hoffman’s supporters aren’t looking to “purge the party of anybody who doesn’t agree with us 100 percent,” as Newt Gingrich recently suggested.  In fact, my views on same-sex marriage are more in line with Dede Scozzafava’s than Doug Hoffman’s.  But moderate Republicans need to understand that the huge show of support for Hoffman isn’t just about wedge issues and ideological purity tests. And it isn’t a referendum on big tent ideals.

It’s about rejecting a piss poor candidate who heartily embraced the use of thuggish Castroite tactics to intimidate and silence a member of the press.  Whatever your views on social issues, that ought to be a deal breaker in America.

Dede Scozzafava cares more about her fleeting discomfort in the face of tough questions than she does about liberty and the First Amendment rights of a reporter.  That’s why her husband, a local union boss, filed a false police complaint against Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack.

Here’s how the Scozzafava campaign described the encounter to Politico:

This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions (in-your-face-style) while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?). And then he followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. I have no doubt he intended to follow her home, too. His actions were reprehensible. Those are the facts.

While Scozzafava denies that calling the police was her suggestion, she expressed her support for the decision.  “I’m not going to be physically intimidated or threatened,” she said. “He has every right to ask questions, but he doesn’t have a right to ask them in the manner that he did last night.”

An audio recording later confirmed that the Scozzafava campaign lied about reporter John McCormack’s style of questioning:

In the audio recording of the reporter’s questioning played for The Associated Press by McCormack, the reporter didn’t raise his voice, but repeated his unanswered questions several times, including one about abortion.

Dede Scozzafava’s casual disregard for the crucial role of a free press is unforgivable.  It is a weakness that cannot be tolerated in public officials.

As if that isn”t enough to undermine Scozzafava’s appeal, don’t forget that she favors federal card check legislation and supported the President’s stimulus package.  You remember the stimulus, that $787 billion boondoggle that has created or saved a grand total of 656 jobs for Scozzafava’s home state. She also voted for tax increases over fiscal restraint often enough that her Democratic opponent is attacking her record on taxes.  According to John McCormack:

She won’t say if her no-taxes pledge means she’d oppose a health care bill that raises taxes. She refuses, in fact, to say how she’d vote on a comprehensive health care bill. And this summer her husband was in discussions with Democratic leaders about her potentially running as a Democrat for the seat she is now seeking as a Republican.

Exactly how would her election be a boon for the Republican Party?

Scozzafava has garnered the blessing of the Republican establishment and endorsements by heavy hitters like Newt Gingrich. Even after the false police report debacle, the GOP and Gingrich haven’t backed down.  They’re operating under the bizarre notion that continuing to dig will somehow get them out of the colossal hole they’ve created.

It’s time to put down the shovel because they’re dead wrong.

No laundry list of cherry-picked conservative credentials enumerated by Newt Gingrich will make Scozzafava less of a bully or more of a Republican.  Even Scozzafava’s far left supporter Markos Moulitsas may want to rethink his endorsement.

So let’s postpone the philosophical discussions about the relative merits of third parties and make sure Dede Scozzafava stays put in the New York state asssembly.  As reliably Republican as I am, when it comes to the NY-23 race I think those disenchanted Hillary supporters had it right: Party Unity My Ass.

A Typical Conservative

Writing at Big Hollywood, John T. Simpson describes his life as a conservative Republican:

I go to bed full of hate and wake up the same.  I hate blacks, Hispanics, gays, women, abortion doctors, liberals, Lefties, Democrats, you name ‘em, I hate ‘em if they’re not like me. I especially hate President Obama for being black. Just ask Janeane Garofalo, although being a Stalinist Socialist doesn’t help Obama’s cause any with me. Fact is, Obama could be a GOP Michael Steele Uncle Tom, and I’d still hate him even more than liberals hate Steele. Skin color trumps all. Thank God I was born the right color, or I’d probably kill myself. Wait, the hoods are dry! Be right back.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Joe is my hero and role model, Archie Bunker a distant second, Ted Nugent a close third. I have posters of all of them lining my walls, alongside such conservative Republican heroes as Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Adolf Hitler and Darth Vader.

I used to have one of Robert C. Byrd, but he lost me when he left the Klan and became the Conscience of the Senate. Whatever that means. Didn’t know the Senate had one. But I never understood that. How can a white guy in good conscience leave the Klan?

