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Ugly in eye of beholder


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Ugly in eye of beholder

“She's [Nancy Pelosi] got to be the most distrusted politician in the country.”

It might be more accurate to say that she's the politician most distrusted by the corporate media. A large segment of the populace looks up to Nancy Pelosi, knowing how difficult it is for a woman to become speaker of the House of Representatives.

It would certainly be accurate to say that Nancy Pelosi is the American politician whose looks are most criticized:

“It's Mussolini at work — Mussolini in a skirt with bad rouge. Mussolini if he came back and wore ugly clothing and bad makeup and had too much Botox.” — Michael Savage

“Put pictures of Pelosi in every cheap motel room in America today. That will keep birthrates down because that picture will keep a lot of things down.” — Rush Limbaugh

“How fun it is to watch that hag out there twisting in the wind.” — Neal Boortz.

We don't see the same harsh judgment on the appearance of male politicians. Or male commentators, for that matter. No “Congressional pages flee in horror from Mitch McConnell,” or “That was not a hog wearing lipstick, that was Sean Hannity.”

Al Franken used to be good at seeing these fellows as they are, and as they don't see themselves, but he's said to have given up that sort of thing now that he's a senator. Liberals occasionally succumb to chivalry and good taste. The right-wing crazies, never.

Even the more or less responsible elements of the corporate media judge Pelosi by a different standard. “At the end of it all, Pelosi, who floated in and out of the House cloakroom all day, impossible to miss in an arctic-white linen pantsuit, gambled big and pulled off one of the most important legislative victories of her career …”

But could she have done it in a Prussian-blue pantsuit? Or a skirt of any color? Clothes make the speaker, in Pelosi's case. A male speaker could float in and out of the cloak room in a gorilla suit, and his dress would go unreported.   


It's progress of a sort that the Blue Dog Democrats of today aren't openly vicious like the Southern Democrats of the pre-Civil Rights era. That band of bigots wouldn't even let anti-lynching legislation through Congress. They got by with it because blacks were effectively denied the franchise in the South, where most blacks lived. The Blue Dogs have too many black constituents to engage in overt racism even if they were so inclined. Instead, they oppose bills that would benefit both white and black Americans of the lower and middle classes, notably President Obama's health-care reform. You can't call this racism, but you can't call it good government either.


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