Liberals who simply cannot understand why Sarah Palin is so popular often attribute her success to her looks. The excuse conveniently allows them to sidestep any discussion of the issues she raises, and allows them to maintain a feeling of intellectual superiority to Palin and her supporters.
Fox News contributor Juan Williams, also a reporter for NPR and the Washington Post, was at a complete loss when Sean Hannity told him last night that he would rather Palin be president than Barack Obama. "Your libido is getting in the way of your thinking," Williams told Hannity.
Hannity and another guest, S.E. Cupp, noted the utter sexism in Williams' remarks. But don't expect to see a press release from the National Organization for Women or any other feminist group. Palin doesn't serve the liberal agenda, so she's fair game for claims that she'd be nowhere without her looks.
Williams thinks his comments are complimentary -- could he really believe it is a compliment to say a woman would not be successful if she weren't a "centerfold"? (Video and transcript below the fold.)
HANNITY: And tonight on our great, great American panel, he's worked at the Washington Post serving as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, White House correspondent, the one and only Fox News contributor Juan Williams is back. She is a senior writer at DailyCaller.com and the New York Daily News, S.E. Cupp is with us. He is a country music mega-superstar, his brand new CD "Hillbilly Bone" is available now, Blake Shelton is here. Guys, good to see you.
Alright I don't know if you saw Sarah Palin on--first of all I'm glad Leno is back at night. I love Leno. He's my choice for that time of night. And I wish Conan the best, but I liked it the way it was. Alright so I'm glad Leno's back. Anyway, here's Governor Palin last night on Leno.
PALIN: How about that amazing closing ceremony, it was beautiful. The minute I saw the giant moose, I remembered, hadn't cooked anything for the kids' dinner. And that's because I've been really busy. And I have been really busy. Picked up a gig in las vegas at the Legends show, playing Tina Fey. Truth is though I'm glad I'm not vice president, I'm glad because I would not know what to do with all that free time. But Jay thank you so much for inviting me. It's been a few weeks of unfair, non-stop criticism. People who don't know the real story. And I have to say, Jay, welcome to my world.
HANNITY: That is great stuff. Do you think she is now for example the people who are attacking her, I think she has gone a long way to opening the door for people to say 'alright maybe she was treated unfairly.'
WILLIAMS: No but she was very human and funny in that segment. It’s not going to convince seventy five percent of the American people who don’t think she’s qualified to be president, but clearly she’s a warm, attractive and I know that you think extremely attractive human being.
HANNITY: What does that mean, I think? What is that all about?
WILLIAMS: I think she is a superstar centerfold for conservative men.
CUPP: Ew, centerfold?
HANNITY: Why are you making this -- I think she’s great. I think she’s gutsy. I think she’s courageous and I’ll tell you what, I think she’s smarter than Barack Obama. She wouldn’t lead us into this socialist utopia. She wouldn’t bow before--
WILLIAMS: You are just so wild on this point. That’s why I just excuse you my pal. I will say go right ahead Sean. You know, your libido is getting in the way of your thinking.
HANNITY: You ask me I’ll take Gov. Palin as president over Barack Obama. Who do you think?
WILLIAMS: Come on.
HANNITY: Come on?
CUPP: Of course!
WILLIAMS: President of the United States?
HANNITY: President of the United States.
WILLIAMS: You would trust her with our national security over Barack Obama?
WILLIAMS: Oh my god. You would rather listen to her explain national policy than Barack Obama?
HANNITY: Yes! What part of this don't you understand? Yes! Yes! He is the worst president since Jimmy Carter and he's going to end up being worse than him.
WILLIAMS: Oh my god, you are really out there tonight.
HANNITY: Yes I am. S.E.?
CUPP: Anyone that's been following Sarah Palin knows that she's funny, she's quick on her feet, she's a smart lady, would not be surprised by this appearance. Remember back to the RNC. Her teleprompter went blank for a minute and she delivered that awesome one liner about a pit bull and a hockey mom. I mean, she's funny, she's quick, she's engaging.
WILLIAMS: You don't think that was scripted?
CUPP: The point is the media really wanted to ask some interesting questions, not just what do you read, they would learn that Sarah Palin's a really funny, interesting, smart lady.
HANNITY: What is this, why are we allowed to--am I allowed to attack Obama's looks? What if I started commenting on Michelle Obama's looks?
WILLIAMS: Oh get out of here. You're not going to be self-righteous and tell me that you don't know that one of the reasons that she is so successful is she is a very attractive woman.
HANNITY: You are trying to diminish -- wait a minute we don't go after Barack Obama's wife and what she wears and her clothes.
WILLIAMS: What does this have to do with Michelle Obama?
CUPP: It's just so silly. This is the first female governor of Alaska, the youngest governor of Alaska. She's incredibly accomplished. We have to go to her looks? We have to call her a centerfold? I mean, I think that's rank sexism.
WILLIAMS: I do not think it's rank sexism. In fact I think it's a compliment. It's a compliment and I think it explains part of her popularity.
HANNITY: You have dug yourself a hole so deep tonight.
WILLIAMS: Let me tell you something, you are flying high by saying somehow that Sarah Palin should be viewed by the American people as comparable in intellect to Barack Obama.
CUPP: Intellectuals have really figured out a great way to run the country.
HANNITY: She's smart enough not to dig us into this hole of socialism, she's smart enough not to cut our nukes in half, smart enough not to negotiate with Iran without preconditions, smart enough to understand that capitalism works over socialism.
WILLIAMS: Smart enough to quit on the voters of Alaska before her term was up.
HANNITY: Alright, we to take a break. You having fun Blake?
SHELTON: I'm just trying to sell some records.
HANNITY: We'll take a break, we'll come back. More with our great, great american panel.
Of course Hannity was correct; if a conservative male were to make such a demeaning comment about an attractive Democrat, his career would be over. Done. Finito.
The double standard is hardly shocking -- it has been at play since long before Palin's time. But she has brought it back in full force. Her appeal to the American people infuriates the left, and they need some way of dismissing her without addressing the issues.
Liberals know they won't be the target of feminist anger for demeaning Palin as a "centerfold" who is only successful because "she is a very attractive woman."