The “Bush lied, people died” crowd and their celebrity mouthpieces delight in encouraging these stereotypes among centrists, independents, and so-called “low information” voters.  It isn’t ignorance, it’s an ongoing political strategy at work every day in American classrooms and newspapers.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a winning strategy.  Ridiculing it is a good first step, but not one that will win elections.  Until conservatives can recapture their role in shaping the political narrative, their message will be ignored by the voters in the middle who are unwilling to align themselves with what they see as the party of hate.

Sarahcuda Unbound

Sarah Palin’s political career has been declared dead on the vine by a bandwagon teeming with armchair pundits and D.C. insiders.  The announcement that she would leave office before the end of her first gubernatorial term has spun the commentariat into a frenzy, their musings equal parts funeral dirge and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.”  Her resignation is widely considered to be career suicide.

Do we really live in a country where a resignation is an act of political suicide, but serving as Klan kleagle is acceptable training for decades in the Senate?

Robert Byrd (D-KKK) cut his teeth as a recruiter for the Klan before becoming the longest serving member of the United States Senate.

Ted Kennedy (D-MA) drove his car off a Chappaquiddick bridge and failed to notify authorities, abandoning his 28-year-old passenger to death by drowning.  He is currently serving his ninth Senate term.

Unlike these men, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has no blood on her hands.  She doesn’t even have dirt on her cuffs, having beaten every charge in the litany of frivolous ethics complaints flung in her direction by the liberal attack machine. If men like Byrd and Kennedy remain successful in national politics, how can Sarah Palin’s resignation possibly be considered political suicide?

As mayor of Wasilla, chair and ethics officer of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin never cleaved to conventional political strategy. Why should she start now?  As The Other McCain observes, “Just because you don’t know what Sarah Palin is doing doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

Sarah Palin is not a tragic case of political seppuku or a casualty of the liberal war on conservative women.  She is a success story unfolding before our eyes.  Assured that a competent lieutenant governor is on hand to take her place, Sarah Palin doesn’t have to sit back helplessly and allow the liberal obsession with her uterus and her daughters to impede the agenda she set forth when she became governor.

Palin is finally responding to the rallying cry heard from her supporters during the 2008 campaign: Free Sarah!

At the end of the month, the shackles will slide off, and with them, the gloves.  Sarahcuda will be unleashed, unbound, and free to speak her mind, unencumbered by the concern that Alaskans are paying for the pulsating red target affixed to her back by the chattering classes.  She’ll be free to take speaking gigs, campaign for conservative candidates, join a policy institute, or start a foundation of her own.

The talking heads have speculated that Palin’s resignation is an implicit victory for the politics of personal destruction, proof that relentless attacks are indeed the way to bring a politician to her knees.  Quite the contrary, Palin has ensured that savvy political strategists and pundits will think twice before working feverishly to intimidate a popular politician into resigning.  Liberal strategists aren’t shaking in their Uggs yet, but they will be once they experience Sarah Palin unrestrained by the formality of office and the boundaries of Alaska.

Amy Siskind, president of The New Agenda, called Palin’s announcement a “dark moment for our country.”  A stalwart Palin defender, Amy saw the announcement as evidence that sexism and the politics of personal destruction had triumphed yet again.  “What am I going to tell my daughter?” Amy wondered.

While Sarah Palin’s resignation may be a reminder of the misogyny and classism that plagued the last election season, it is also a vindication of her resilience and adaptability.  Palin did what all women find themselves wanting to do at some point in their lives: she opted out of playing the game on everyone else’s terms.  She decided to thumb her nose at the critics, plow through the obstacles, and shape her own destiny.

Amy can assure her 11-year-old daughter that Sarah Palin remains the very embodiment of choice and self-determination.  She can explain that a true leader goes where she’s needed most, and right now, Sarah Palin can accomplish far more for our country outside of the Alaska governor’s office.

This is not a day to write Sarah Palin’s political obituary.  Her vitals are strong.  She’s no one’s marionette and conservatives have a newly minted activist to lead their cause.  Sarah Palin will be free to be Sarah Palin.

Conservatives, Meet Google

The Liberty Counsel released the following statement last week regarding federal hate crimes legislation under consideration by Congress:

H.R. 1913 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009) is not about stopping crime but is designed to give “actual or perceived” sexual preference or “gender identity” (which is still classified as a mental disorder) the same legal status as race. The DSM IVR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists and psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders) lists more than 30 “sexual orientations” and “Gender Identity Disorders,” including pedophilia. The hate crimes bill does not limit “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” and, thus, includes all these disorders and fetishes.

