More on Double Standards

Anne Kornblut at the WAPO says:
After following Clinton on the campaign trail for more than two years, I have been watching the Palin story with some wariness -- especially the conservative charges that the treatment she's received has been overwhelmingly sexist. With each new development, I keep wondering: What if?

What if, back in the 1990s, Clinton had announced the pregnancy of an unmarried, teenaged daughter? Would the Republicans have declared it an off-limits family matter and declined to judge her, or would it have turned into a national scandal that hurt her chances as she decided to pursue her own career in elected office?

What if, instead of the GOP's new vice presidential candidate, Clinton had been the one to run for national office without any international experience to speak of? (After all, Clinton's rivals diminished the relevance of her eight years as first lady, saying they counted for little on her résumé.)

And what if Clinton had rejected questions about her record by calling such lines of questioning sexist? What if she had refused to name any national security decisions she had made, as a spokesman for Sen. John McCain did on Palin's behalf last week, on the grounds that the question was unfair?

What if, simply, the roles had been reversed?

Howard Wolfson, Clinton's former communications director, said he is confident that the Republicans "would have attempted to destroy her" if she were in Palin's shoes -- as, in fact, some Republicans tried to do to Clinton throughout the 1990s, and were preparing to do again if she had won the Democratic nomination this year.

At the same time, Wolfson said, Republican attempts "to defend Palin from sexism lost a fair amount of credibility when Carly Fiorina refused to acknowledge that her party had ever been sexist toward Hillary Clinton." (Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief turned McCain economic adviser, told a "hear-me-roar" press conference with other Republican women Wednesday that Republicans were not responsible for any mistreatment of Clinton.) I have had my share of major disagreements with Wolfson over the last few years, but on this one, he is probably right.

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