We love to hate her because she’s a self-besotted nincompoop who will not go away. Although posing for Playboy would seem to be a desperate grab at fading relevance, she does so with her clothes on as part of an interview. So she hasn’t gone all the way down…yet.
PLAYBOY: Conservatives are as hard on you as liberals. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl sniped that “this self-indulgent set of mega-breasts doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything.”
MCCAIN: Who says stuff like that? Some guys out there just can’t handle a woman with a strong opinion. And the quickest way to cut down a woman is to talk about her appearance. Do I care? No. Every guy I’ve ever dated and every boyfriend I’ve ever had—nobody ever complained about my body. And there are way more important things for me to do than obsess about my weight. We have an election going on, people!
I was drawn to this quote, like everyone else who’s waving it around the right-osphere today, because of the “strong woman” cliche. The old trope that a man who criticizes a woman is just a frightened little boy fearing emasculation by the Mother-Goddess never fails to roll the eyes. But what kept me was the wide miss of Rhiel’s point.
Dan Rheil didn’t critiquing McCain’s body; he gave it backhanded praise. McCain’s body remains her career’s sole asset: the only reason, aside from her father’s name, that anyone pays attention to her at all. Reducing a woman to her boobs, while most of the time an unjust ad hominem (ad feminem?), draws no ire here, save from McCain herself, for a brace of reasons.
For one, a swift perusal of the shallow, question-begging, semi-literate statements McCain has made on any subject makes the proposition hard to dispute.
For another, she’s a Republican. We can call her anything we want as long as we think we’re funny.