First there was that oh-so-touching tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who went from being pro-life as a young Irish Catholic lad to embracing abortion as the crown jewel of a woman's autonomy and the chief sacrament of her secular creed. Kennedy definitely knew something about autonomy. He was apparently so convinced that we ladies are capable of doing for ourselves in almost any situation that he left one of us to fend for herself in the dark waters at Chappaquiddick. Sadly, we know how that turned out.
It always amazes me when anyone, and particularly anyone who professes to love women, praises JFK's youngest brother. Just because he was the scion of a storied and extremely privileged family who entered public service partly because he had a genuine interest in improving lives and partly because he liked power and access to pretty ladies doesn't mean he gets a pass for essentially letting one of those pretty ladies die on his watch. There is something obscene in touting this man as a champion of women's rights when he salvaged his questionable career instead of saving the life of an innocent sister.
Those who engage in this selective amnesia, like the Democrats this week, are shameless. That's particularly true of female Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and her estrogen brigade onstage in Charlotte.
And then we had the spectacle on Wednesday night of Bill Clinton standing at the podium in all of his elder-statesmen-meets-silver-fox glory, defending the honor of his wife's boss. While it was tempting to focus on Clinton's post-presidential accomplishments, it was almost impossible to miss the irony of seeing a man who used the Oval Office as his own private brothel defend liberal values.
I think that "liberal" is still an honorable and worthy term when used in the classic sense. Sadly, Clinton and his like-minded good ol' boys have tarnished the meaning of that word, which once stood for free markets, limited government, due process of law and individual liberty. Of course, some like our former president mistook "individual liberty" for "individual libertines" and forgot that with autonomy comes obligation. Clinton rejected obligation when he lied, under oath, about an adulterous relationship with a young female employee.
Some will say that this is ancient history, and the Republicans forced a political showdown by abusing the impeachment process for something of relatively minor relevance. They will say that his personal, ahem, shortcomings had little to do with his presidential record, and technically they would be correct.
As he took pains to remind us on Wednesday night, Hillary's husband presided over a strong economy, an unprecedented unemployment rate (unprecedented because of how low it was) and a respite from war. But none of this changes the fact that the man was to women as a furnace is to coal, eating them up and then spitting them out to fuel his own desires.
Most Democrats have never held him responsible for treating us as interchangeable playthings, and that's primarily because he was always careful to spout the progressive orthodoxy on abortion: it must remain safe, legal and (if you can swing it, but don't sweat the details) rare. As long as he paid tribute to the feminist creed, his sexual misconduct could be excused.
And therein lies the true hypocrisy of liberal women, the ones who joined Speaker Pelosi on stage at the opening of the convention. They are very quick to attack white male Republicans such as Todd Akin and Tom Smith as hateful misogynists because these conservative men refuse to accept the inevitability of abortion on demand, but they are more than willing to close their eyes to the disrespect shown them by the men of their own movement.Not only do they ignore the insults, they honor the home-grown chauvinists with tearful requiems and prime-time speaking gigs.
One recent reader sent me an email giving his own description of the Republican male: "misogynistic, racist, white, right-wing nut." I can only hope he was watching this week's farce in Charlotte.
Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer. Email: email@example.com. Blog: philly.com/flowers.