Thank you, Rush Limbaugh!

The right-wing radio host quoted my CNN comments about the sexism Hillary Clinton faces, and I am very grateful.

Published April 9, 2008 2:35AM (EDT)

A very angry Obama-fan reader sent me a transcript of Rush Limbaugh quoting something I said on Campbell Brown's CNN show last week. What a nice gesture, on both their parts! Rush has quoted me before, but I don't think I've ever been happier to have what I said reach a wider audience. Here's what he quoted:

Walsh: I think that Senator Hillary Clinton has faced much more overt sexism than Barack Obama has faced overt racism in this campaign. She was greeted with jeers, "iron my shirts," in New Hampshire. She's asked by debate moderators, "Why are you not likable?" Rush Limbaugh ran pictures of her looking old and said, you know, the country isn't ready to look at an old woman. And when you go back to that very seminal moment where a woman asked John McCain, "How do we beat the B-word?" and John McCain laughed, I mean, you cannot imagine that happening, "How do we beat Barack Obama and somebody using the N-word," and laughter. So, you know, a kind of genial sexism is so much more okay in our society than that kind of racism. It's just true.

Thanks, Rush! I really appreciate your getting that point of view out to more people. Sadly, you've got a bigger audience than I do at Salon, at least temporarily. But I'm thrilled to have that statement reach a wider audience. Because, yes, it's just true.

I see the flaws readers pointed out in the Essence/CNN poll on America's readiness for a black or a woman president that I wrote about Saturday. And I certainly don't mean to diminish Obama by talking about this; as I've written many times, he has run a better campaign to date than Clinton has, and he's an extraordinary, admirable politician. But I thought many of the letters about my post helped prove the point that sexism is more pervasive, and far less conscious, than racism is in the Democratic primary this year. So did the letters on Carol Lloyd's Broadsheet post about Randi Rhodes calling Hillary Clinton a "fucking whore." I honestly never thought I'd see the day when Salon readers, including some I respect, would defend that kind of attack on a female politician, as people did in that letters thread. (I started to type "female Democrat" and stopped myself. I honestly never expected to see Salon readers defend people calling female Republicans "fucking whores," either.)

If you disagree, and you'd like to argue on behalf of calling female politicians "fucking whores," please marshal your best arguments in my comments section. But also, if you feel that way, please feel free to stop reading Salon. I passionately want to grow our audience, and I'm proud to have tripled it in the three years I've been editor in chief. But truly, some readers we can live without. There must be someplace where people who want to call female leaders "fucking whores" will feel welcomed and at home, but this isn't it.

By Joan Walsh

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2008 Elections