Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON -- When you're trying to fashion yourself as an agent of change, it isn't helpful when the sisters of politics past abandon their golf club picket lines in girly protest of mean men who support male candidates.

Reacting recently to Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, the president of the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women issued a press release insisting that Kennedy had committed "the ultimate betrayal" of women by supporting Obama.

In the world of identity politics, one woman's bad date is Every Woman's call to victimhood.

Kennedy's history with women needs no rehashing, though it's worth noting that feminists have a convenient way of measuring betrayal when it comes to politics. Womanizing -- and in Kennedy's case, what might be negligent homicide by today's standards in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne -- is given a pass as long as the ol' boys do what the girls tell them come vote time.

Fail that latter qualification, and watch out.

In the minds of women with nothing left to protest, true betrayal is supporting a man when a woman is running. How dare he. It's all rather ... frock-ish. Perhaps precious? In 21st-century America, feminist outrage has morphed into feminine pique.

In the press release, which featured the sort of exclamatory punctuation one usually associates with a too-tight bodice, NOW-NYS President Marcia Pappas wrote that Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent "really hit women hard."

Pappas pointed out that women have forgiven Kennedy for all manner of offenses, even "hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, and the Family and Medical Leave Act," and "buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. ...

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He's picked the new guy over us."

Such debutante breathlessness isn't likely to advance the notion that men and women are equal to any and all tasks. They may be equal to the requirements of the presidency in fact, but theories of women's emotional embrace of victimhood are only aided and abetted by such mewling outbursts.

According to NOW-NYS' interpretation, Kennedy has joined other "progressive white men" who can't handle the prospect of a female president.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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