Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NYT: Laura uses "sexism" on Today and the Times says it's "news"

"I think that's possible," Mrs. Bush said in a television interview, when asked if there was sexism in the criticism of Ms. Miers. "I think she is so accomplished, and I think people are not looking at her accomplishments and not realizing that she was the first elected woman to be the head of the Texas bar association, for instance, and all the other things."
Mrs. Bush made her remarks on the NBC News program "Today" with the president by her side. Mr. Bush described Ms. Miers, the White House counsel and a confidante, as "an extraordinarily accomplished woman" who has "broken the glass ceiling."

Here comes the "charm" offensive. The above is from Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "First Lady Enters Debate Over Nomination for Court" in this morning's New York Times. (The Times calls this "news." Read the middle of the entry going up after this to see what the Times does with real news today.)

Laura Bush wants to weigh in on "sexism." Was it "sexism" to use the women of Afghanistan to cheerlead a war? Was it "sexism" to step on top of all the work that feminists had been doing for years and use that issue for you and your husband's own goals?

If it wasn't "sexism" to do so, was it "sexism" to give pretty words and promises that were never followed up on?

Life's not significantly better for women in Afghanistan. But Laura Bush's has moved on. Now she wants to circumvent feminism once again and use it to institute another Bully Boy goal.

Ruth offered once that Laura Bush's supposed silent support for choice is another con job. ("Con job" my term, not Ruth's.) Laura Bush is pro-choice!

That's the "message." And a lot of people think, "Oh, she's one of us." She's not. There's another message at play -- one his wimpy father used as well. Here's how it plays out to their crowd: The little woman's pro-choice but I keep her in line!

If she's pro-choice, she needs to say so. She needs to say so loudly.

What? Speaking out might hurt his re-election?

There's no cost to her speak out for anything she believes in.

She's chosen to make herself useless on every issue. It's easy to compare her to other First Ladies and say, "Well Hillary's a hard standard to live up to." Hillary Clinton is a hard standard to live up to. With the exception of her assisting to promote "welfare reform" she's one of the best First Ladies we had last century.

But you don't have to compare her to Hillary, you don't even have to stay within the Democratic Party. Nancy Reagan did things. You might not have agreed with them (I usually didn't) but she did things. Ditto Big Babs Bush. Laura wants to hold her little poetry readings and think she's making a contribution. She's not.

"Little poetry"? That's not a slap at poetry, that's a slap at the level of promotion and time she gives to her "project" as well as the vetting process that goes into it.

It's not just her husband who's lazy, she is as well.

She can't be bothered to do the work required for a basic photo-op. ("Katrina," say it with us, Laura, "Katrina." Not "Corrina.")

There's this hope on the part of some that as a former librarian, she's at least advocating for libraries to the Bully Boy. If she is, she's ineffective there as well.

She's "the little lady" and every message sends that out as it's intended to. "It might be sexism," she drawls out with Bully Boy by her side.

I'm sure Laura Bush has experienced sexism in her life. I'm equally sure Clarence Thomas has experienced racism. Experiencing racism first hand didn't result in Thomas working against it. Experiencing sexism hasn't led Laura Bush to work to "lift the boats" of other women.

She's raised two daughters and hopefully they've taken away a message other than, "You stay silent until your husband asks you to go on the charm offensive."

Feminism has benefitted Laura Bush tremendously. The most obvious way is that many are reluctant to publicly criticize her because she's a woman. (It's the same daft logic that led one person to argue that Harriet Miers demonstrated "feminist" leadership -- while making men think their ideas were her own and while serving coffee? That's not feminism kids and maybe you should worry less about 'offending' with feminist talk of the past and spend a little more time looking up the meaning of Queen Bee.)

She's not a feminist, she's not in it to help any woman. She's in it to help her husband, and possibly her husband, and time and again that "help" comes at the expense of women so she earned her right to be called to the carpet.

