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One piece of "common wisdom" that's emerged quickly since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate is that Joe Biden had better be careful not to look like he's beating up on a pretty girl by, you know, knowing more than she does and showing it. Rick Lazio's name is inevitably mentioned, because obviously if Biden knows more than Palin, it will be equivalent to physically getting up in her face.

At the same time I'm outraged that the groundwork is being laid for the notion that a woman shouldn't be expected to hold her own in what is, effectively, a job interview, I don't doubt that the danger of this is real for Biden.

Why? Because the traditional media has decided it's a landmine for him. That means that, come the vice-presidential debate, this is what they'll be conveying: Sarah Palin has not one shred of a clue about foreign policy, agricultural policy, urban policy? Everyone knew that. But did you check out how Biden was rude enough to make that obvious even to people who know less than Palin? Damn, what a sexist pig that guy is.

We saw in the first days of reporting on the DNC exactly how pervasive a media narrative can be even in the face of contradictory facts. If you can't find meaningful division among Democrats, ignore the fact that the people claiming to be PUMAs are actually Republicans. So it would go with Biden debating Palin.

So here's my problem with this. How fucking insulting to women and to the nation is this line of thinking? The view of women the pundits and reporters are taking here is that we will rise up en masse in outrage that a man who actually knows more than a woman dares to demonstrate it? Not, mind you, that we'll be faced with a woman who actually knows her stuff and can't get a man to acknowledge her expertise -- no one thinks that's going to happen -- but that we'll be offended on behalf of our gender to have one individual woman's ignorance pointed out.

At the same time as the traditional media story will have women as a gender supporting Palin out of their disappointment that Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic nominee, that same story will have women as a gender ignoring the fact that Hillary did pretty damn well in debates against not one but several men, including the aforementioned Joe Biden. This is how dumb they (the women among them included) think we are, that we won't be able to see the massive logical fallacy they're creating out of whole cloth and attributing to us.

A few women will fall for that line of bull. But proportionally, fewer women than major media reporters will do so.


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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:45 AM PDT.

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