The American Family Association and the Traditional Values Coalition also expressed concern that people with sexual orientations such as pedophilia, necrophilia, and bestiality will receive special legal protections if the hate crimes bill becomes law.

Scary stuff, right?

Or it would be if any of their contentions were true.

But pedophilia is NOT a sexual orientation.

The information disseminated by the Liberty Counsel, the American Family Association, and the Traditional Values Coalition is verifiably false.  There are not 30 sexual orientations listed in the DSM-IV-TR. In fact, the DSM-IV-TR explicitly states that sexual orientation refers to “erotic attraction to males, females, or both.”

The supposed “orientations” enumerated by these organizations are listed in the DSM-IV-TR as paraphilias.  The paraphilias, which include pedophilia, voyeurism, and sexual sadism, are described in the DSM-IV-TR as sexual disorders, but they are not, by any stretch of the imagination, orientations.  These are facts, easily verified by following the inline links to the Google Books copy of the DSM-IV-TR.

But if you believed the propaganda generated by Liberty Counsel and their fellowship of the intellectually dishonest, you’ve got plenty of company.  Both Human Events and World Net Daily covered the pedophilia angle on the hate crimes bill story, and major conservative blogs like Gateway Pundit and American Thinker repeated the falsehood that pedophilia is one of many sexual orientations protected by the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

During debate on the House floor, the notion that sexual orientation includes pedophilia was parroted by  Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).   Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who sponsored an amendment to explicitly exclude pedophilia from the definition of “sexual orientation,” recited a list of “sexual orientation proclivities” clearly cribbed from unverified press releases.  His litany included asphyxophlia, autogynephilia, bisexuality, exhibitionism, incest partialism, masochism. sadism, scatalogia, toucherism, voyeurism, and bestiality.  And yes, his speech included definitions.  The House Republican Conference Web site links to yet another list of sexual disorders in a misguided attempt to define sexual orientation.

Rep. King’s argument for the amendment was that “sexual orientation” is not specifically defined in H.R. 1913 and is therefore open to wild interpretation.  But the term sexual orientation is already defined by federal law, in The Hate Crime Statistics Act, as “consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.”  Since there is nothing consensual about pedophilic behavior, the amendment, however well intentioned, was superfluous.  Pedophiles don’t need to be explicitly excluded because they were never included to begin with.

By accepting outrageous propaganda as truth and not performing the bare minimum of due diligence with some quick Google-powered fact checking, these conservatives are undermining their credibility and helping to bolster the false and dangerous belief that pedophilia is an orientation.  All pedophiles have a sexual orientation; it just isn’t pedophilia.

Pedophiles can be gay, straight, or anywhere in between: that is their orientation because orientation relates to gender, not age and certainly not criminal propensity. They are not toddlersexuals or infantsexuals. They are sadistic criminals who prey upon the most vulnerable among us.

For the record, I agree with House Republicans that hate crime legislation is a bad idea whether it includes race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other class of citizens.  Hate crime statutes arose as a form of political pandering: they allow liberal politicians to posture against prejudice and bigotry while twiddling their thumbs over institutionalized discrimination like DADT. These laws perpetuate our unhealthy focus on identity politics while conveying that some victims deserve a greater measure of justice than others. Murder should be prosecuted as murder, no matter the identity of the victim, no matter the motive of the killer.  And criminals should be tried on the basis of their hateful actions, not their hateful thoughts.

The Hate Crimes Act of 2009 is also in gross violation of the principle of federalism and the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Hate Crimes Act federalizes crimes that should be under state jurisdiction.

But despite my strong disagreement with this legislation, it is clearly faulty logic and poor political strategy for House Republicans to bundle pedophilia and homosexuality together in an effort to appeal to the emotions of their colleagues and constituents on the issue of hate crimes.  Let’s hope Senate Republicans don’t get suckered into the same strategy as they debate the companion bill, S. 909.  Perhaps their aides will prove to be better Googlers than their House counterparts.

The only people who benefit from defining pedophilia as an orientation are the members of pedophile activist groups who seek to legitimize their degenerate behavior.  Let’s not be party to that mission.

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