- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Out here, in Los Angeles, we have recently been treated to a colossal hissy fit that had liberals gunning for other liberals. One would think that any right-thinking conservative would happily sit back and watch the blood run in the gutters. But even in a battle royal that pits lefties against their own kind, a fair-minded person can’t help taking sides.

On one side, you have the knee-jerk liberal editors at the L.A. Times wearing the white trunks or, in this case, at least the white hats. On the other side, you have the idly rich women of the Westside — most of them the wives or ex-wives of multimillionaires like Michael Huffington, Bud Yorkin and Larry David. They’re the sort of ladies who, because they might have undocumented maids, nannies and gardeners from Mexico and Guatemala working for them, not only favor open borders, but believe they’re in line for canonization. These are the knuckleheads who support NOW and the ACLU, and who yammer about fossil fuels and the ozone layer while they gad about in SUVs and private jets.

Perhaps not as wealthy as some of her cohorts, but equally self-deluded is Susan Estrich. Today, she’s a law professor at the University of Southern California; in the past, she was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis. Somehow, Miss Estrich has turned an annoyingly nasal voice, a painted-on smirk and a ton of attitude into a secondary career as one of TV’s talking heads.

Recently, she declared a jihad against the L.A. Times because she had decided that they don’t publish nearly enough female columnists. She even had the chutzpah to assign her college students to keep track. Apparently — assuming that her law students are able to count — the L.A. Times was publishing men four times as often as they were publishing women.

The editors, fools that they are, took the charge to heart. In their lame defense, they countered the accusation by pointing out that they published women more frequently than did such liberal citadels as the New York Times and The Washington Post. Miss Estrich and her cohorts replied that what other papers do or don’t do is no defense for what the L.A. Times does or doesn’t do.

Then, when she realized that the L.A. Times wasn’t about to knuckle under to the ladies who lunch, she stooped to suggesting that perhaps editor Michael Kinsley’s brain had been adversely affected by his illness. The man suffers from Parkinson’s.

At one fell swoop, Miss Estrich not only struck a new low in debating tactics, but by trying to score points off the man’s illness, proved that in her case at least, it’s compassionate liberal that’s the oxymoron.

The fact is, if anybody should be complaining about being underrepresented on the paper’s op-ed page, it’s not women; it’s conservatives. By way of tokenism, once a week they run something by Max Boot. The rest of the week, they run letters to the editor from readers berating Mr. Boot.

If women get to sound off 20 percent of the time in the Times, I’d say that’s roughly 10 times as much space as writers from the right receive. Of course I’m only guessing.

Unlike Miss Estrich, I don’t have a cadre of eager coeds to do my counting for me.

The worst thing about Miss Estrich and the other members of her overly pampered platoon is that they’re hypocrites. It’s not really female writers they want to see in the L.A. Times, it’s female left-wing writers. I guarantee that if Ann Coulter, Tammy Bruce and Michelle Malkin started showing up on a regular basis, these wealthy, self-important elitists would be descending on the L.A. Times armed with tar and feathers.

The truth is, with this gaggle of geese, agenda always trumps gender.

Burt Prelutsky, author of “Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco,” is an award-winning TV writer.

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