People make up excuses for her in private. One is "maybe she's not that smart." She's not dumb. She's smarter than her husband. She knows what the score is and she's perfectly happy to set women back so let's quit kidding ourselves that if we all quietly root for her some day she'll be that brave figure that we're just sure is in there somewhere.

She gives a (blank) smooth veneer to the offensive policies of the administration. She's made herself political and she's made herself an enemy of feminism, an enemy of libraries, an enemy of free speech, just go down the list.

Now she who can't speak publicly about abortion, we're told, because it would be upsetting to her husband's "image" wants to use "sexism" as a talking point.

And as a result we're supposed to a) give her props and b) get behind Harrie.

"Oh, it's sexism! Okay, then, I'm for Harrie!"

It doesn't work that way. Is some of the criticism of Harriet Miers sexist? I'm sure it is. I haven't read any but I'm sure it exists. Pointing out that she's not qualified isn't sexism.

"Oh she was a first!" some scream.

So what?

A lot of Queen Bees play the game and get ahead. What do they do to support other women? What do they give back?

Harrie didn't give back a damn thing. Harrie liked being the token (you can see it in her gushing notes to the Bully Boy where she goes "girlish" instead of conducting herself like an adult, professional woman).

Now Laura, who's had nothing to say about rapes or domestic violence and the military and military acadmies, wants to weigh in with her "feminist" cap on and we're supposed to give a damn?

I don't think so.

As usual, she comes in when things are drooping for the Bully Boy and she attempts to righten it. (And you can read that any number of ways.)

Things must be really bad if Laura has to try to play the 'feminist' card.

You'll bump into people who will swear, swear, that she's really a strong woman. I'm sure she is. I'm sure Bully Boy wouldn't be where he is today without her by his side. I'm equally sure that his prolonged war on women wouldn't have been as successful without her by his side.

Some grapple with: "If we criticize her in this way are we being disrepectful of her choice in life?" What was her choice in life? Her choice in life was to become the First Lady and she hasn't done anything inspiring in that role. She hasn't uplifted women. Hell even Mamie contributed bangs.

There's been nothing, not even a token overture. But she's perfectly happy to grab the language of feminsim and attempt to sell another policy or another nominee based upon it. She's perfectly happy to stand on the shoulders of the feminist movement while being incontinent and forgetting to pull on a pair of Depends. Those aren't tears she's shedding for women that are watering down on us.

The public Laura Bush exists to show the Bully Boy base that he knows how to keep "the little woman" in line. Before the next wave of excuses make the rounds (in whispers) people need to get serious and quit trying to justify the actions of a woman who's in it for it the Bully Boy and will support any vile policy or any vile nominee just because Laura happened to toss out a rudimentary feminist phrase.

The most far living from reality fantasy I've thus far heard on Harrie is that she's secretly pro-choice and Bully Boy's nominated her for that reason so that he can keep the abortion wars alive since it's such red meat for the party.

If you believe that, you can't believe that (guided by Rove) Bully Boy's been attempting to make sure he didn't make the same mistakes his father did. Souter is not something his father has lived down. It's easy for people on the left to minimize that. What's the big deal, we might ask.
It's a very big deal to the Republican base.

And it's a big deal to the left because too many insist upon seeing Bully Boy through their own prisms. That's why Laura's "coded" speech is often effective. It's planned ahead of time to mollify opposition.

Yesterday, Bully Boy was even applauded for nominating someone so old. She's sixty. That's fifty-four if she were a male. (Life expectancy rates for women versus men seems to have escaped the person applauding her apparently advanced age.) This isn't Gingsburg with a history of health problems. If she has any, we don't know of them.

What we do know is that she has a longer life expectancy than a male of the same age.

"She's a first!" Some of the firsts are some of the worsts. And, news flash, Sandra Day O'Connor, in terms of female Justices, was the first. There won't be a second first. (Nor, if Harrie were confirmed, a third one.)

Some on the left want to take the attitude of: "It could be worse."

