Friday, August 2, 2013

Women pundits who despise women

I've done my best to ignore the sleazy Anthony Weiner stories that have dominated the news over the last couple of weeks. After all, that is New York's business and I am fully confident in New Yorkers' ability to handle it.

Besides, slimeball though he may be, Weiner's transgressions are personal and his actions have humiliated one woman. Here in Texas, we have the yahoos of  the Texas legislature and the chief yahoo in the governor's office seeking to humiliate and abnegate the entire female population of the state. If we weigh the two sins against women in the balance, it is easy to see where the greater guilt lies.

One thing I haven't been able to completely ignore though is the extent to which certain female pundits have rushed to excoriate and blame Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, in this affair, and, through her, to splash whatever mud they can onto her long-time employer and friend, Hillary Clinton. As an avowed admirer of both Abedin and Clinton, I am appalled by these so-called journalists. Not that female journalists should never write anything negative about or criticize women in any way, but that these particular women writers exhibit in their writing the very worst stereotypes of unthinking, totally un-self-aware cattiness.

There is no better example of what I am talking about than Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist who, as far as I am concerned, lost all credibility and relevance somewhere back in the late '90s when she became totally obsessed  and unhinged by her hatred of the Clintons. She despises Bill and Hillary Clinton and loses no opportunity to criticize them in print. Her revulsion is, in many ways, just as knee-jerk as the Republicans' revulsion against all things Obama. Namely, if it is an idea espoused by either Bill or Hillary, it is only worthy of derision and contempt.

So far, Dowd has written two columns about the latest Weiner debacle and in both instances she has managed to turn her criticism against Huma Abedin and, through her, against her favorite target, the Clintons. When she, herself, was criticized for her first column, she doubled down with an even more egregiously misogynist second column. In it, she wrote snidely and dismissively about how Abedin had learned how to deal with a philandering husband from her mentor, Clinton, and that she had absorbed all the wrong lessons from her.

Now, no one outside a marriage ever truly knows what goes on in that relationship, least of all Maureen Dowd, who, as far as I know, has never been married. It is likely that in most marriages, at some point, the wife - and the husband, for that matter - has had to look at things squarely and decide whether it is worth it to continue. No one else can make that judgment for the individuals in the relationship and, really, no one else has any business weighing in on the decision. It is highly personal. (Yes, I know in our society we seem to have lost all concept of that idea, but it still exists for some of us.)

Huma Abedin, by all accounts is a highly intelligent, accomplished, and competent woman and she knows her circumstances and the circumstances of her marriage better than anyone else. She has apparently weighed the pros and cons and decided to stick with it and to stand by her man and keep her family intact. That takes courage, especially when she is being pilloried daily by women pundits like Maureen Dowd, Sally Quinn, and Jennifer Rubin.

Oh, yes, Dowd may be the chief offender but she is far from the only one. Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, who had an affair with her husband Ben Bradlee while he was married to another woman and broke up that marriage, wrote of Huma Abedin that she had seen the Clintons "get away with infidelity" and so she believed that she and Weiner could ride out the controversy. Really, Sally? Really? Is that the lesson you draw from this whole sad affair? 

Perhaps the most predictable is Jennifer Rubin, also of the Post. She is a rabid right-winger and all of her columns flow from that viewpoint. She, too, blames the Clintons and Abedin. You see, Abedin learned her lessons at Hillary's knee and now she is simply fulfilling that playbook, and how appalled the Clintons must be to see these amateurs, Anthony and Huma, trying to follow in their footsteps!

These are just three of the women pundits who seem to despise successful women. There are others, but I am too depressed to continue. They disgust me. Again, not that women in politics or in public life should be immune from criticism, if they do something wrong, but that these columnists take the sins of a man in politics and use that as an excuse to beat up his wife and her friends. It must take some strong hatred and an abundant lack of self awareness to do that.

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