Poor, poor, put-upon Sarah Palin.
The McCain campaign has been whining about the supposedly vicious smears being directed at Sarah Palin by liberals -- and of course, has been roundly knocked down for it, since it's a classic strawman argument. (The Web ad they made whining about Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remark was so thoroughly eviscerated that it's been taken down from YouTube.) Indeed, it's clear that much of the reason McCain chose her was so that they could reignite the culture wars by making an inviting target of Palin, and then making her an object of soccer-mom sympathy.
But it's funny: Palin hasn't objected to vicious, personal and profoundly sexist political attacks ... when they've been directed against her political opponents.
This January, Palin was on a right-wing radio talk show in Anchorage hosted by a typical conservative smearmeister named Bob Lester. Dan Fagan at the Anchorage Daily News filled us in with the details at the time:
Early on in the conversation before Palin started to crack up, Lester referred to Sen. Green as a jealous woman and a cancer. Palin, who knows full well Lyda Green is a cancer survivor, didn't do what any decent person would do, say, "Bob, that's going too far."
But as the conversation moved on, Lester intensified his attack on Green.
Lester questioned Green's motherhood, asking Palin if the senator cares about her own kids. Palin laughs.
Then Lester clearly sets the stage for what he is about to say by warning his large audience and Palin. He says, "Governor you can't say this but I will, Lyda Green is a cancer and a b----." Palin laughs for the second time.
What were teenage boys thinking when they heard the governor laugh at someone being called a b----? How about the teenage girls who look up to Palin. What did they think when they heard her laugh?
But there is more. Lester then describes Green's chair as big and cushy. A clear reference to the senator's weight. Palin laughs a third time. She's just having a grand old time.
Palin was clearly enjoying every second of Lester's vicious attack on her political rival.
But it gets worse.
Lester asks Palin point blank: "Do you have any idea of what you did, to make Lyda Green dislike you, hate you?" How does Palin respond? Does she do the right thing? What you would expect from a mature leader, a governor and say, "Bob, Lyda doesn't hate me."
No, she responds like a 13-year-old and says, "Um, you know once and a while I try to figure that out but I can't figure that out."
[Raw Story has the audio so you can get the full flavor of this.]
Palin later offered a classic Republican non-apology apology:
"The Governor called Senator Green to explain that she does not condone name-calling in any way and apologized if there was a perception that the comment was attributed to the Governor."
This is, of course, just so much mooseshit. All you have to do is listen to the audio to realize that Palin condoned the entire conversation, laughed along, and even played along with Lester's diatribe. And then she told Lester she'd "be honored" to host him in Wasilla and appear on his show again.
And indeed, she did appear on his show again: On Aug. 28, with John McCain.
I guess that nasty personal smears, attacking someone's motherhood, are only a problem for Sarah Palin and John McCain when they're directed their way.