Bigmouth Strikes Again

Fred Thompson gives us a lesson in how sexism works:

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson on Wednesday teased Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying "there is no woman on the horizon that ought to be president next year."

…"Who are we going to set on the road — what man are we going to set on the road — to lead us and to stand against this assault?" he asked, emphasizing the word 'man.' He couched his comments by saying "I say the word man advisedly. Now I've got a daughter that's going to be president some day, I know it, and I am all for a woman president, just not this year, not next year."

Without saying Clinton's name, he added: "There is no woman on the horizon that ought to be president next year, let's all agree on that."

Thompson continued to refer to the next president as a man who should represent conservative principles and values, and should be examined "by what he believes and by where he's been and what he's done."
Did you see what happened there?

He wants to say that Hillary isn't fit to be president, but instead of critiquing her on the issues, or even naming her, he just goes after her sex. And in doing so, he impugns a hell of a lot more women, because there are certainly women "on the horizon" qualified to be president next year, even if they aren't seeking the presidency. Arlen has a few suggestions; I'd add Madeleine Albright to that list (though she can't run by virtue of her non-American birth) and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Nancy Pelosi, just for a start, and there are plenty of people in Thompson's own party who believe that Libby Dole and Condi Rice should be running. But Thompson pisses on all of them because he went after Hillary's sex instead of going after Hillary's record.

Then with a requisite "but I'm not a sexist" flourish, he notes he's got a daughter who will "be president some day." Only in a culture steeped in misogyny would asserting support of his grade school-aged daughter's hypothetical presidency be considered anything but stark evidence of the breathtaking amplitude of his prejudice; it's the ultimate exceptionalism—no woman but his own daughter is suited to the task. Instead, it's offered up as proof that he's not sexist. Amazing.

And providing the final touch to distance this overt display of sexism from its being called what it is, the story is reported as Thompson "teasing" Hillary. Ha ha—what a joker! It's especially funny to make jokes about "women" being unqualified since there's never been a female president! Ha ha ha! See, it's funny because Hillary's the only woman running! What a tease!

I wonder if it would be considered hilarious if Thompson had instead "teased" Obama by saying: "There is no black man on the horizon that ought to be president next year, let's all agree on that."

Something tells me not so much.

Sweetness, I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed…

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