How so?

She's not qualified. Her "professional" demenur is juvenile. She's opposed to choice (even though the Times watered that down when they summarized her former campaign manager last week). She favors corportations over individuals. She's a Bully Boy lackey.

How could she be worse? Do you honestly think she's going to rule against Gonzales and in favor of the prisoners in Guantanamo? Do you honestly think she'll rule against this administration on anything?

She's watered down but she is who she is. And while the press tries to solve The Riddle That Is Harriet and bores us with dopey tales of her alleged past relationships and while she may have no paper trail in terms of rulings, what she has been is very obvious.

"But he could nominate someone who represents everything you think she does and s/he could get through!"

Good. Let's see him try that. Let's him nominate someone his base wants. Let's see Miers go down in flames and him try to appease his base and get that nomination through openly.

Stop the winking to the base and come out in the open, Bully Boy. Or as he infamously said, "Bring it on."

And let's see some life in the Senate. that means using the hearings to hold Bully Boy accountable. Not giving him a pass or playing it safe. It means, if Harrie doesn't withdraw her nomination, asking her to explain her comments to her campaign manager (for her city council race). It means using the hearings for questions. Not for grand standing, but for actual questions. And if you drop the grand standing, it's harder for them to play beat the clock. If you drop the grand standing and ask straight foward questions, you've then got time to say, "You didn't answer the question. Are you not able to understand it?" Or letting them hide behind Ruth Ginsburg's robe or other such nonsense.

"With all due respect, Judge Ginsburg didn't reply to that type of question" should immediately prompt the question, "Are you saying you would rule the way Judge Ginsburg does?" By the same token an 'answer' such as "That's settled law" should prompt, "What in your view would require that it be revisted?" Let's also note that "I can't answer because I might have that a case like that come before me" is not an answer. Yeah, you might, you might have a lot of cases come before you and the American people deserve to know where you stand. You're going out for a lifetime appointment and the people have a right to know what they can expect.

Instead of laughing along if Miers comes back to a simple question (that you toss out for effect) some time later ("And to get back to your earlier question, my favorite move is . . .") ask why someone needs to "deliberate" about what their favorite movie is?

This is a serious process, obviously the White House thinks so as well if they're sending Laura out on another "charm" mission, and it needs to be treated as such. That doesn't mean lengthy statements that put the public to sleep. That means questions with follow ups. "I don't know nothing bout no lawyering" doesn't cut it. If that's your line of questioning, maybe you don't need to be sitting on the committee?

Harriet Miers doesn't need to be sitting on the bench. She's gone her whole life without ever seeking a judicial post. She ran for city council. Texas elects their judges, she could have easily ran for that. She didn't. Now they want to put her on the Supereme Court, the highest court in the land, and her record, such as it is, is anti-choice, no experience and a strong desire to "dance with the ones who brung her."

While I can appreciate the desire not to tear down a woman due to the historical criticism of women (usually sexist based), the fact of the matter is she is not qualified and people who would feel free to make that judgement if she were a man need to excercise the same freedom here.
There is no "worse than" there is only more open. (My opinion.)

If Bully Boy wants to continue to nominate Harrie types, the Senate should continue to shoot them down. Cronyism is not a qualification to most people because most people didn't benefit from it the way Bully Boy has.

The press needs to stop trying to figure out The Riddle That Is Harriet and deal with The Reality of Harriet. Democrats need to stop waiting on the sidelines while Republicans figure out if they support Harrie or not. Laura is part one of the "charm" offensive. She's always part one. As the Bully Boy starts implementing his game plan, Dems can't continue to stand on the sidelines. And anti-women women need to be held accountable the same way anti-women would be.

Harriet Miers is a "first." That's good for her. That doesn't mean it's good for women. Laura Bush knows how to toss around a phrase, that doesn't mean she's in it to help other women. We need to stop deluding ourselves.

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(Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts originally ran here.)