Political Animal


November 15, 2012 5:02 PM Brave Conservatives Expose Obama’s Sexism

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t know how long Fox News’ Kirsten Powers is going to be able to get away with calling herself a “Democrat” or a “feminist.” Without question, she’s dipped pretty deeply into the well of political capital that apostates—mainly on the Right—seem to enjoy, without doing anything I can recall to fill the well with “Democratic” or “feminist” credibility.

But she’s at it again, attacking the president for his “sexist” defense of UN ambassador Susan Rice at his press conference yesterday, leading into a picture-perfect replication of conservative talking points on the incredible, unparalleled importance of the Benghazi issue.

What is the substance of Powers’ claim that Obama was being a “chauvinist” for feeling the need to defend Rice? Here it is, in its entirety:

Imagine George Bush saying that people criticized John Bolton because he was an “easy target.” He wouldn’t.

So Obama is sexist for calling out Republican bullying—and that’s what it was—of an administration official who happens to be a woman. He never said, implied or hinted that Rice’s gender had a thing to do with his defense of her. So this is apparently “sexism” because Kirstin Powers says it is. And we all know she’s a “feminist,” and a Democrat, whose brave willingness to ape every single imaginable Fox News meme is a sign of her courageous independence of “her” party and “her” feminist comrades.

Back in March Salon’s Irin Carmon called out Powers for responding to Rush Limbaugh’s smearing of Sandra Fluke by arguing that liberal men were piggy-piggy, too:

This is the same Kirsten Powers who called out Anthony Weiner with a hilariously sniffy and self-aggrandizing article that implied that Weiner’s greatest sin was sending her an email denial of the sexting charge before she went on Fox News to defend him. The same Kirsten Powers whose entire career as a commentator seems predicated on the willingness to go on Fox News and trash feminists while assuming the mantle of one, who wrote a column claiming Planned Parenthood was lying about more birth control leading to fewer abortions. “This deception smacks of a fleecing of taxpayers in an effort to promote an ideological agenda, rather than a sincere effort to help women plan families,” she wrote breathlessly, before having to withdraw the entire column because of misread data that she said “invalidates my piece.”

Nobody really believes, I should hope, that Barack Obama is a sexist while Kirstin Powers’ friends on Fox and in WingnutLand are dedicated to the advancement of women. If Powers wants to just come right out and profess herself a convert to Republicanism and more “traditional” attitudes towards women, that is her right. But lease, let’s take down the false flag and become honest about it.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Quaker in a Basement on November 15, 2012 5:21 PM:

    Concerned! Yes, concerned am I about this awful, awful sexism. It concerns me greatly and it should concern all right-thinking people also too.

  • bobbo on November 15, 2012 5:38 PM:

    Obama never said Rice was an "easy target." He raised the possibility that her critics thought she was. And yes, George Bush might easily have said that John Bolton's critics thought he was an "easy target."

  • Mimikatz on November 15, 2012 5:48 PM:

    McCain is the sexist, criticizing Susan Rice, who he believed was an easy target, instead of, say, David Petraeus, head of the CIA, the people responsible for briefing Susan Rice and for whatever project set off the people who attacked Benghazi and, apparently, for some of the security or lack thereof. Obama did say that McCain thought Rice was an easy target, not that he thought that.

    And will someone please explain to me why it matters so much when whoever in the Administration characterized Benghazi as what? I just don't get this. Bush was infinitely more responsible for 9/11, given the security briefings and other warnings he ignored. And let's talk about Iraq, shall we, if someone wants to talk about the Praident lying.

  • beejeez on November 15, 2012 5:58 PM:

    You have to forgive them. They're not used to seeing a politician step up and take responsibility for something.

  • Doug on November 15, 2012 6:11 PM:

    The worst of it is, it's people such as Powers that's allows Fox viewers to say "See, even a Democrat..."!
    There's an awful lot of people out there who believe the same as that ditz in the GEICO commercial:
    "They can't put stuff on the internet (TV) if it isn't true."
    "Where'd you hear that?"
    (both) "On the internet (TV)!"
    Powers has no such excuse.

  • Anonymous on November 15, 2012 6:14 PM:

    I confess at least one liberal man (oversigned) is piggy piggy. I don't watch Fox news. So I thought Kirsten Powers Fox News Feminist. Bet she's pretty good looking. I'll just google images for some piggy piggy eye candy.

    I admit that I did not guess that her hair is blond (and I'm kicking myself). OK OK it isn't just Fox and it isn't just women, people who appear on TV for a living tend to be good looking (or named Beck or O'Reilly I guess not that I would know cause I sure don't watch them).

    I don't live in the USA but can get Fox News from SkyTV and OK I watch a good bit of Fox other stuff. I prefer Al Jazeera English because I want to know what actually happened (it really is very good).

  • Peter C on November 15, 2012 6:15 PM:

    FOX has never been excessively concerned about the validity of their attacks and consequently, they have not gotten any better at coming up with legitimate ones. They reward quantity, not quality, so their product (naturally) gets worse and worse. It is my fond (but perhaps wildly optimistic) hope that one day the public will realize that they are utterly worthless and completely full of shit.

  • Anonymous on November 15, 2012 6:43 PM:

    Are those quotes in paragraph 4 correct? Are you trying to imply that she's a man?

  • biggerbox on November 15, 2012 8:26 PM:

    Isn't criticizing Fox News personalities like mocking The Big Bang's Sheldon Cooper? They are both fictional characters, aren't they? Really?

  • Marc on November 15, 2012 8:42 PM:

    Who believes Fox News? Most of the folks who watch them.
    Who thinks that their blonde cadre is really chosen because they are blond, not because they are "liberals", or "feminists", or what have you? I wait for the answer.

  • weirdnoise on November 15, 2012 8:43 PM:

    Fox News is staged, and Kirsten is an actress playing her role. She's no more a feminist than my goldfish.

  • Hue and Cry on November 15, 2012 10:22 PM:

    Kristin Powers is so..not...a democrat or a liberal voice. She's a Fox News blonde gal with inconsistent remarks coupled with acquiescence. She exhibits the conformance as required there. I have watched her now and then and find her cold hearted, unsparing, and quite likely allegiant to those who pay her.
    Consent, agreement, endorsement, obligation--that's Kristin.

  • giantslor on November 15, 2012 10:42 PM:

    Remember when Alan Colmes was the worst Fox News liberal? Yeah, those were the days.

  • jjm on November 16, 2012 1:37 AM:

    Is the peculiar twist in the right wing mind a genetic anomaly?