Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Laura Bush: Not Accusing Left of Sexism

I first saw this issue brought up by Instapundit, which directed me to The Political Teen, where I watched the video. After watching it, I immediately felt that the First Lady had not accused anyone of sexism, but was merely brushing off Matt Lauer's questions, so she could bring in some points about Harriet Miers. Rather than write an entire post about this, I'll quote snippets from Big Lizards, who gives an excellent analysis, and others.

Big Lizard:
Despite the newest charge sweeping the blogosphere, Laura Bush did not call Miers opponents "sexist."
As opposed to the original transcript, Big Lizard points out, which says,
Asked by host Matt Lauer if sexism might be playing a role in the Miers controversy, she said, "It's possible. I think that's possible. . . . I think people are not looking at her accomplishments."
the true transcript should read differently.

Lauer: You had pushed for a woman to be the nominee --

Laura Bush: That’s right. And I know Harriet well, I know how accomplished she is, I know how many times she’s broken the glass ceiling herself. She’s a roll model for young women around our country --

Lauer: Some are suggesting --

Laura Bush: Not only that, she is very deliberate and thoughtful and will bring dignity to, uh, wherever she goes. But certainly to the Supreme Court, she will be really excellent.

Lauer: Some are suggesting there’s a little possible sexism in the criticism of Judge [sic] Miers.

Laura Bush: That’s possible. I think --

Lauer: How would you feel about that?

Laura Bush: That’s possible. I think she is so accomplished that... I know, I think that people are not looking at her accomplishments and not realizing that she was the first elected woman to be the head of the Texas Bar Association, for instance, and all the other things. She was the first, uh, woman managing partner of a major law firm. She was the first woman hired by a major law firm, her law firm.

As Big Liz points out,
What a difference a single interruption makes!
...in reality, Lauer asked the question and paused; Mrs. Bush started to answer and was cut off by Lauer, who finished asking the question... so the First Lady, being a trouper, simply re-commenced her same answer. She did not say "that's possible... I think that's possible;" she dismissed the charge with a curt "that's possible," then started a new sentence on a different topic.
Listening to the audio, it is clear that she was not agreeing with or even emphasizing the point. In fact, she was brushing it off. She said the most non-commital thing it was possible to say: "that's possible." In fact, if anything, she underplayed it.
Though both Michelle Malkin and Captain's Quarters disagree, I'm far more inclined - based on watching the video - to go with Big Lizard.

Malkin:

So, the First Lady pulled out the sexism card in her defense of Harriet Miers on NBC's Today Show.

Matt Lauer lapped it up.

Did the White House not inform Mrs. Bush that some of the most vocal criticism and questioning of the nomination comes from conservative women? Or does she buy into the Left's conservative-women-are-self-loathing-traitors-to-their-gender line, too?

Captain's Quarters:
Instead [of answers], we get attacked for our supposed "sexism", which does more to marginalize conservatives than anything the Democrats have done over the past twenty years -- and it's so demonstrably false that one wonders if the President has decided to torch his party out of a fit of pique. After all, it wasn't our decision to treat the O'Connor seat as a quota fulfillment; that seems to have originated with the First Lady herself, a form of sexism all its own.
While these points would be excellent if she had played the card, I still don't think she was intending to do so. Check it out and decide for yourself.

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