- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Defending Pelosi

Sympathetic media commentators are rushing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s defense against Republican men, accusing them of sexism toward Washington’s most powerful woman.

The liberal-leaning Media Matters compiled a video of male conservative pundits making fun of the speaker’s rumored use of Botox. Rush Limbaugh took it a step further, saying the best way to limit unwanted pregnancy would be to post Mrs. Pelosi’s image in cheap motel rooms.

“How do these people handle a strong-willed woman like Pelosi?” MSNBC’s Ed Schultz lectured in his Monday show. “Well, they revert to calling her offensive names like ‘hag’; they make demeaning comments like ‘Botox withdrawal’; they talk about fashion and they couple it with waterboarding.”

Then, he played the Media Matters’ video.

Mr. Schultz, however, did think it was fair game to question 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s mothering ability in light of her teenage daughter’s pregnancy.

In a September CNN appearance he said, “The facts are this. What kind of mother is she? Is she prepared to be the vice president? Is she going to be totally focused on the issues?” He also made the analogy: “Most professional gardeners have a really nice yard. … Most professional gardeners cut their own lawn. … It seems to me they have trouble in their backyard.”

Regardless of his thoughts on Mrs. Palin, Mr. Schultz isn’t the only one upset about criticism of Mrs. Pelosi. Bonnie Erbe, host of PBS’ women-centric “To the Contrary” wrote about the Media Matters montage on her blog for U.S. News & World Report, though she couldn’t quite avoid the insult-game herself.

“The genesis of such hatred?” she asked. “None of these guys could ever get a date with a woman as accomplished or attractive as Madame Speaker.”

A libertarian feud

A pair of South Carolina Republican heavyweights are having a public dispute about the role libertarians should play in their party.

Sen. Lindsey Graham distanced himself from libertarian ideas at a South Carolina party convention by saying, “I am not a libertarian. If you are, you’re welcome to vote for me and build this party, but we’re not going to build this party around libertarian ideas.”

Gov. Mark Sanford disagrees. In fact, he embraces libertarianism.

“There was almost a pejorative comment a moment ago,” Mr. Sanford told a former Ron Paul supporter who immediately approached him for comment about Mr. Graham’s remarks.

“Senator Graham spoke and said ‘I’m not a libertarian,’ whatever, whatever, as if that’s an evil word. Liberty is the hallmark of the American experiment,” he said. “People say, ‘You know, Mark, you’re kind of libertarian,’ you know, and they say it as if it’s an evil word, like you’re a communist or something. I’m like: ‘Throw me in that briar patch.’ … I’ve been accused of being a libertarian and I wear it as a badge of honor.”

‘Pro-sex’ Republican

Republican media-darling Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, took to the airwaves of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” to trumpet her unique brand of Republicanism.

Miss McCain has described herself as a “pro-sex, pro-life, pro-gay-marriage” Republican in the past, something host Stephen Colbert wanted her to explain in more detail.

“OK, I am going to turn you into a Republican for this interview,” Mr. Colbert said.

Miss McCain mentioned the “abstinence tour” that Bristol, the daughter of Mr. McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, has taken and said that was the wrong way for the to go. “If the Republican Party says abstinence is the only way to be, then we are going to lose a lot of young voters. And I would never want to practice anything I didn’t preach.” (Surely, Miss McCain meant “preach anything I didn’t practice,” but she conveyed the notion regardless.)

“But you are also pro-gay marriage,” Mr. Colbert reminded her. “President Obama is not even pro-gay marriage! You are more liberal then President Obama! Is that how you see the future of the Republican Party?”

Miss McCain steered the conversation to her religion.

“I’m a lot more religious than I let on,” she said. “I have a great relationship with God and I was raised to love people and not judge people and I think if two people fall in love they should have the option to get married just like I can.”

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.

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