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Maureen Dowd's Misogyny Slur

As hard as it might be to believe, there's an unusual abundance of low-hanging rhetorical fruit in Maureen Dowd's column (Times Select) today on RNC Chair Ken Mehlman's "attack" on Hillary Clinton. But let's just focus on Dowd's description of the event:

The G.O.P. honcho Ken Mehlman kicked off the misogynistic attack on George Stephanopoulos's Sunday show. "I don't think the American people, if you look historically, elect angry candidates," he said. Referring to Hillary's recent taunts about Republicans, he added, "Whether it's the comments about the plantation or the worst administration in history, Hillary Clinton seems to have a lot of anger."

Dowd is a wordsmith, so she understands the importance of meanings.  Misogyny is singularly defined as "hatred of women." There are no alternate definitions or other possible interpretations. Ken Mehlman may hate Hillary Clinton - though I sincerely doubt it - but it's downright criminal for Dowd to say Mehlman's observation that Mrs. Clinton "seems to have a lot of anger" is somehow evidence of a hatred of all women.

Nevertheless, Dowd goes on to try and justify the basis of her "misogynistic" slur with this:

Hillary did not sound angry when she made those comments — she's learned since her tea-and-cookies outburst in the '92 campaign. A man who wants to undermine a woman's arguments can ignore the substance and simply dismiss her as unstable and shrill. It's a hoary tactic: women are more mercurial than men; they get depressed more often and pop pills more often. As a top psychiatrist once told me, women are "hormonally more complicated and biologically more vulnerable."

Maureen Dowd (and Hillary Clinton) should be quite familiar with the "hoary tactic" of trying to undermine a woman's credibility by suggesting they are "unstable and shrill." Conservatives used it against Anita Hill and the Clinton White House perfected the tactic against Monica Lewinsky, Kathleen Willey, and Juanita Broderick.  But none of this is even remotely comparable to Mehlman's observation about Mrs. Clinton - even if it was made with an eye toward partisanship.