The one thing we can say safely about liberals is that they lack self-awareness, especially when one of their own acts badly. The Chronicles of Carlos Danger, the exploits of San Diego Mayor Bob “filthy” Filner, and the sexual proclivities of Eliot Spitzer have made the political scene a national joke. Yet, this lack of respect – and creepiness – is not treated by the liberal media as an indictment on the larger Democratic Party in much the same way as the media have helped Democrats use Republican skeezeballs like Mark Foley to lambaste the entire party.
Republicans have been quick to take the trio of Democrats behaving badly to turn the liberal Democratic/liberal media "war on women" meme on its head. Apparently it's having some success as MSNBC's Chris Jansing dutifully took to the air on her August 1 Jansing & Co. program to offer a rebuttal. The "war on women" is about "policy," not inappropriate sexual behavior, Jansing and her guests insisted. Apparently since MSNBC helped write the "war on women" meme, they're pretty defensive about when it's used to bludgeon their friends in the Democratic Party. Here's the relevant exchange between Jansing, TIME magazine's Eliza Gray, and veteran Obama-defender scribe Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times:
JANSING: We've seen some Republican groups try to connect these two scandals. SHE-PAC, which is that conservative group with ties to Sarah Palin emailed this. “Liberal men are leading a violent war on women and liberal women's group Emily’s list is helping them.” And The National Republican Senatorial Committee writes, “Democrats invoke the war on women charge repeatedly but they head for the hills when asked about their Democratic colleagues’ actual mistreatment of women.” I wonder are they preaching to the choir here, Lynn or is it possible that these things can disillusion Democrats and Democratic women in particular.
SWEET: Well, the cases are different, and the brashness and audacity of Anthony Weiner is a little different than the Filner thing. The Republicans, as always, are entitled just like Democrats are when they complain about war on women on the Republican side. But the point is this is not a war on women, this is not, in any case, these are two men, public officials or want to be public officials who are Democrats who are behaving badly. I think it’s going to be very tough for the Republicans to make it more than this with what’s on table now.
JANSING: Then, I should say it is categorically untrue that Democrats are heading for the hills because an awful lot of them have been very critical of these cases. Democrats are calling this all ridiculous. Steve Benen, who writes for the Maddow blog, says “when we talk about a war on women, however, we're talking less about Republican misdeeds towards specific individuals and more about a systemic issue of GOP policymakers pursuing a radical agenda that affects all American women." And Democrats have a list of Republican cheaters that they could point to if they wanted to: Mark Sanford, David Vitter – harassment Herman Cain. I wonder if the solution, Eliza, is maybe what Tina brown suggested which is more women candidates.
ELIZA GRAY, TIME: Yeah, I mean certainly more female candidates.
JANSING: When have you heard of this kind of scandal involving a woman in elected office?
GRAY: You know, you really -- you haven't. I mean I remember hearing one story, though, at the Bush White House there was a bunch of worry about – H.W. Bush White House about male campaign workers who’ve been sleeping with women on trail and were worried about their effecting their getting a job in the administration and Mary Matalin, who was part of the administration, somebody asked her what about the women? Who’ve they been sleeping with? And she said, “Women don't have affairs, they learning experiences.” So, I don’t know.
SWEET: That's quite different than sexual harassment or sexting on this. And Chris, to underscore your point, usually when you talk about war on women you talk about health policy, you talk about economic policy that, you talk about programs that help single women with children. You help [sic] about getting better jobs. And, as the Democrats are doing now, you talk about raising the minimum wage, especially for people and women, single raising kids, who don't have it. You know once you get into this world of sexual aberration or inappropriate sexual behavior that is really more about an individual, not about the political ideology.