Arnold Schwarzenegger trod on some well-manicured, buffed and polished toes this week when he slammed the California Democrats stalling the budget as "girly men." At a rally on July 17, Schwarzenegger ripped into Democrats more interested in catering to special interests than actually helping Californians. "If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girly men."
Schwarzenegger took his "girlie men" line from a running "Saturday Night Live" skit revolving around two Arnold-worshipping bodybuilders, Hans and Franz, played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon. Those two pumped iron and insulted anyone "flabby" by calling them "girly men." Schwarzenegger merely adopted the line to describe the politically spineless.
But the Democrats were more than upset -- they were mortally offended. Unconfirmed reports stated that many could be seen angrily slapping staffers with their handbags following the incident. "It uses an image that is associated with gay men in an insulting way, and it was supposed to be an insult. That's very troubling that he would use such a homophobic way of trying to put down legislative leadership," said State Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a woman who could more aptly be described as a manly girl.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, chairman of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus (of which Kuehl is also a member), called the remark "as misogynist as it is anti-gay" and stated that "to disparage a group of law-abiding tax-paying citizens is just wrong." In a move reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's days in office, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez consulted his 13-year-old daughter about Schwarzenegger's remark -- and, shockingly, found that it wasn't to her liking.
Schwarzenegger's spokesman said that the Governator would not let his girly side take over and back down from the remark, noting that "It's a forceful way of making the point to regular Californians that legislators are wimps when they let special interests push them around."
It seems that Republicans are growing some guts. For years now, Democrats have been using invective unchallenged by the mainstream media; when Republicans make disparaging remarks, they find themselves under a magnifying glass. Michael Moore and his ilk are allowed the freedom to call President Bush a war profiteer and a traitor -- charges far more serious than that of "girly man" -- and the media cheers. Yet when Ann Coulter states in her book "Treason" that unnamed liberals give aid and comfort to the enemy, she is raked over the coals for it.
The latest case: When Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) questions Vice President Dick Cheney's patriotism by implying that Cheney is willing to spill the blood of American soldiers in order to send some profit Halliburton's way, the media ignores the outrage. But when Cheney responds to Leahy by telling him to "Go f--- yourself," the media goes bonkers.
But the Republicans are now standing tall. While Cheney should have been more temperate in his language, he rightly refused to apologize to the treasonous Leahy, explaining that Leahy "is the kind of individual who will make those kinds of charges and then come act as though he's your best friend, and I expressed in no uncertain terms my views of his conduct and walked away." Cheney told Fox News that he had no regrets about the incident and refused to deny it.
The Democrats should realize that they prove Arnold's case by throwing a hissy fit over his harmless joke. Only a girly man would get into the world of hardball politics and then cry when he gets hit by a pitch. If the Democrats don't like being called "girly men," then they should stop acting like them.
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